born 1889

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."

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Dorothy Draper (8)

"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

"The Drab Age is over."

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

"I don't believe there is any rule in the game that can't be broken."

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

"LOVE that fulfills you, FRIENDS who delight you, WORK that intrigues you, BEAUTY which enchants you—these are the rocks to build upon for health, success and joy."

Entertaining is Fun! How to Be a Popular Hostess | 1941
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curated with care by Shelagh Bolger + Alicia Williamson {september 2014}