Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What Would Dorothy Draper Do?

"Birds are so much wiser than we! A robin builds a nest for robins. A seagull builds a nest for seagulls. They don't copy each other--or build themselves nests as described in 'The Birds Decorating' magazine."  -Dorothy Draper

One of my favorite books is In the Pink written by Carleton Varney. It is a beautiful coffee table book that showcases Dorothy Draper, who from the 1930's-1960's was the most famous decorator in America. She was also way ahead of her time--a pioneer businesswoman (her trademark cabbage-rose chintz is still famous to this day), she designed many interiors for restaurants, theaters, department stores, homes, and hotels. From the "menus to the matchboooks", she covered every detail when working on a hotel project.

Some of her most famous projects are the Hampshire House in New York City and the Greenbrier resort in West Virgina. She also created her own fabrics for F. Schumacher & Co.  Her "Ask Dorothy" Column aimed to provide middle-class housewives with affordable ideas for making their homes more beautiful and comfortable.

I recently picked up two of her books (now vintage); Decorating is Fun! and Entertaining is Fun! for some inspiration.

Dorothy Draper is definitely on my "Who Would You Have Dinner With?" list. I'm sure our dinner would include monogrammed menus and matchbooks, of course!