Period Piece: The [Dorothy] Draper Effect

A good friend of mine is moving into a lovely studio apartment in Cleveland Park NW, home to DC gems like Politics and Prose and the historic Art Deco style Uptown Theater.  So it was quite fortuitous when I showed her this blog, and she said that it was perfect timing that I did that because she was thinking of ways to decorate her new apartment—and the blog could help.  Of course, I was giddy with excitement when she said that because not only is she looking for design ideas from me, but she doesn’t have any furniture and only has her trendy clothes to move!  She has (rather I have) a blank canvas to work with!  Ah, a good way to test my ID skillz.  So, what is my dear friend looking for in terms of decor?  Something “very urban, very playful,” she says.  And she’s thinking of painting a divider wall hot pink (I think I heard her right…hot). I automatically thought of Dorothy Draper, the most influential American interior designer of the 20th century. She is to interior design as Coco Channel is to fashion — a pioneer, an inspiration! She’s all about bold pops of color, and she makes me happy! See examples of her work from The Greenbriar, like this one:

The Greenbrier Lobby Design by Dorothy Draper via Architectural Digest

I love the mix of intense colors, bold patterns, and visual textures in the lobby (above).  She also brings in natural elements in her design, often using live plants or plant prints like in this one  below:

Also at The Greenbriar -- Photo From Architectural Digest

Mirrors — the more ornate the better for Dorothy Draper. Check this one out (below), set against an awesome floral print wallpaper.

Also at The Greenbriar -- Photo From Architectural Digest

I recently learned that there is such a thing as “The Draper Effect.” And no, not the Don Draper kind…. To achieve the Dorothy Draper effect in your interiors, you gotta use:
1) Intense Color
2) Plant Life
3) Dense and textured carpet.
4) Striking details — just a few bold accessories, but don’t clutter!
5) A roaring fire.
6) Exuberant prints

Taking those points in mind…I’ve got much to work with in brainstorming for my friend’s Cleveland Park apartment!  Stay tuned….


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