Elegant fun is key
He wanted to create a stadium approach at the 18th green with viewing bleachers and skyboxes circling the green like a horseshoe.
"Not many courses end on a par 3 hole. I wanted to create extra excitement," he said. "Then I threw in the million dollars for a hole in one [on the 18th] to create pandemonium," he laughed.
Justice left the details of his vision to interior designers Carlton Varney and Brinsley Matthews. Varney is CEO of Dorothy Draper & Company and Matthews is director of design and operations.
"They put the gorgeous touches on everything," Justice said.
Those touches include details like tee boxes in the shape of the Greenbrier's ionic springhouse, red flags with a G on top of each sky box, a pattern of pink cursive G's on the table skirt fabric and even the plaid vests worn by the serving staff in the Chairman skybox.
Although all the skyboxes are decorated similarly, the others probably didn't come with guests like Arnold Palmer and Jerry West, who watched the play Thursday from Justice's skybox. Gov. Joe Manchin was a guest, as was the Greenbrier East High School girls basketball team, which is coached by Justice.
Justice retained Varney and Matthews in February to design the facilities and amenities for the Greenbrier Classic. The two had been on board since late fall to design Club Casino.
After they worked out the details and shook hands, "Mr. Justice said, "Let's start having fun," Matthews recalled.
"We fantasize first, then create and execute," said Matthews, explaining the process of design. "Our design philosophy is effect."
He's not sure, however, that everything would have come together so quickly if it weren't for the recession. Their vendors were eager for business and they delivered on deadline.
Inside the air-conditioned skyboxes are the staples of the Greenbrier look. All the ceilings are blue, the carpet is checkered in green and white rather than black and white. The colors are the traditional pinks, reds, greens and white.
"There is no beige on this property and will not be," Matthews said.
The green and white stripes used in the décor were inspired by the famous Ascot Racecourse in England.
Outside of the boxes are bleacher chairs covered in either green or white fabric with The Greenbrier name embroidered on each. In the rear of the skybox is a high, narrow table with bar stools, where the 6-foot-7 Justice was perched Thursday.
Everything is custom-designed, Matthews said; nothing was ordered out of a catalogue.
Some furnishings, however, were recycled. Chairs that had been in Draper's Café before it was relocated were used in the skyboxes. The white chandeliers in each skybox were taken from the long corridor to the hotel theater.
Greenbrier employees hid some items when the previous management sold off much of the hotel's furnishings.
"They were trying to rub Dorothy Draper out," Matthew said, referring to the legendary designer who gave The Greenbrier its colorful décor when the historic resort reopened after World War II.
Matthews said some on staff knew the significance of pieces in storage. "They hid pieces in the attic, basement, even under the floor boards," he said.
Justice, however, wanted The Greenbrier to be "Draperized," said Matthews.
Some ideas used came from the archives of the Dorothy Draper firm, which started in 1923. For instance, a decorative white wall structure behind the skybox bar is copied from one Draper had made for the Forest Inn on Long Island.
Justice realized, Matthew said, that old-fashion appearance gives The Greenbrier its uniqueness. "You have the wheel so there's no need to reinvent it."
Justice was asked if he was pleased with the designers' efforts.
"Just look at this," he replied, sweeping his arm out towards the 18th green.
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.