Approximate reading time 3 minutes.
March is Women’s History Month so why not make a little history of your own. One way to do that would be to finally begin that room makeover that you’ve been mulling over for some time. To help inspire you, read about the timeless design of three women who were pioneers in the history of interior decorating: Elsie de Wolfe, Dorothy Draper and Sister Parish.
ELSIE DE WOLFE
Elsie de Wolfe (1859-1950), was an actress, writer and interior decorator. She was also known as Lady Mendl after becoming the wife of Sir Charles Mendl. She became interested in interior design as a result of staging plays. In 1903, she left the theater to launch a career as a decorator. Her social connections from the theater enabled her to become an influential figure in the emerging field. Preferring a brighter scheme of decorating than was fashionable in Victorian times, she helped convert interiors featuring dark, heavy draperies and overly ornate furnishings into light, soft, more feminine rooms. She made a feature of mirrors, which both illuminated and expanded living spaces, brought back into fashion furniture painted in white or pale colors.
You can purchase this wonderful poster on Amazon.
Oil On Canvas By Bernard Boutet De Monvel
C1940 Poster Print by (18 x 24)
Dorothy Draper (1889-1969) was the first to “professionalize” the interior design industry by establishing, in 1923, the first interior design company in the United States, Dorothy Draper & Company. At the time, it was considered daring for a woman to go into business for herself. She revolutionized the concept of “design” by breaking away from the historical “period room” styles that dominated the times. She used vibrant, “splashy” colors in never-before-seen combinations. Some of her best known work was seen in the many hotels she decorated.
You can purchase her story online through Amazon:
The Draper Touch:
The High Life and High Style of Dorothy Draper
Sister Parish (1910-1994) was the first interior decorator brought into the Kennedy White House. Her influence can still be seen in the Yellow Oval room on the second floor in the White House, the official residence of the President. Parish’s name led to some confusion, with one newspaper proclaiming: “Kennedys Pick Nun to Decorate White House.” Sister was a nickname given her by her three-year-old brother. Signature elements of the Parish look included painted floors, Anglo-Franco furniture, painted furniture, chintz, needlepoint pillows, mattress ticking, hooked rugs, rag rugs, starched organdy, botanical prints, painted lampshades, white wicker, quilts, and baskets.
You can purchase this book on Amazon.
The Life of Legendary American Interior Decorator Mrs. Henry Parish II
WOULD THEY APPROVE?
Here are some BEFORE and AFTER photographs of rooms decorated by Decorating Den Interiors. Do you think our stylish women of history would approve of these modern makeovers?
From playroom to a beautiful, inviting room for the whole family.
In this before and after of a living room, the owners wanted to keep the yellow sofa. What do you think?
A glamorous makeover with an amazing modern chandelier.
If your home is ready for a makeover call Maria Loveless today at 703-330-4451 or contact her by email.
Join Our Newsletter
If you enjoyed reading this blog, sign up for our monthly newsletter. They’re never long and will brighten your day!