This second Fabulous Rooms post is in response to the first (Living Room at Lyford Cay), wherein I solicited favorite rooms from readers. Paige Ward wins a nickel* for submitting the Victorian Writing Room at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. Originally decorated by the legendary Dorothy Draper and carried on today by her protege and business partner Carleton Varney, the room was once called the most photographed room in the United States.
Now here’s the funny thing: Paige is an old friend and a new blogger, and I was thinking this would be a good time to tell you about her blog, Seekers Bazaar because it is terrific and fun and colorful colorful colorful. So I go to her blog today and guess what she’s writing about: “The Mother of Color” – random musings on Dorothy Draper and Carleton Varney. Are we in the flow or what.
A while ago there was also a great post by John Loecke about the Greenbrier on Hotel Chic, a wonderful blog for the wander-ful.
Here’s an overall shot from outofhands.blogspot.com. I made the small image larger, so the fuzziness is my fault…
And from Sprezzatura Images…
By the way, what the hell is a sprezzatura? Sprezzatura (Italian pronunciation: [sprettsaˈtura]) is an Italian word originating from Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.” From Wikipedia, you’re welcome.
Safe to say the Victorian Writing Room was done almost without any sprezzatura about it. A carefully conceived and meticulously executed scheme is called for in a large formal room such as this, which is why it is a Fabulous Room. Also, green-and-red is always fabulous, as are its first cousins green-and-pink and sage-and-scarlet. I find myself returning to them again and again. Maybe because I was born in December. Big, floral chintzes are staging a comeback, quietly at present, but you just wait. They’re too happy and colorful not to, and that’s another part of the timeless appeal of this room. Of course for some, Carleton Varney, aka Mr. Color, among them, color and chintz are in the DNA.
My favorite image is this charming watercolor by Jeanne Brenneman, who lives and paints in West by God Virginia.
If you’re a Southerner you probably grew up hearing about the Greenbrier. If you’d like to hear more, here’s a clip from CBS Sunday Morning, which is about the best thing on television when Downton Abbey is off. And here are a few more photos from the Greenbrier’s own site.
Happy Mother’s Day, too.
So you know, there was no compensation for this post, from the Greenbrier or anyone else.
Now your turn: What is your favorite fabulous room in the world?
*Paige, would you like your nickel by cash, check, or wire transfer?