Carleton Varney, internationally renowned designer, owner and president of Dorothy Draper & Co., and local Palm Beacher will release his thirty-seventh book, Romance & Rhododendrons: My Love Affair with America’s Resort, The Greenbrier, in December 2020.
In the book, Varney tours through the interior spaces at The Greenbrier–affectionately called “America’s Resort”–in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, as well as the cottages and other buildings that surround the historic hotel. Varney peppers the pages with personal anecdotes and decorating wisdom alongside images of the legendary rooms. He shares never-before-seen sketches and photographs from Dorothy Draper’s–the designer tasked with restoring and revamping the resort’s interiors after it served as a military hospital during World War II–archives, in which Draper chronicles the hotel’s rebirth. Stunning photographs of today’s interiors attest to The Greenbrier’s staying power as one of America’s most famous retreats.
The book’s title comes from Draper’s signature design influences in The Greenbrier: “romance and rhododendrons.” Draper transformed the spacious interiors with bold colors, and floral patterns, dramatic classical influences, and modern touches, underscoring her belief that joyful colors were essential to well-being.
When Varney arrived in Draper’s office in 1961 to work as an assistant in the design department, one of his first tasks was to accompany the design icon to The Greenbrier. Since then, he has been involved with every aspect of the hotel’s design, maintaining Draper’s inspired designed, while modernizing, upgrading, and adding his own flair. Varney, who is now the hotel’s official curator, has turned the historic hotel into a resort for the twenty-first century, combining the best of yesterday with the best of today.
The book will be published by Shannongrove Press in New York.