Carleton Varney, one of America's best known interior designers, is associated with the restoration and decoration of countless hotels and resorts all over the world, among them: Adare Manor, Dromoland and Ashford Castles in Ireland; The Waldorf Towers and Plaza Hotel in New York; Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island (Michigan) ; The Breakers in Palm Beach (Florida), and the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, (West Virginia). In years past he was the design consultant to the Carter Presidential Library and for numerous State functions at the White House. He also restored and redecorated the Official Vice President's Residence in Washington D.C., the Governor's Mansion in West Virginia, and the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Tokyo, Japan.
His versatility in design can be seen in the wide range of products that have borne his mark, ranging from furniture, lamps, dinner-ware, crystal and linen designs. His own line of fabric designs, launched under thename Carleton V Ltd., and Carleton Varney by the yard, grace the private residences of his impressive roster of clients which include superstars from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and business. Just introduced to the market is a line of furniture based on Dorothy Draper designs, for Ficks Reed and also ready to launch is a new Errol Flynn Collection (a joint collaboration between Carleton Varney and the actor's wife, Patrice Wymore Flynn) for the Kindel Furniture Company; a collection inspired by the movie star's furniture on his Jamaica estate.
Recent projects include a just completed apartment in Washington D.C., with a distinctly 'Moroccan' flavor for a prominent business couple, a vast New York Fifth Avenue apartment,a summer house in Southampton, N.Y. and an Addison Mizner designed residence in Palm Beach for celebrity clients from the theater world. Other recent projects include two residences in California (Palm Springs & Lake Arrowhead), and two houses on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Two of his current projects include a 21,000 sq. ft. residence on Lake Michigan with a separate 6,000 sq. ft. boat house on the lake and a vast residence in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Just finished are the penthouse suites at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Two other recent commercial projects include, an office building in Charleston, West Virginia, and a luxurious senior living complex in Denver, Colorado. In February 2008, he decorated the famous Architectural Digest Green Room at the 80th Academy Awards ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, in which all the movie stars and award presenters gather before they go on stage. In its beginning stages, is perhaps one of his most prestigious assignments; the interior design of the Royal Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, which is currently being restored to its original splendor.
He is the president of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc. (New York), one of the oldest established interior design firms in the United States, named after the founder of the company who was one of the doyenes of interior design from the 1920's to the 1960's and who was honored by the Museum of the City of New York in 2006 in a very successful retrospective exhibition of her work - (the exhibition continued on to The Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas, in 2007, and then on to the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Florida until June 2008).
Carleton Varney has penned a biography on Dorothy Draper entitled The Draper Touch : The High Life and High Style of Dorothy Draper. His pictorial book on Dorothy Draper, In The Pink - Dorothy Draper - Americas's most fabulous Decorator, published concurrently with the museum exhibitions, is filled with countless photographs of her work, taken from the archives of Dorothy Draper & Company and includes many photographs that have never been published before. Carleton Varney is also a well known syndicated newspaper columnist and author of numerous books, most on design, but also including two novels: Kiss the Hibiscus Good Night and The Decorator and an autobiography entitled There's No Place Like Home. His latest book - Houses in my Heart (An International Decorator's Colorful Journey) is published by Pointed Leaf Press.. It is a lavishly illustrated book featuring many of his interior design projects throughout his career.
Carleton Varney's design philosophy stresses the use of bright colors and the rejection of all that is impractical, uncomfortable and drab. In embracing this practice, he continues the tradition of Dorothy Draper by being associated with the imaginative use of vibrant colors, floral patterns and bold contrasts; a legacy that is reflected, not only in his interior designs, but also, most notably, in his fabric and scarf designs.
Professional Affiliation: Member Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
Shelby Williams Award - Design Achievement 1967.
Restaurant and Hotel Design Platinum Circle Award for Interior Design 1987.
1989 Tommy Award - Covington Fabrics, Heraldry Collection designed by Carleton Varney.
Honorary Doctorate - University of Charleston, West Virginia 1988.
Interior Design magazine - Hall of Fame Award 1990.
Architectural Digest - January 2005 - Named as one of the 30 Deans of American Design.