WHITE SULFUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (WVVA) – The Greenbrier’s legendary interior designer, Carleton Varney, has died.
Varney, along with his former mentor, Dorothy Draper, is the man behind the bright colors and patterns seen throughout the American complex, including the new chapel.
As a young man, Varney learned from Dorothy Draper, one of the world’s best-known interior designers. She was tasked with the overhaul of the hotel after serving as a hospital during World War II.
Varney resumed his job and ran his business in the 1960s.
“For sixty years he has been responsible for the appearance of the Greenbrier, from the carpeting to the curtains to the uniforms worn by the staff. Almost everywhere you turn, you have the Carleton stamp,” said Cam Huffman, director. public relations.
The designer believed in mixing bright colors with beautiful patterns; a distinct style that is replicated around the world. Black and white tiling is also a trademark of the duo.
“He believed that color brings joy to people. When you see it, it makes you smile and that’s what it was about. It did in its design and it kept people coming back year after year,” Huffman said.
The hotel also named a bar and cafe after the designer with photos of Varney in the decor.
The hotel’s interior projects manager, Merriweather Franklin, has known Varney since childhood and has worked with the designer for the past six years.
“He always said Dorothy said don’t show me anything that looks like sauce. No beige. No gray or anything like that,” said.
He has worked with Hollywood starlets and politicians around the world. But at the Greenbrier, he will forever be remembered as a friend.
“He was always sending something on any occasion. It didn’t even have to be an occasion,” Franklin said. “He loved everyone and made sure those around him felt it too.”
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