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The woman who helped usher the interior design industry into full flower in the United States was prolific in putting out ideas that will help freshen up today's interior design business. Look at our latest Designer Monthly, Interior Design: Look Forward by Looking Back to Dorothy Draper.

Did you ever have a problem designing small spaces?  Take a look at how top interior designers solved this common problem in our latest Designer Monthly, How to Design Small Spaces at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.





Entries in weekend getaway (2)


Weekend Getaway: Sunnyside on the Hudson

Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Why visit Sunnyside? If you’re looking for a bucolic retreat that’s only a short scenic drive by the Hudson River from Manhattan, then Sunnyside is a beautiful destination.  But don’t just come for the scenery; visit Sunnyside because it’s also the home of writer, Washington Irving. You may remember his chilling stories around Halloween – of headless horsemen and the time-travelling Rip Van Winkle. 

As a teen, Washington Irving went to live in the Hudson Valley area to escape a yellow fever outbreak in New York City.  In Tarrytown, he discovered the old Dutch ghost stories that eventually became the basis for his stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle



Irving later traveled extensively throughout Europe, living in England, Germany, France, and Spain.  While he was in Spain, he received access to the Spanish archives, and as a result he was able to write a biography of Christopher Columbus and stories of Granada’s old Moorish palace, the Alhambra. Due to his book of the Alhambra, Irving was able to raise awareness of the deterioration of the palace and consequently managed to save the palace from decay. 


Lions Court at the Alhambra

Irving came back to the Hudson Valley and began work on his home. Sunnyside started out as a simple cottage and grew to incorporate Irving’s interpretations of Scottish Gothic Revival architecture and Spanish monastic buildings. Much of the house’s original interior design and furnishings is still intact.  Irving’s study, where he wrote his books, remains the same and in good condition.

Irving's study at Sunnyside

A 19th-century costumed guide will give you a lively tour of the house and the grounds – which also include an ice-house and a Spanish tower. And when you're done touring Irving's house, take a walk through his estate. His house overlooks the Hudson and commands stunning views. 

Hudson River Valley 

Interested in learning more about architectural history?  Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design.  At Sheffield, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.



Weekend Getaway: Visiting Winterthur


Looking for a weekend trip idea?  Why not combine a weekend getaway with a little interior design education?  Winterthur is a beautiful 19th century home of the du Pont family located in the picturesque Brandywine Valley region of Pennsylvania and Delaware.  What’s even more special about Winterthur is that it houses the largest collection of American period furniture and decorative arts and it is open to the public.

Period furniture, courtesy of Winterthur

Winterthur houses several galleries full of decorative objects such as ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture and paintings. The above photo shows exceptional examples of period furniture – including a Sheraton-style secretary, a Federal high chest of drawers, and a pie-crust tea table with a tilt top.   

Besides decorative objects, the mansion boasts of 175 rooms and several of them are decorated in authentic period furniture.  The Port Royal Parlor below is just one example. The parlor is full of Chippendale-style chairs, tea table, and high chest. 

Port Royal Parlor, courtesy of Winterthur

Besides beautiful interiors, Winterthur sits on a 60 acre estate filled with floral gardens, walkways, woods, and picnic spots. Don’t forget to include Winterthur in your weekend getaway plans!


Interested in learning more about the history of furniture periods?  Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design.  At Sheffield, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.