Can Colourful Interior Design Actually Lift Your Spirits?
Kanebridge News
Share Button

Can Colourful Interior Design Actually Lift Your Spirits?

Brighten up your home for a vibrant mood.

By Joy Callaway
Fri, Jun 3, 2022 2:45pmGrey Clock 4 min

WHEN DOROTHY DRAPER, Gilded Age heiress turned famed decorator, was enlisted in 1946 to revitalize the storied Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia., she was met with its skeletal remains. Abandoned after its stint as an army hospital during World War II, it had been ravaged. There was no finery, no inkling its grounds had once been the playground of American aristocracy.

In a way, the state of the resort represented America. Many in Draper’s generation had lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. Everyone, regardless of status, had lost loved ones and watched stability evaporate. Draper had also been subject to a high-profile divorce from Dr. George Draper, President Franklin Roosevelt’s polio doctor, who left her on the eve of the stock market crash and ultimately married a woman 10 years her junior.

Everyone had stories. Everyone was battle-worn—not unlike the great fatigue we feel today, born of uncertainty that makes us either fold in fear or grasp for hope. Draper’s response was the latter. She believed deeply in the power of positive thought made manifest in the colourful decorating aesthetic she was known for.

By the time Draper’s train reached the White Sulphur Springs station, she had reanimated countless spaces. To New York City’s Hampshire House, she brought turquoise walls and cabbage-rose chintz. She transformed Brazil’s Quitandinha Resort with neo-baroque plasterwork and a brash palm-leaf print she called Brazilliance.

Colour ran counter to the prevailing interior decorating aesthetic c. 1890-1910, what might be called funeral-parlour chic. Draper, the daughter of iron heir Paul Tuckerman and shipping heiress Susan Minturn, had grown up in exclusive Tuxedo Park, N.Y., surrounded by antique furniture that was often stuffy, impractical and uncomfortable; and gravy colours such as wheat, slate and cream. The dreary neutrals Draper loathed were so beloved by the Gilded Age upper crust that Edith Wharton, in her 1897 decorating book, “The Decoration of Houses,” wrote “…the fewer the colours used in a room, the more pleasing and restful the result will be. A multiplicity of colours produces the same effect as a number of voices talking at the same time.”

Even before Draper’s first formal foray into decorating, her peers recognized the eye-catching beauty she cultivated in her own homes. Her opinion was so frequently sought that in the early ’20s, she did the unthinkable for a proper heiress and went into business, opening the Architectural Clearing House, a sort of matchmaking service between architects and clients. The firm evolved into Dorothy Draper & Company when it became clear that her real passion lay in decorating commercial spaces.

Draper chose what spoke to her, what she thought would make others joyful. Her husband, Dr. Draper, was a firm believer in the beneficial physical effect of positive thinking, and Draper carried the philosophy into her work. Bright shades and prints could influence not only the ambience of a space but also the mood of those occupying it. Her conviction resonated, and her clientele grew internationally. She deinstitutionalized patient rooms at the Delnor Hospital in St. Charles, Ill., with arm chairs, ottomans and window valences in floral chintz. In the cafeteria-style restaurant in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8-foot birdcage chandeliers and fluted columns surrounded a sculpture pool, and shocks of coral banquettes lined blackberry walls. All over the world, Draper replaced beige and sadness with wide stripes in splashy colours, lacquered furniture in striking black and white, and elaborate plaster mouldings. Eager to spread her message and style, she also wrote how-to books and a long-running column in Good Housekeeping.

The Greenbrier finally reopened in April of 1948, and it was Draper’s masterpiece. The first weekend boasted celebrities like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Bing Crosby and the Kennedys, but the true highlight was Draper’s design. The lobby was dressed in her signature black and white checkerboard marble floors, bright presidential-blue walls and rhododendron-print curtains. The ballroom, the social centre of the weekend, sported a hand-plastered cameo ceiling and an 1,800 pound, Czechoslovakian drop-crystal chandelier inspired by the one found in the winter palace of Catherine the Great. Even the matchbooks were lovely, a bright neon red ornamented with a rhododendron blossom. The ragged old hospital was a memory.

Draper once said, “You don’t sell a commodity. You sell joy, gaiety, excitement. You aim at people’s hearts, not their minds.” It’s clear that today, reeling from the pandemic, we are leaning toward interior design that aims at our hearts. Carlton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper & Company and author of a deluxe edition of “The Draper Touch” (Shannongrove Press, June 29), has been enlivening homes and resorts for 62 years. “Across the board we have seen an increase in people seeking more colour and pattern in their homes, fully embracing our interiors,” said Mr. Varney, who believes as Draper did, that colour doesn’t just transform our walls, it is a form of magic.

Dorothy’s Edicts

Three tips from Draper’s 1939 book, ‘Decorating is Fun!’

1. Before You Begin. Gather the samples of every colour you intend using in your room…first and ask yourself whether you would wear them all in one costume. If you wouldn’t, don’t ask your room to do it either.

2. Choose What You Like. [Don’t] be afraid of a colour combination because you think it is too extreme or hifalutin. It probably isn’t at all. And it won’t cost a
cent more than a dull one.

3. Be Open-Minded. Muddy-coloured walls are nothing but a blight. So are undecided colours that compromise between…two blues until they become neither sea, sky nor good old cornflower. There should never be any doubt about what your colour has to say.



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Lifestyle
Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?
By DEMETRIA GALLEGOS 28/05/2024
Lifestyle
How an Ex-Teacher Turned a Tiny Pension Into a Giant-Killer
By MATT WIRZ 27/05/2024
Lifestyle
The Problem With Behavioural Nudges
By Evan Polman and Sam J. Maglio 27/05/2024
Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

By DEMETRIA GALLEGOS
Tue, May 28, 2024 4 min

We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

But the price of that could be that we have to share more of our medical information. After all, researchers can’t collect large amounts of data if people aren’t willing to part with that data.

We wanted to see where our readers stand on the balance of privacy versus public-health gains as part of our series on ethical dilemmas created by the advent of AI.

Here are the questions we posed…

AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).

Postmortem

People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Lifestyle
Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?
By DEMETRIA GALLEGOS 28/05/2024
Lifestyle
How an Ex-Teacher Turned a Tiny Pension Into a Giant-Killer
By MATT WIRZ 27/05/2024
Lifestyle
The Problem With Behavioural Nudges
By Evan Polman and Sam J. Maglio 27/05/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop