07 January 2009

Carleton V

 

image

Here come the men in pink!  Famous interior designer, Carleton Varney, stands in the middle – celebrating the publication of his book “In the Pink” written about his mentor Dorothy Draper.

 

image

“In The Pink” – Varney’s best seller and a favorite with design bloggers.  The cover shows the famous Draper Door.

 

image

Varney’s newest tome is “Houses In My Heart.”  Did you know he has written over 17 books, mostly on design and now, mostly out-of-print?   A few books he wrote are novels – one is titled “Kiss the Hibiscus Good Night” while another novel is simply “The Decorator.”  My favorite out-of-print title is, of course for my husband, “There’s No Place Like Home.”   Most of these  books are available on Amazon.   Despite Varney’s success as an author, he is decidedly more famous for his interior design. 

 

  image  

The lobby at The Greenbrier – Dorothy Draper’s largest and most famous commission.  Varney recently completed a renovation of it’s interiors.  Draper’s famous black and white marble floors remain in place, as does the white plaster over mantel seen here - another  Draper trademark.

 

Carleton Varney took over the helm at Dorothy Draper, Inc. after Draper, his mentor’s, death.   He continues as owner/president to this day.  Draper was famous for her Neo-Baroque design style, along with her use of bold colors  in, then odd, combinations such a “pink and aubergine, with a splash of chartreuse and a touch of turquoise.”   She favored huge cabbage rose chintz along with stripes, black and white checked floors, and fantastic plaster moldings – everywhere.   Draper’s influence is still felt today and her designs are as in vogue as ever.   The popular Hollywood Glamour style owes a huge debt to Draper, as do all the white ornately framed mirrors on the market today.  

 

image

The sweeping stairs at The Greenbrier.  Varney’s restoration was faithful to Draper’s original design.

 

Today, Varney runs his successful business with one eye on Draper’s legacy and another on his own.   While some of his work is a direct nod to Draper, he also designs the Carleton V way.   Make no mistake though, Varney adores Draper’s eye – and her playfulness and saturated color schemes can often be seen in his present day interiors.  Published repeatedly in Architectural Digest, Varney is at the height of his career, still creating and still active, even after almost 50 years at it.  Remarkable!

 

image 

Carleton Varney’s latest work, the restaurant Union Prime,  is located on East 16th Street in Manhattan and is set to open next week.  The menu is a marriage of contemporary American steak and modern sushi.  The restaurant’s owners hired Varney to deliver a chic, fashionable and glamorous interior.     With a backdrop of lipstick red, the playful lights, reminiscent of a woman’s hat, are eye catching.  The white scrolling cartouches along the walls are pure Draper.

 

image

The large cabbage roses, Draper’s famous Princess Grace Rose fabric, provide more chic drama.  This fabric remains one of the most popular and recognizable of Draper’s designs.    To tone down the atmosphere at eye level, Varney uses a modern check in taupe and oatmeal colors.   The deep colored floor and leather chairs forces the eye upward to where all the action is. 

 

 

image

A close-up of the row of pendant lights, designed by Varney.

 

 

image

The white plaster mirrors are a further example of Draper’s lasting appeal. 

 

 

image

The bold black and red stripes are a design element that Draper made famous.   The architecture of Union Prime was created by Scott Bromley, of Bromley-Caldari Architects PC.   And the talented Chef Duhame is behind the menu’s fusion of sushi and steak.    If you plan to be in New York next week, be sure to stop in for drinks and a meal, or just to take a glance at Carleton’s latest greatest.

 

image 

Draper’s famous Princess Grace Rose chintz is everywhere these days.   This year, I saw it at Two’s Company showroom used with beautiful, pale turquoise walls.  Without a doubt, this showroom was the prettiest one I saw this season – solely due to the Princess Grace Rose.

image

Here Carlton Varney designs without the influence of Draper.     This is my favorite Varney room, a French inspired guest room in a New York apartment.  I love the yellow wallpaper used with pink toile and a red indienne fabric.  Just try and count all the different fabrics used in this room – yet it’s effect is serene.  The ability to use a multitude of fabrics in a pleasing combination is a gift of a talented designer. 

 

image

Another bedroom in the same apartment uses Scalamandre’s Oriental toile paper on the walls.  The owners later moved and Varney designed another apartment for the couple – both are published in Architectural Digest.

 

 

image

Another recently Varney designed space in lower Manhattan is Ella Bar whose owner is a nephew of Varney’s.  Here, red, black and white, along with a vintage Draper chintz, are used to create an homage to Draper.   

 

image 

The black and white checked floor and striped ceiling is all Draper!

 

image

The white mirrors with their shell motif and large red leather booths create a perfect backdrop for this stylish bar. 

 

For more on Carleton Varney, pick up his latest book, Houses In My Heart, from Amazon here.   Varney has a charming web site here, designed in a Draperesque style.   And if you plan on being in Manhattan, be sure to stop in at Union Prime on East 16th to experience Varney’s wonderful new design in person!

54 comments:

  1. Joni, thank you so much for sharing this. I need this book! I love Rose Cummings and Carlton Varney. She did such unique interiors... unmistakably hers. And her interiors along with Mr. Varney's are so fresh and alive with color. They understand romance in a grand way.

    I love his French bedroom, but that room in the Scalamandre is a showstopper to me. And that shot of the lobby of the Greenbrier proves what classic design is all about. Makes me want to pack my little magpie bag!

    Thank you for sharing both your knowledge and your opionions. I'm always interested in both.

    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  2. LEST WE FORGET THE GRAND ON MACKINAW ISLAND!!

    IT IS A SIGHT TO BEHOLD



    STOP ON OVER...YOU MIGHT LIKE MY NOT SO FANCY SCHMANCY MAKEOVER

    ReplyDelete
  3. oooooh, that Draper style is so magnificent. The Greenbriar is one of my favorite places on earth though, no one ever seems dressed well enough to stand in those spaces! Be well, The Hostess

    ReplyDelete
  4. i love the shot of the winding stair case, the light on that mirror and blue wallpaper is stunning

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love it all...you have been pretty busy here darlin'! I must say my favorite is the Two Company's showroom of the Princess Grace Rose collection...maybe because I am a store owner? :) Love that lamp in the center!!!

    xo...deb

    ReplyDelete
  6. Loved this post! Thanks Joni.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Joni, Another interesting and educating post. That French inspired guest room is my favorite also. I love everything about it! Mary

    ReplyDelete
  8. You know i've been writing about CV for ages, but from his 1970's book! I might have to post a then and now series of pix!

    ReplyDelete
  9. union prime & ella bar !!!
    that is where you will find me,
    i could die over those 2 places.
    they are soooo draper.
    her colors are my colors.

    i would expect to see gary ( gorgeous) cooper walk in at any moment and just slide into a booth.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agree Renee, what a time that must have been.

    Those mirrors are so so fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have looked at that "In The Pink" book and it knocks my socks off. I will definitely check out the site and books you mention - you are my mentor, after all.

    Hey, I hear they are talking about you in Washington! Congrats on getting onto Terri Sapienza's list. You deserve it darlin'.

    xo Terri

    ReplyDelete
  12. Carleton proves my belief about decorators. They never retire!! How does one retire from a lifestyle??

    ReplyDelete
  13. bless his over the top heart. keep on going, mr. v!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for a wonderful post! How strange that I ordered those two books just last week?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Joni - I agree, I like that French bedroom best! Although I would prefer to see a piece of modern art or mirror instead of the lady's portrait. :) I count 9 fabrics, plus the carpet.

    -Lana

    ReplyDelete
  16. The polished marble at the Greenbrier gleams like a lake. I have black marble tiles in my lobby and white marble tiles throughout the rest. I think the maid and I will have to talk!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That Union Prime restaurant is fantastic, just love that look and vibe. Great designer!!!

    Bella

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dorothy Draper is one of my favorites. "In The Pink" is a great book. Carlton Varney does a great job of keeping true classics at the forefront of design.

    ReplyDelete
  19. my question is: other than the openingparty of a book entitled 'in the pink' -where else would you wear a pink suit?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Not for all the tea in China, would I ever engage anyone who dresses as badly as Carlton Varney,
    The guys flanking him look far more suavely turned out.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post, Joni. I love the restaurant decors the most. They're over the top, yet they incorporate ideas that anyone could copy.

    Did you see how shiny the black and white floors are in that Greenbrier photo? Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Any man who can pull off wearing that pink shirt is fabulous. Loved the NY post you did. And thoroughly enjoyed the table skirt fight. That was a good one! lol

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello CDTx,
    Just received "Houses In My Heart" for Christmas.

    Have been swooning over CV for.....well....forever.
    In fact, wrote to him yesterday about a Carleton V mag ad page I've been hoarding for 20+ years.

    He is something, isn't he?
    Bodacious & brilliant come to mind.
    Alison (WI)

    ReplyDelete
  24. What a fantastic post, Joni, my dear! You have once again out done yourself!! I too love the bedroom by Carlton V! How chic is that! And Dorothy Draper has to be my all time favorite....such style and class! Thanks for this delightful post! I loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Varney's scarf as tie is fabulous!! I wonder if I could talk my husband into giving it a try. Lovely photos...great way to start my morning!

    ReplyDelete
  26. The Union Prime and Ella Bar, oh my gosh! Bold and Beautiful. It appeals to male and female taste.

    ReplyDelete
  27. god I just love how over the top, scalamandre, balloon shade, a top toile, a top pumped up sherberts and pale pastels he is. While this particular style isn't mine, it's done perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You have to admire the man for staying true to a style for over 50years and for wearing a 'pink' suit!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Really love that Ella Bar in all its' Black-White-Red glory. ... this kind of true glam makes me want to break out a long shiny cigarette holder and a froofy little cocktail hat.
    Guess we were both thinking D. Draper b/w marble floors ; as I mentioned them in my latest post, too! (and then linked to your Greenbrier pic) Only in the bloggy world could you find Airstreams and DD in the same place. ...
    Fab post,Joni!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm speechless!! Blown away. Thanks for this post.

    Shelly

    ReplyDelete
  31. Joni
    Congratulations today on the 'blogs of mention top ten' in the Washington Post.
    I saw it bright and early when I read my paper.
    I live 1 1/2 hours from DC.
    Mim

    ReplyDelete
  32. Love names like Carlton V and delicious design books such as this.

    A big congrats to making the top 10 design blogs list at the Washington Post!!! Can't say that I'm surprised, you're amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh Joni, how fun is this post! I'm such a sucker for those black and white stripes.

    ReplyDelete
  34. i just LOVE this stuff! i eat it up! i must get the book. those lamp shades with the ribbon through them? divine. that staircase is fab. and i love that floral print in the ella bar! so fun and vibrant.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Joni,
    I learn so much from you. CV looks fabulous in his pink and the "Varney" room in the NY apt...scrumptious. Oh what marvelous talent. I could only wish.
    Congrats to you too on your kudos from the Post.

    ReplyDelete
  36. the above was from me, Renae, Joni. I don't know why it came up anon.
    Blessings Friend.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Joni, I love this post, I hate to admit I didn't even know about Dorothy Draper until about 5yrs ago.I was buying design books and I ran across one of hers.When I read what her style was, I fell in love.I have a black and white checked floor in marble and granite and it is my all time favorite design element. I love to put stripes with florals and I love the fresh and fun color schemes.Thankyou for this post and I hear congrats are in order on being mentioned in the Wash Post for top ten blogs.Kathysue

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm like a little hampster in a cage- jumping from one picture to the next with excitment and joy!! I love Draper's style. The black striped ceiling is so fun and along with the men in pink!! Thanks Joni!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh my, those two bedrooms just made my day and my eyes pop...they are both gorgeous and a bit girly, just the way I feel today.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I did a post on the Varneys last month! I am a huge, huge fan and actually am lucky enough to have met son Nicholas more than once for work! If you are able you must pick up the new House Beautiful as it has a big article on a lake home Carlton did in WI, you would surely enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Great post Joni!

    I also love CV's talent of successfully mixing so many patterns and colors in the same room.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love a room with a luxurious amount of fabric!

    Hey - take a guess and tell me how many decorating books that you own!

    ReplyDelete
  43. His colorful style is so inspiring. I used to work at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Is. which he decorated. So pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I hope there's not a quota on how many times I can describe one of your posts as stunning! These pictures were gorgeous. My favorite was the same as yours: the guest room with the yellow wallpaper and beautiful toile dust ruffle. Think you could get me an invitation to be a guest?!

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Joni, I'm convinced I've gone around the bend. ;-) I sat there, knowing full well I was talking about DOROTHY DRAPER and wrote ROSE CUMMINGS instead!!! What an 'idjet' thing to do! It just goes to show you how I've been burning the candle at both ends. I need a trip to a SPA!

    Now, I feel like a complete dork. AND of course, it would be your very first post. Argh!

    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  46. What a gorgeous post! I am a huge Draper fan & I am now a huge fan of yours to! Great blog and your images are stunning! I love it! I'm rushing out to get my husband a Pink sportscoat right now! LOL!
    Best Wishes!
    xoxo
    Judith~

    ReplyDelete
  47. Oh, oh, The Greenbrier! I'm completely in love with this colour combination at the moment, and this is absolutley wonderfully executed.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love Mr.V.......when I had done up my old house that you featured a while back, I had no idea who he or Draper were AT ALL. Then I stumbled upon her and almost stroked out over the similarities between our styles! I was instantly in LOOOOVE (obsessively in love). I would do anything to meet him in person....I'll bet his personality is as colorful as the chintz he uses, what do you say?

    Andrea V.

    (**I wonder if I subliminally used Andrea V. as my profile name b/c of Carlton V......hmmmmm!!I never thought about it before!)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Oh, I am adoring the pendant lights with their sweet ribbon bows at Union Prime. And the staircase at The Greenbrier is incredibly gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I have the book "In the Pink" and it's wonderful! I'll have to check out the other book. My jaw dropped when I saw the new and improved version of the lobby. WOWWW and the floor - yowzers! I Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  51. You have the most lovely photos espically the one of the "The lobby at The Greenbrier" - wow, oh what it would like very, very, rich!

    ReplyDelete
  52. In my opinion everybody must go through it.

    ReplyDelete