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    Dorothy Draper & Co.

At the heart of The Greenbrier’s legacy lies the visionary work of Dorothy Draper, a trailblazing interior designer whose influence reverberates through every corner of America’s Resort. A name synonymous with all things style, Dorothy Draper was the creative force behind The Greenbrier’s iconic aesthetic, defined by highly saturated hues, bold contrasts, and imaginative uses of patterns.

Victorian Writing Room

Shaping a Grand Identity

During the Second World War, The Greenbrier served a greater purpose as a hospital for over 24,000 soldiers in need of surgical and rehabilitative care. In the war’s aftermath, The Greenbrier underwent a remarkable transformation under Dorothy Draper’s guidance, and our resort’s distinctive décor was established. Her bold artistic vision breathed life into the resort, infusing color, oversized patterns, and a rich sense of history into every detail.

Draper oversaw every last design detail at The Greenbrier, from our matchboxes to our staff uniforms. But her work at The Greenbrier went beyond curating items and picking patterns — she created environments that evoke emotion and tell a story. It’s why one of her most iconic spaces in our resort, the Victorian Writing Room, was once called the most photographed room in America. Dorothy Draper’s work at The Greenbrier forever linked our resort’s identity with unmatched opulence and design-driven luxury.

Lounge area

A Legendary Legacy

From Manhattan to San Francisco and — of course — White Sulphur Springs, Dorothy Draper made her unmistakable mark on some of the country’s most prestigious hotels and resorts. A figure so iconic, she was the first interior decorator honored with a retrospective of her career at The Museum of The City of New York.

Her greatest influence spanned from 1925 to 1962, earning her the title of America’s most influential tastemaker during this era. With a regular design column in Good Housekeeping, her advice and sharp wit made its way into households all over the country. Her revolutionary approach to interior design paved the way for a new era of creativity and is evident in design movements like maximalism and the enduring popularity of eclectic and mixed-use spaces.

Carleton Varney

Carleton Varney: Carrying on a Design Legacy

Draper remained The Greenbrier’s decorator into the 1960s. When she passed away in 1969, the torch of her legacy was passed to the late Carleton Varney, who continued to steer the ship of creativity with the same dedication and brought his own creative flair to the forefront. Like Draper, Carleton Varney believed that color makes people happy — not white and beige rooms.

As The Greenbrier Designer & Curator, and President of Dorothy Draper & Co until his passing in 2022, his design philosophy stressed the use of bright colors and the rejection of all that is impractical, uncomfortable, and drab. Throughout his career, Varney authored 37 books, including his final work, Romance and Rhododendrons: My Love Affair withAmerica’s Resort, in which he writes about his personal connection to The Greenbrier and shares his insights and experiences related to our resort’s design, history, and unique charm.