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The Great Lady Decorators (1870-1955)

Mixing gorgeous interiors with sparkling social history, The Great Lady Decorators is the first book to collectively honor “the women who defined interior design” – those visionary women whose work gave us the timeless, essential principles of modern interior decorating.

In 1904, Elsie de Wolfe was given a contract to design the interiors of the Colony Club in New York City. Their success launched de Wolfe’s career and the entire field of professional interior decoration. Want to learn more about Elsie? Architectural Digest wrote a great online article about her here.

De Wolfe restored the interiors of Villa Trianon at Versailles after years of vacancy and lived there herself from 1915-1950.

Soon other women followed in de Wolfe’s design footsteps, known collectively (for their privileged backgrounds) as the Great Lady Decorators. This book focuses on the extraordinary, glamorous interiors of these influential designers, as well as their decorating theory and maxims, from Rose Cumming’s electric color combinations (“Parrots are blue and green. Why shouldn’t fabric be?”) to Nancy Lancaster’s refined English-country-house look (“She liked for the sun to get to materials. She wanted them to go shabby and live a life of their own.”).

Rose Cumming’s textile design.

Nancy Lancaster’s sitting room.

A witty and readable treatise on the principles of decorating, as well as a luxurious visual resource, The Great Lady Decorators will be an essential addition to every decorating library. Also featured are interiors by Dorothy Draper, Elsie Cobb Wilson, Ruby Ross Wood, Frances Elkins, Eleanor Brown, Sister Parish, Syrie Maugham and Madeleine Castaing.

The famous Dorthy Draper, who established the first interior design business in the United States.
The home of Sister Parish.
This book is on the top of my list.
Happy Reading!


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