Monday, January 21, 2013

Interior Design for the First Families

What would you take if you had to leave your present home for four years? It is 
interesting to see what the different Presidential families have done to make 
the White House their home. On this eve of the Presidential Inauguration, 
here is a look back at our past first families and the rooms of the White House.

*I apologize for the large number of pictures. I tried to eliminate some, but I couldn't decide who should 
stay and who should go!

Mamie Eisenhower (President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1961) poses in the 
White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

First Lady Jackie Kennedy (President John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963) visits with 
 representatives from the National Heart Association. She is shown here 
with Donna and Debbie Horst, the Heart Fund Twins, who had heart 
surgery in 1951. 

Jackie Kennedy's First Lady's Bedroom—which she wanted to be “the same as it 
was in Georgetown” was  done by Sister Parish. The decorator chose the 
daisy-motif draperies and helped her place the Chinese porcelains.

Jacqueline Kennedy wished for the West Sitting Hall to also resemble her Georgetown living room. She and Sister Parish devised an informal conversation area near 
the window.

The Queen's Sitting Room was furnished while Jackie Kennedy was in the white 
house. She approved the blue and white fabric that was used. The 19th century 
Aubusson rug was added in 1971.

Claudia "Lady Bird" (President Lyndon Baines Johnson 1963-1969) twirls 
in her formal gown.

LBJ dances with Carol Channing at a White House ball. 

First Lady Rosalynn Carter (President Jimmy Carter, 1977 -1981) tours the White
House Christmas Decorations with her grandchildren.

First Lady Nancy Reagan (President Ronald Reagan, 1981- 1989) whose signature 
color is red, is shown in the Red Room. 

The Reagans brought furnishings from their California residence and they 
were used in the West sitting Hall. The Reagans used this as their living room.

Nancy Reagan acquired the mirror over the fireplace and the 18th century day bed  
 to use with existing White House furniture for her office. 

President Reagan's study is off the family bedroom. He used this space on evenings 
and weekends. He brought to the White House his own partners desk and pre-
Colombian sculpture. 

Nancy Reagan's dressing room  has a portrait by Paul Clemens of her and her
daughter, Patti. The interior designer during the Reagan era was Ted Graber. 

The above bedroom is know as the Queens' Bedroom. This is where Queen 
Elizabeth II (United Kingdom ) Queen Sofia (Spain), and Queen Sonja (Norway), 
stayed during their visits to the White House. The armchair, bed coverings,
draperies are all silk by Scalamandre.

First Lady Barbara Bush (George H. W. Bush 1989-1993) posed with Millie while she
creates a paw print for her Christmas card in the China room.

Throughout his presidency, Bill Clinton (1993-2001) often serenaded his guest 
with his saxophone. He preformed for foreign heads of state and jammed
with contemporary musicians. 

Laura Bush and George W. Bush (2001 - 2009) are shown seated in the Green
Drawing Room. Laura Bush worked with Fort Worth, Texas, designer Kenneth 

The above pictures of the Oval Office were during the Bush (2001- 2009) era. 
Queen Victoria commissioned the desk, crafted from timbers from the HMS 
Resoluteand gave it to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. Since then, all but a few 
presidents have used it. Each president personalizes the Oval Office, changing 
the draperies, upholstery fabrics and palette and including mementos and 
artwork with special meaning.

In the Cabinet Room, the bowed ends of the new rug, from Edward Fields, 
echo the curve of the north and south walls. Drapery fabric, Scalamandré. 
Pendant fixtures are from Gibson & Gibson.

Laura Bush is shown in the East Sitting Hall with Willie the cat!

Formerly a laundry area, a waiting room and a storage room during its history, 
the Library was converted to its present use in 1935 to house the White House’s permanent collection of books. In 2006 Laura Bush redesigned this space.

Harry Truman suggested turning Lincoln’s former office and cabinet room into 
a bedroom with furnishings associated with the family. In 2004, Laura Bush 
and her designer used  documentary evidence from the period to redesign this
area. Bed hanging satins, the trim and drapery silk, tassels and tiebacks are by Scalamandré.

The Palm Room is sometimes referred to as the West Garden Room. You can access 
the West Wing and the Rose Garden from the Palm Room. 

The Vermeil Room serves as the sitting room during formal occasions. Portraits
of first ladies Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson are on display. It is
called the Vermeil Room because of the collections of vermeil and gilt silver
that are displayed here.

First Lady Michelle Obama (President Barack Obama, 2009 - present)  is show 
conducting a tour in the White House Kitchen. 

Bo, the first dog, takes Barack Obama for a walk through the President's 
private residence.

Obama with his daughters, Sasha and Malia, are shown in the Treaty Room.

This ends our behind the scene tour of the White House. If you would like
to read more and see more pictures, here are some links you might enjoy 
for the following articles. 
First Ladies, Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy Reagan
At Home with History in the White House
At Home with Presidential Families


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