My Cart


THE DRAPER TOUCH The High Life and High Style of Dorothy Draper

Posted on June 25 2022

Dorothy Draper led a life nearly as colorful as the rooms she created. 

Born in 1889 into a blue-blood New England family at the height of the Gilded Age, she was among the first children to be raised in the then-new and ultra-affluent Tuxedo Park enclave 40 miles from New York City. Her family — the Tuckermans — and their neighbors were part of Old Guard New York, a milieu she would find stuffy and limiting as a young adult. 

Moving to the city, she would forge her own feisty path as a businesswoman who would help establish interior decorating as a true profession. Her career began in the Roaring ’20s and continued for some 40 years, during which she became a household name, a “tastemaker” long before the word was coined. 

Draper — known to most in her era as “Mrs. Draper” or, to close friends and family as “D.D.” — may have been to the manor born, but one of her key missions was to reach into the far more modest homes of middle-class Americans, showing them how to live life with panache, even amid budget restraints. She became a trusted adviser on decorating and entertaining through the syndicated newspaper columns, magazine articles, how-to pamphlets and books she wrote. 

Today, design historians regard her as a pioneer. She favored then-revolutionary color combinations; oversized flower prints on white backgrounds; and black-and-white accents, including checkerboard floors.

She became equally famous for the glamorous furnishings, wall-and-ceiling decorations and accessories she designed with dramatic scrolls and flourishes, most often drenched in dull-white paint to highlight their curves. In the 1940s and 1950s, the striking style became known as the “the Draper look” and “Modern Baroque.” 


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Join our Mailing List

Sign up for Carleton's email list to be the first to hear about new arrivals, special events and more.

My Cart

Subtotal: $0.00

Your cart is currently empty.