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Dorothy Draper Style: The Anti-Minimalist

Dorothy Draper Style: The Anti-Minimalist

It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress.” – Dorothy Draper

Though many don’t know or realize who she even is, Dorothy Draper was the woman who invented the business of modern interior design.  Never before used color combinations, ornate plasterwork around doorways and windows, and bold black and white checker floors defined her style.  There was nothing minimalist about her designs, and her attention to detail was legendary. Many of her works still survive today, including The Carlyle Hotel and Hampshire House in New York, and of course the The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.


Here are a few tips from her 1941 book Decorating is Fun!

"Without benefit of technical knowledge or mumbo jumbo, we have found five most powerful friends to guide us. Here they are: Courage, Color, Balance, Smart Accessories, Comfort."


"You need courage to seek out your own taste and express it, courage to disregard stereotyped ideas and try out your own.... Don't be the lease disturbed by trends or fashions, or anyone else's advice. They are probably wrong. Be critical - never humble." 

I love this advice for your closet, as well as your home. Being above trends is at the core of the Senza Tempo woman.

classic little black dress




"[Color] is the rock on which your house is built. Without a keen sense of color, without the ability to get real enjoyment and excitement out of lovely colors, we might as well quit right now. I firmly believe that nothing contributes so much to the beauty of this world as color."

greenbrier staircase


"The proportions of your room, the balance of your arrangements, the size of your furniture and accessories - all are almost desperately important.... We have all seen, so many times, a women whose dress is a beautiful shade but so badly cut for her particular figure that she completely lacks style. Just the same thing may be true of your house."

Smart Accessories

"All women know how very important their clothes accessories are. It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress... Your ash trays and cigarette boxes should be just as decorative as they are useful. Your lampshades can make or break a room... It will always be these details of your room that will give it distinction."


"No room can be called perfect unless it has real comfort. It must be livable for you... Plan your room for the people who live in it... A room that is really comfortable for you will be the room that is most becoming to you."

the greenbrier decor