This vintage wallpaper design is part of the collection at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. While the museum undergoes significant renovations, they’ve asked curators, scholars and Master’s students to share their favorite objects from the collection in a website feature called Object of the Day.
This wallpaper pattern was designed in 1948 by legendary self-taught interior designer Dorothy Draper. While the palette is pretty darn vintage, this color inspiration could certainly be used in a more modern application. (You can download the color palette as an Adobe .ase file.)
Dorothy Draper is one of the best-known and most-loved decorators of the 20th century. With no formal design training, Draper decorated her own homes and those of her friends before opening her own design firm, Dorothy Draper & Co., in 1925. In 1939, she wrote Decorating Is Fun: How To Be Your Own Decorator, which inspired many housewives to spruce up their interiors. Draper stressed that the most important aspect of decorating was having courage: the courage to explore one’s own ideas.
Draper designed the Rhododendron wallpaper for her renovation of the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia in 1948. The original Greenbrier opened in 1780 and, prior to WWII, was the preferred hotel of the Southern elite. Following its use by the military during the war, the Greenbrier commissioned Draper to decorate the hotel during its $4.2 million dollar renovation. Draper used fifteen thousand rolls of Rhododendron wallpaper to line the halls.
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