Pictured in a group is Rachel Beach, Applied Design Program Coordinator; Karlea Elmo; Haven Cochran; Olivia Mckisic; Rachael Reneau; and Rudy Saunders, Design Director for Dorothy Draper & Company, Inc.


Fairmont, WV – Students in Pierpont Community and Technical College’s applied design program recently traveled to The Greenbrier Resort to attend the 8th Annual Dorothy Draper Decorating Weekend.

The event celebrates the life and legacy of late American designer Dorothy Draper. Draper is responsible for the iconic décor that fills West Virginia’s Greenbrier Resort, as well as the Carlyle Hotel and Hampshire House in New York City and the Camellia House Restaurant at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, among many others around the United States and beyond.

The experience offered attendees, like Pierpont applied design student Olivia Mckisic, a unique opportunity to create connections and build on design knowledge through workshops, historical tours, and presentations.

“This was my first time attending the Dorothy Draper Decorating Weekend and staying at The Greenbrier Resort,” said Mckisic. “I was able to converse and network with amazing designers who work there, as well as other people just as passionate about design as I am. It was a wonderful experience and pushed me outside of my comfort zone.”

Mckisic recommends the event to anyone interested in the history of Draper’s elegant, distinct designs. “This experience taught me more about design, such as how to be bold with patterns, make spaces cohesive but not matching, and what makes something a good design. I would tell anyone considering attending the event to do so – you will not regret it.”

Dorothy Draper & Company, Inc. was founded in 1925 by Draper and is America’s oldest continually operating interior design firm. Draper led the company from the 1920s through the 1960s before renowned American designer Carleton Varney took the helm in the 1970s. Varney, affectionately known to many as ‘Mr. Color’, upheld Draper’s timeless legacy until his passing in 2022. His son Sebastian now leads the iconic brand and was in attendance during the event to speak with the group.

“Sebastian Varney, accompanied by Dorothy Draper & Company Design Director Rudy Saunders and the Head of Design for Greenbrier Interiors Merriweather Franklin, welcomed our students warmly and invited them into extensive conversation,” said Applied Design Program Coordinator Rachel Beach.

Beach has attended the event several times and emphasizes the benefit to students. “The students have the opportunity to see the style of Dorothy Draper and Hollywood Regency, meet other designers and decorators, listen to industry speakers, network with other clientele, and experience a resort stay that adds to their understanding of hospitality design.”

Pierpont’s team joined over 120 individuals from across the country in celebrating Draper’s influential contributions to the interior design world. Her love for curating unique spaces that rejected all that was impractical, uncomfortable, or drab is still reflected in Dorothy Draper & Company’s mission today.