the original interior designer
Dorothy Draper wasn't just a fab interior designer; she literally helped launch the profession.
Born into an upper-crust New York family, she launched her business with a clientele made up of blue blood companions who craved the same bold, lavish style she used to decorate her own home. From striking black-and-white checkerboard floors to cabbage rose chintz + over-the-top molding.
Dorothy had a knack for revival, transforming staid neighborhoods and hotels into stylish hot spots flooded with color. And, she made her chic secrets accessible to all with popular DIY guides. Her tips still offer top-notch advice about how to design our way out of the "Drab Age."
disrupting society's expectations | going against the norm for aristocratic women, she turned her unique flair for style into a business…and then transformed interior design into an industry
The Draper Touch | intense color pairings, black + white checkerboard floors, vibrant chintz prints, wide stripes, luxe fabrics
the pink polka-dot truck | commissioned by Packard Motor Car Company and Kaiser-Frazer Corporation to design car interiors
styling | not just homes…but also hotels & resorts, department stores & shopping centers, automobiles & aircraft, even menus & matchbooks
draperisms | dished out decorating advice
1925 | launched Architectural Clearing House, the first interior design business in the United States
~ the name was changed to Dorothy Draper Co., which still exists today ~
1939 | authored Decorating Is Fun! How to be Your Own Decorator establishing her as America's tastemaker of the time and inspired a generation of do-it-yourself enthusiasts
2006 | Museum of the City of New York honors Dorthy with The High Style of Dorothy Draper, a retrospective exhibition of her work…a first for any interior designer
from | to
interior design pioneer | interior design & DIY icon
November 22, 1889
Tuxedo Park, New York
~ a name her parents called her ~
The United States of America
Susan (Minturn) Tuckerman
younger brother, Roger
grew up in
Tuxedo Park, New York
~ a tony gated community | home to New York society ~
Upper East Side, New York
Brearley School | Manhattan
~ attended for only a couple of years, as a young teen ~
"no schooling to speak of, except that I was brought up where I had the privilege of being constantly in touch with surroundings of pleasant good taste."
Dr. George (Dan) Draper
~ married 1912 - 1929 | a physician who treated his former Groton classmate, President Franklin Roosevelt, for poliomyelitis ~
~ born in 1913 ~
~ born in 1915 ~
~ born in 1923 ~
~ Jackie Kennedy's social secretary ~
~ joined in 1960, right out of college | bought the decorating business ~
March 11, 1969
image creditcollapse bio bits
"Even in a formal dining room you don't want to be ponderous or gloomy. Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it's well worthwhile to make the game as pleasant as possible."Decorating is Fun! | 1939
"Until very recently people were literally scared out of their wits by color. Perhaps this was a hangover from our Puritan ancestors. But whatever the reason, brown, grays and neutrals were the only shades considered 'safe.' Now we know that lovely, clear colors have a vital effect on our mental happiness."Decorating is Fun! | 1939
"'The Will to Be Dreary' is a morose little imp which whispers to us that something which we know would be fun would be too much trouble, will take too much time, is too expensive and probably wouldn't be as amusing after all as just now you think it would be. Now don't listen to that voice. Tune it out."Entertaining is Fun! How to Be a Popular Hostess | 1941
"A great deal of superfluous nonsense is talked about women combining careers with a normal home life. The way to combine the two is to combine the two and not dramatize them."interview | 1941
"Never look back, except for an occasional glance, look ahead and plan for the future. Success is not built on past laurels, but rather on a continuous activity. Keep busy searching out new ideas and, experimentally, keep ahead of the times, or at least up with them."Entertaining is Fun! How to Be a Popular Hostess | 1941
Portrait of Dorothy Draper, seated, facing front
A photo of the designer adorning a feature story about her pioneering design work, which earned the businesswoman considerable press.
Edward Lynch | World Telegram & Sun | Library of Congress | public domain
The Victorian Writing Room – once called the most photographed room in the United States.
In 1946, Dorothy was commissioned to give "America's Resort" ~ established in 1778 ~ a serious makeover. She revamped The Greenbrier in grand fashion, with plenty of bold hues + chintz.
The Glam Pad | http://www.theglampad.com/2013/02/the-dorothy-draper-school-of-decorating_1.html