The high-society interior designer was hired to renovate the resort after it was used as a hospital during World War II. She left the hotel with a bold new personality, using color and oversized patterns to paint a picture that reflected the luxury of space, elegance and sense of history in every detail. As a result, America's Resort remains a one-of-a-kind property with guestrooms, suites and cottages unlike any other in the world.
Luxury by Design
The origin of The Greenbrier's distinctive décor goes back to this much-publicized redecoration, at a period when Dorothy Draper was at the peak of her fame. As Architectural Digest described her, she was "a true artist of the design world [who] became a celebrity in the modern sense of the word, virtually creating the image of the decorator in the popular mind."
For four years during World War II, The Greenbrier served as a surgical and rehabilitation center for 24,148 soldiers. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway reacquired the property in 1946 and initiated a comprehensive redecoration of the hotel by renowned decorator Dorothy Draper.
She remained the resort's decorator into the 1960s. Upon her retirement, Carleton Varney took over the firm and he continued as The Greenbrier Designer/Curator and President of Dorothy Draper & Co
. until his death in 2022. Today, the inimitable styles of one of the most significant and celebrated designers of the century is showcased throughout The Greenbrier.
Carleton Varney's design philosophy stressed the use of bright colors and the rejection of all that is impractical, uncomfortable and drab. In embracing this practice, he continued the tradition of Dorothy Draper by being associated with the imaginative use of vibrant colors, floral patterns and bold contrasts. Learn more about Carleton Varney here