Decorator Carleton Varney, longtime Palm Beach Daily News columnist, dies

Poppy Slater

Editor’s note: This is an abbreviated version of a more in-depth obituary. The full version can be found here.


Palm Beach resident Carleton Varney, the internationally known interior designer whose “Your Family Decorator” column appeared for more than 40 years in the Palm Beach Daily News, died Thursday, July 14, 2022, at a hospital in Palm Beach Gardens. He was 85.  

Mr. Varney was nicknamed “Mr. Color,” thanks to his liberal use of what he called “happy colors” in his decorating projects.   

Mr. Varney was president of Dorothy Draper & Co., one of the country’s oldest interior design firms, which he bought in the mid-1960s after working at its office in New York City for several years. The firm was named for its founder, a pioneer in the decorating field and Mr. Varney’s mentor.

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Remembering the Life and Work of Decorator Carleton Varney

Courtesy Dorothy Draper & Co. Interior design legend Carleton Varney—known for a client list that ranged from Jimmy Carter to Joan Crawford, but perhaps best known for his work on the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia—passed away last night while traveling in Europe. He was 85. “Carleton Varney [is] an […]