Born in wealth, Dorothy Draper was the first woman establish and interior design firm in 1923, which up to then was unheard of. She was one of the first women to imerse herself into the construction industry (which is still ) a male dominated industry. Her extensive travel in Europe added something new and fresh to American design. Her style was shockingly bold, and to many considerd gaudy as she infused much of the European baroque styles in her designs. While some considered her designs over-the-top, others adored her style. She was known for reinventing baroque by painting heavy plaster moldings with bright whites and powerful colors. She used vibrant, “splashy” colors that showcased an array of pastels such as turquoise, baby blues, and pink which hadn't been used in a professional setting before.
Her husband happened to be the doctor of the President of the United States at that time, which opened the doors for her. She was hired to redecorate New York's Hotel Carlyle, and over the years she makeover New York's Hampshire House, World's Fair Terrace Club, and Maison Coty; Chicago's Drake Hotel's Camelia House, Washington's Mayflower Hotel; and Hollywood's Arrowhead Springs Hotel; West Virginia's Greenbrier.
Today her furniture is as fresh as it was back then. Her black polished chest for Heritage’s España Collection was revived when it was seen on Sex and the City in the scene of the movie editor's office. The black Dorothy Draper chest has three drawers with three brass ring drawer pulls. The chest is typically seen with a high polish lacquer, but also has been seen in white, green and red. Dorothy Draper originally designed these chests to be used as room dividers. The chest has been shown on page 178 in “In the Pink,” by Carleton Varney.