Don Draper vs. Dorothy Draper

August 5, 2015, In: Uncategorized

Many of you are familiar with Don Draper from the hit show Mad Men. I once inhabited that world. I was an advertising art director working in Chicago for some of the biggest names in the business. Do you remember the iconic Virginia Slims cigarette ad, “You’ve come a long way, Baby?” The creative director who came up with that campaign was my first boss. Imagine my delight when Don Draper wanted to pitch for a new type of cigarette targeted towards women. Okay, I know he’s fictional and I enjoyed that series a little too much. But it’s fun to look back on that crazy time in my life (oh, I have stories!) and I’m glad I did it, but more glad I’m not doing it anymore.

Book cover

What happened? Dorothy Draper won out. No, she’s not Don’s wife. Most of you have probably never heard of her. In the 1940s and 50s, she was an interior designer who ushered America out of the tasteful, but bland, clutter and stuffiness that was found everywhere among her upper crust circle. A new era of bold color and design began.

Lounge area in the Greenbrier Resort.

Lounge area in the Greenbrier Resort.

Her work can still be seen at the famous Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. It looks as fresh as ever, thanks to ongoing maintenance by her firm, now overseen by Carleton Varney, the curator of her fabulous designs.

Banana Leaf

Entrance to Draper’s restaurant.

Dorothy Draper loved bold stripes, and black and white floors. She introduced us to a turquoise that she said Tiffany (think blue box) took from her. Her banana leaf wallpaper is legend. I think people back then may have experienced a freeing sense of possibilities when encountering Dorothy Draper’s work. Well, at least that’s what I felt when I entered The Greenbrier recently, for the first time!


Lobby of The Greenbrier.

Greenbriar pool

Entrance to the pool area.

The sense of wonder never left me as I explored this fascinating hotel, set in the mountains of West Virginia.

That’s why I left advertising. I got hooked on helping people see the possibilities in their home. I love giving clients a few common sense guidelines and watching their confidence grow as we pull together color and pattern. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from creating a beautiful space. It makes my clients happy. It makes me happy. My goal is simple. Over the coming months, and years, I hope this blog will become a resource whenever you are making important decisions regarding your home. Like what to consider when buying a couch. Or how to pick colors for your home. Making the “big” decisions on tile and countertops. You get the idea.
If you live in Charlotte and would like more guidance from me, I would be very happy to help! If you live out of the area, I will begin online consultations shortly. Please subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out!

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    • Jeanne
    • March 13, 2017

    The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan is also decorated in Dorothy Draper style. Fabulous!

    • Jan
    • August 8, 2015

    Come help me with my house Cindy!!!! It is beautiful on my phone. You are so talented.

    • Gail Petit
    • August 7, 2015

    Fascinating, and I will look forward to your completed sections, especially ‘toss pillows’.

    • Joyce Harris
    • August 6, 2015

    Congratulations!!! It is amazing!!!

    • Robert Byrne
    • August 6, 2015

    Love your site!
    Looks great on my iPhone

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Design Do & Don'ts for Creating Happy Spaces

Cindy Kozi

About this Blog

Do you want to understand design rules and know when to break them? Know when and how to "play it safe" and still keep a playful joy in your home? Realize what's in, what's out, what's trendy or timeless? How to pick colors? And, my personal quest, how to bridge the gap between high style and comfort! Come along on this journey with me as I explore what's happening in the world of home design while I give you easy to follow guidelines.


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