Betty Pepis: Interior Designer

Years ago, my friend Lisa gave me a copy of the most fabulous interior design book, with her own notes written on Post-its to increase the amusement some of the designs triggered, it was pure enjoyment! A couple of years later the two of us found a second copy while sifting through items in a thrift shop, so we each have a copy!

The book I am talking about is: Betty Pepis: interior decoration a to z.

This a to z decorating book is a joyous journey of interior design and it's all brought to us by a woman named Betty Pepis: Born in New York, raised in Tulsa, but returned to NYC to accommodate the Manhattanites with her design sense, and she was like no other. Also an editor and columnist for the New York Times she wrote about design and gave even more insight into dressing your home in style.

She looks like she means business, don't you think?

And like the book title tells us, Ms. Pepis gives us all her best on decorating subjects and ideas from A for Accessories to...OK, so it only goes to W for Wall Treatments.

I'm going to share with you some terrific photos, they really are some of the best!

Some of the notes given to me by Lisa I will coordinate with some of the photos.

Here's something Lisa called "Something out of a Doris Day movie" and I wholeheartedly agree!

Very sun-shiny! It's not noted but maybe this was C for Couch Covers or F for Floral. You can be sure that with couch covers like these you too can change your living room look with each change of season!

It was in the Mid 20th Century that we started to see varying contributions of interior design and and it was then that we too began more commonly using experts with design capabilities to enter our homes and businesses and welcomed their expert advice. And if you were living in New York, Betty was your gal!

With travel being more accessible, people were becoming more accustomed to a broader sense of design and home fashion, and with travel people were bringing items and ideas over from different parts of the world to have them collaborate with our own home furnishings and accessories. These new "worldly" looks added character and sophistication to our homes, and you can see how Betty coordinated these looks in her work!

A new expression of fashion came into our homes by way of woven tapestries, ceramics and hand crafted metal. Remember, A is for Accessories! These smaller items showed off more of an individual's personal taste. Accessories helped bring a more eclectic look! E for Eclectic!

Here's an example of a very eclectic room with it's colonial moldings, danish modern furniture and that rug! Like Lisa says "Someone mow the rug!" Indeed! My cat would get lost in that!

Here is an example from Betty's C is for Ceramic, as seen in these lamps and tiled table top:

I wish this photo was in color...

Well, let's get into some C is for Color now..and oh man there are some great ones:

That green looks like AstroTurf, and Holy Moly, those drapes!

Lisa's note for the one in the center here was "REDRUM" or RedRoom...get it? and for the one to the right she wrote "Motel 6", I agree.

Here are some more examples of Color:

There's really a lot going on here...Note the wallpaper in the dining room to the left was even on the ceiling!

Here are a few of my personal favorites: I really go for the design style we all call Mid Century (but this book was published in 1965 and so it was occurring in the Mid Century and so the term hadn't been born yet) and I also love Mod as well... well, you get it, I'm Mid Mod Flair! And some of that Flair is what we see here:

This last one here, above, has all the elements I so love,,, : H is for His and Her lounge chairs, ok, so I made that up, it's actually H for Hanging shelves, which I really DO love, then we have P is for plants, K is knick knacks (oh, do I love my knick knacks), F is for Fish, and Fans and P for Pendant lamps! I'm getting a little carried away with the alphabet.. Let's continue.. .

As with all decor ideas and implementations, some things looked better on paper:

Woah! (O for One Pattern look) where does the wall end and the bed begin?!?! So I suppose Betty couldn't always have her way, you never know how those New York socialites may have twisted her arm to get what they wanted. Or, was she just having an off day?... as Lisa put it "A Floral Explosion!"

But then, Betty redeems herself with theses gems!

That rug! (F for Floor Coverings) and that (G for) Gallery wall! and check out those stairs going up the side of that rock fireplace!! Whaaat?? now maybe Betty had something to do with this architectural design, maybe not... but I just had to point that out, and let's just give her the credit for it, shall we?

Now some of this above works for me and some does not. This, by the way, is under P for Pattern Placement, so at least the pattern did not get away from her in this room! I do like the Mod floral patterned shades! That chained up TV though! Pass the remote! or did they have to stand up on ladder to switch the channel??

M for Mondrian, I for Illuminated ceiling (which looks as tough it could have also worked under the category of M for Mondrian) and L for Laminate and that would account for the floor but let's just take a gander at that folding wall/room divider...F for Folding wall! R for Room divider! D for Delicious Design!! You get the picture...

and speaking of picture...let me just leave you with one more... I do have to leave you with a note of Caution... C for Caution! Friends, don't let friends use topiary wall paper!!

Yes, that's wall paper! This actually fell under the category of T for Treillage!

I hope you enjoyed this salute to Betty Pepis and her glorious design skills.

Betty left us just three years after this book was published in 1968, at the young age of 52, and was buried in Tulsa OK, where she grew up.

Thank you Betty for giving us these brilliant and beautiful images! Images that we have enjoyed for many years and will, for many more years to come!

Thank you for subscribing and return to take a peek at new art that coming soon here to my shop!

Angela at


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