Renowned decorator Dorothy Draper – a friend of New York governor and future US president Franklin Roosevelt – provided the original design scheme for the Gideon Putnam Hotel, a classically proportioned structure built during the Depression as part of the Saratoga Springs spa complex – and part of Roosevelt’s grand vision to be the first European style spa in the United States.
Draper refreshed the public spaces again in her signature style in 1953, using bold, saturated colors and geometric patterns. But in the decades that followed, much of Draper’s vision and point of view was diminished or lost.
The Gideon Putnam Sunroom was one of the spaces we addressed – a terrific, light-filled space used for small wedding receptions and business meetings but also a lovely public room that had the potential to be far more welcoming – and more true to Draper’s original design intent.First, we removed tired and unattractive carpet to reveal the bold black and white geometric floor design. Then – taking our color cues from the original floral watercolors, we had the pale blue walls re-coated in a more vibrant shade.
We emptied and repainted a pair of glass front bookcases that had become a repository for donated or abandoned books. We then used bright paper (also in colors pulled from those watercolors) to cover those forgotten books, then arranged them in the cases along with a variety of ceramic bird figurines that we found elsewhere in the hotel.
Finally, we slip-covered a pair of existing wingback chairs in a commercial grade, Draper-esque floral chintz, added gold-foil lined black paper shades to the chandelier (another Draper touch).