Following the stylish lead of fellow Southerner George Washington, Southerners have been decorating their homes with the familiar floral fabric since at least 1759. Here, we trace the rise, fall, and resurgence of the South's favorite fabric.
Reflecting colonial America’s fondness for printed cottons, founding father and arbiter of taste George Washington purchased a set of chintz-upholstered bedroom furniture for his Virginia estate, Mount Vernon. According to the sales invoice, the English-made furniture was covered in “Chintz Blew plate Cotton,” which was a blue-and-white printed chintz.
The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, celebrated its grand reopening. Famously designed by Dorothy Draper (and recently refreshed by her protégé, Carleton Varney) the hotel’s interiors are a theatrical display of high-style decor, including black-and-white checkerboard floors, baroque plasterwork, and Draper’s signature Fudge Apron chintz, a classic rose-and-lily print.
The Chintz Bedroom of the White House was unveiled. Part of the massive White House refurbishment led by then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her Fine Arts Committee for the White House, this guest bedroom was decorated from floor to ceiling in a glazed, orange blossom-print chintz, thus earning the room its name.
Designing Women made its debut on CBS. Featuring the ladies of Sugarbaker and Associates, the show’s fictional Atlanta decorating firm, the sitcom was a weekly romp through now-classic 1980s style: big hair, big shoulder pads, and copious amounts of floral chintz.
In her own Palm Beach, Florida, home, interior designer, Brooke Huttig upholstered her streamlined Knole sofa and armchairs with a glazed blue chintz. The fabric’s blue background adds a cool contrast to the Florida heat. To complete the preppy Palm Beach look, Brooke anchored the seating arrangement with a pink cabana-stripe dhurrie rug and finished off the room with a collection of botanical- and sea-inspired accessories.
Designer Meg Braff adopted a classic American look for the guest bedroom of her Mississippi lake house. The room’s painted wicker furniture and plaid cotton rug are certainly charming, but the blowsy cabbage rose chintz used for curtains, upholstery, and bed skirt really steals the show.
One of Palm Beach, Florida’s most storied hotels (the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were guests) The Colony hotel got a makeover courtesy of designer Carleton Varney, aka “Mr. Color.” Using his splashy signature chintzes, Varney decorated the hotel’s interiors in a tropical bouquet of banana leaves, hibiscus, and bougainvillea.