Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dorothy Draper's Greenbrier

The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.  The main hotel, pictured above, dates back to 1913 .
The Greenbrier offers all the luxury amenities that one could hope for in a countryside resort, but its decorating and history set it apart from anywhere else.  Guests have been coming to The Greenbrier since the 1700's and the main hotel dates back to 1913.  The Greenbrier is known as one of America's great social resorts, and was in need of a dramatic makeover after it was used as an army hospital during World War II.  That is when The Dorothy Draper Company of New York was commissioned to completely redesign the hotel.  This original assignment took two years but The Dorothy Draper Company (now owned and run by Carelton Varney) has been The Greenbrier's decorator for the past sixty five years.
The main staircase in the lobby of The Greenbrier is an example of exuberant Draper decorating.  She unexpectedly paired the historical Zuber wall mural with bright, bold colored carpet, which is grounded by simple black and white tiles.

Although the Jeffersonian exterior of The Greenbrier appears very serious, the interior is quite the opposite.  It is a mirage of bright color and patterns, evoking a sense of fun - the feeling that most want to experience while on holiday.  Some would call the decorating busy, but it works because of repetition of several themes: Bold Color; Black & White Tile Floors; Glossy White Moulding; White Plaster Detailing; Lacquered Furniture; Wimsey; Lattice; Chintz; Scale.  Each room in the hotel is different, with it's own unique fabrics and color schemes, but the consistent themes tie all the rooms together, easing the transition when moving from one bold room to the next.    

Tassels made of rope add playfulness to the striped umbrella. 

Venetian pagoda lantern in the Lobby Bar.
A Dorothy Draper lacquered etagere; a similar reproduction is available through Dorothy Draper for Kindel Furniture.
Passage Ways

Draper often used large scale mouldings and arches to make passages more prominent. 

Several Draper signatures are featured in this photo: chintz, black & white, passage ways, scale, bold color.
Draper used lattice to create rooms within this large sun room, resulting in more intimate seating areas and architectural enhancement.



Large checker board tiles, signature Draper moldings and large scale furniture stand up to the large scale of the Lobby.

Glossy white moulding, bright matching walls and ceilings, a whimsical window cornice and massive unusual lights turn what could have been an ordinary hallway into an adventurous space. 

This is just a taste of the over the top, wild and wonderful decorating at The Greenbrier.  Visit www.thegreenbrier.com to plan a trip or check out Carelton Varney's book, In The Pink: Dorothy Draper - America's Most Fabulous Decorator, for more history and images of The Greenbrier.  The fabrics and wallpapers used at The Greenbrier are available for purchase through Carelton V. showrooms.  


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