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Women’s History Month-Famous Women in Design

13 Mar

Ladies in Design You Should Know About

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.”  This is a famous quote fromWomen1 Edith Wharton, mostly known for being a writer and the first woman to win a Pulitzer, but many do not know that she was also an interior designer.  She designed her home the Mount, which still stands today as an example of her design principles.  To celebrate March being Women’s History month, let’s take a look at some other female designers that paved the way.

Women2In 1905, Elsie de Wolfe became the first interior decorator to be given a design commission; it was the Colony Club on Madison Avenue and its interiors garnered her recognition overnight.  Rejecting the Victorian style she grew up with, Elsie chose a more vibrant scheme with more comfortable furniture in the home. Her designs utilized fresh colors and delicate furnishings opposing the Victorian preference of heavy drapes, plush upholstery, and dark wood. Her designs were practical in that she eliminated the clutter that occupied the Victorian home, enabling people to entertain more guests comfortably.

In England, Syrie Maugham became a legendary interior decorator by designing the first all-white room.  Also women3designing in the Victorian Era, she challenged the norm by filling rooms with light and furnishing them in multiple shades of white. In addition to mirrored screens, her trademark pieces included: console tables with plaster palm-frond, shell, or dolphin bases, upholstered and fringed sleigh beds, fur carpets, dining chairs covered in white leather, and lamps of graduated glass balls, and wreaths.

women4Dorothy Draper was the first documented commercial interior decorator, establishing her design firm in 1923.  Dorothy Draper believed that the energy of vivid colors would make people feel happier, so she led design away from the dark interiors of the time by introducing bright color palettes. She chose dramatic and contrasting color schemes and combined different fabrics and patterns together. All of the colors and patterns contributed to her dramatic design now referred to as “the Draper Touch.”

So if you are ever in need of some inspiration for your home, look back to these women who were so forward-thinking for their time.  Where will you put your white room?  Where will you use the “the Draper Touch”?

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