The Greenbrier’s legendary designer passes away

The Greenbrier’s legendary interior designer Carleton Varney has passed away.
The Greenbrier’s legendary interior designer Carleton Varney has passed away.(wvva)
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT
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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (WVVA) - The Greenbrier’s legendary interior designer Carleton Varney has passed away.

Varney, along with his former mentor, Dorothy Draper, is the man behind the bright colors and patterns seen all across America’s Resort, including the new Chapel.

As a young man, Varney learned from Dorothy Draper, one of the most well known interior designers in the world. She was charged with the hotel’s redesign after serving as a hospital during World War II.

Varney took over her work and as head of her company in the 1960s.

“For sixty years, he’s been responsible for the look of The Greenbrier from the carpet to the drapes to the uniforms worn by staff. Pretty much everywhere you turn has Carleton’s footprint,” said Cam Huffman, Dir. of Public Relations.

The designer believed in mixing bright colors with beautiful patterns; a distinct style that’s replicated around the world. Black and white tiled flooring is also a hallmark of the duo.

“He believed color brought cheer to people. When you see it, it brings a smile to your face and that’s what he was all about. He did that in his design and it has kept people coming back year after year,” said Huffman.

The hotel also named a bar and cafe after the designer with pictures of Varney featured in the decor.

The hotel’s Interior Projects Mgr., Merriweather Franklin, has known Varney since she was a child and worked with the designer over the last six years.

“He would always say that Dorothy would say show me nothing that looks like gravy. No beiges. No greys or anything like that,” said said.

He worked with Hollywood starlets and politicians around the world. But at The Greenbrier, he will be forever remembered as a friend.

“He would always send something on any occasion. It didn’t even have to be an occasion,” said Franklin. “He loved everyone and made sure that those around him felt it too.”

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