Saturday, October 10, 2009

Decorating Dorothy

Dorothy Draper revolutionized - invented - the concept of interior decorating, and stands as one of the best tastemakers that ever was. She loved a good, healthy splash of color and her signature characteristics can be seen in many a designer's style now: chintz with stripes, black and white floors, elegant and complex moldings. Fabulous has not been done better by anyone since, and her lasting impact can be seen in the interiors of places such as The Greenbrier and The Breakers. Carlton Varney carries out her style and mission today, which is to leave out anything too practical, drab, or boring. In 2006 she was "decorated" by the City Museum of New York with an exhibit that brought out fans and created more. Want to create the Draper style? Take these tips from

Bright Colors, Big Chintzes: The Elements of Draperism

1. Intense color.
Forget white or even pastel. Draper went for intense; her living-room walls, were eggplant, and the lobby of the Hampshire House, was turquoise.

2. Plant life.
Well-maintained plants and flowers were obligatory. “They are as much a part of a decorative scheme as beautiful curtains,” she said.

3. Dense, textured carpet.
For homier ambiance, Draper laid out thick, tactile rugs whose neutral colors wouldn’t compete with other elements.

4. Striking details.
Draper preached the value of a few bold accessories—but never clutter.

5. A roaring fire.
The fireplace “is the heart of any room and should be kindled on the slightest provocation,” Draper said.

6. Exuberant prints.
Decades before Buatta, Draper championed enormous florals and fringe.

A few examples of designers putting these rules to good use are Celerie Kemble and Miles Redd.

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