Fab Friday Icons: Dorothy Draper

What can I say…Dorothy Draper is not only synonymous for interior design, she is also one of my absolute faves! Her use of oversized prints mixed with eye-popping colors and extravagant floor patterns has influenced many interior designers today, including me! When I first started out, I remember flipping through the pages of “Decorating is Fun” for inspiration…it was her who showed me that it’s okay to be glamorous, to do things a little over the top and be different!   

Source: The Archives of Dorothy Draper & Company, Inc., The Carleton Varney Design Group

The lobby of the Greenbrier hotel showcases Draper’s signature design: chessboard tiles, daringly bold colors, and confidently oversized prints! She was an artist and a pioneer, and as a young designer, I felt empowered by her confidence. She knew her worth and believed in her vision…something that many women did not dare to do!

Source: The Archives of Dorothy Draper & Company, Inc., The Carleton Varney Design Group

This emerald cabinet is a great example for her attention to detail. Just look at the drawer hardware and the curvilinear profile…this piece would make a statement in any room!

Dorothy Draper Viennese Collection Display Cabinet from 1963 via 1stdibs

This light taupe ottoman is an original from the Greenbrier hotel. It was used at the foot of the bed in the guest rooms. It’s another fabulous example of how the details really make the design!

Dorothy Draper Ottoman from the 1940’s via 1stdibs

Draper’s quote, “It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress,” always reassured me in the importance of accessories! I believe that it’s not about the broad strokes…design is the details!

When you are just starting out in the business, it can be challenging to stay true to yourself and follow your vision! Dorothy Draper was the one that gave me the courage to believe in myself. She empowered me to think outside the box and not confirm to trends or standard designs. I believe it’s important that you find your own inspiration (like a Dorothy Draper) to find your confidence and ultimately find your own fabulous!