Live Like This: The Greenbrier

[slideshow] Vibrant colors, floral patterns, large prints and neo-baroque style drench the vast Greenbrier resort (with more than 3.5 miles of hallways) in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. In fact, the bright, bold design by Dorothy Draper is part of what makes The Greenbrier so famous.

And in 2012, you too can design your own space in classic Draper style with a five-day (20-hour) decorating class from The Dorothy Draper School of Decorating. It’s being taught for the first time by Draper’s protégé, Carleton Varney, at the luxurious Greenbrier hotel. You’ll have two hours of in-class time in the morning and in the afternoon, and there will be plenty of time out of class to meet other interested designers and explore the resort.

The origin of The Greenbrier’s distinctive décor goes back to the original redecoration in the 1940s, when the hotel hired Draper to decorate the entire resort at a period when she was at the peak of her fame. She remained the resort’s decorator into the 1960s, and today, Carleton Varney continues to decorate the interior of the resort in Draper’s signature style. With the unique on-site class, you’ll learn to master the “Draper touch” and will be inspired to go back and decorate your own space with the tools you’ve picked up. Presentations to expect include: Creating the Wow Factor, Giving Your Room Personality, and Colors and Fabrics That Work. “We encourage students to bring their own floor plans, so you can work on designing your own personal space throughout the week,” says Joellen Kerr, director of design at Dorothy Draper and Company Inc. There are four five-day sessions to choose from, from February to June, and the class rings in at $5,000 (with a $1,000 advance deposit). Five-night packages at The Greenbrier are available from $1,847 to $2,642 (and include airport transfers from Lewisburg, breakfasts, lunches and group receptions). To take a closer look at the course syllabus and optional reading list, visit

 Photos courtesy of The Greenbrier

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