Wednesday, January 21

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

One of my favorite quotes of the year comes from ten-year-old Malia Obama, “I enjoy decorating. So I get to get this whole new room and do whatever I want!” Like most design junkies, I am anxiously awaiting to see the interior transformation of the White House family quarters. I, for one, was thrilled to hear that the California based interior designer Michael S. Smith was appointed to work with the new First Family.

Since the Truman administration, however, most presidents have engaged top New York design firms to transform the family quarters. Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower used Park Avenue decorator Dorothy Draper, John and Jacqueline Kennedy relied on society decorator Sister Parish, and George and Barbara Bush employed Mark Hampton, who had created Christmas displays at the White House for the Carters and Reagans.

White House curator Mrs. John Pearce, August 1961. Photo by Nina Leen

For both public and private spaces, the president's family can sort through first-rate spoils. There's a White House storage building filled with furniture and art, including over 500 sculptures, drawings, and paintings obtained as gifts or by previous White House curators. Some of the art stored includes the work of Norman Rockwell and Georgia O'Keeffe. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to rummage through all of the objets d'art!

So until we get a glimpse at the work of Michael Smith, I thought I would share a few more photos from First Families past. And, kudos to First Lady Michelle Obama, she has reportedly told the staff that Sasha and Malia will make their own beds and keep their rooms neat.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson at the White House, 1966. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lady Bird Johnson bowling with Patrick Nugent in a private alley in the Executive Office Building, 1966. Photo by Stan Wayman

White House Cook Zephyr Wright helping Lucy Johnson cook dinner for guests, 1966. Photo by Stan Wayman

Lucy Baines Johnson with pet beagle, 1966. Photo by Stan Wayman

First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy reading to her children, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy. Caroline wears a medieval costume dress and a headband, 1962. Photo John F. Kennedy Library/Getty Images

First Lady Jackie Kennedy lifting carton of silver with White House Curator Lorraine Pearce, 1961. Photo by Ed Clark

Mamie Eisenhower inspecting kitchen of the White House, 1958. Photo by Ed Clark

White House china collection, 1944. Photo by George Skadding


Laura said...

These are so wonderful. Who knew Lady Bird could bowl?

Tobi Fairley said...

Lovely post! Thanks for the glimpse in to history!

michelle said...

Michelle wants the kids to clean and keep their own rooms tidy? I like her more...if that's possible!

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Look at those muscles on Jackie!

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

I love this post. It's great to an insider look at President's past. I love seeing some of these first ladies get down and dirty and help with cleaning and such.

Katee said...

WOW, great photos Ronda!! I too am anxiously awaiting the remodeled white house. Can't wait to see it!

Kay said...

I love the photos; there's something inherently elegant about black and white

BeluB said...

Hi! Your blog is lovely. You know I love being creative and I also love suddenly to come up with and idea to redecorate a minoscolous spot of my bedroom. I think that is a way to show the passion for life we have.

Cote de Texas said...

I saw that too! isn't she so beautiful!!! how about this quote - the little was asked if this program was going to long and the older one said - The First African American president - it better be!!!!!!!! what a cutie.

Oh - I wish you were here - y'all need to move back now. you missed the best day in America ever ever ever omg- it was electric - it was all anyone was talking about - did you see her outfit, did you see them dance, etc etc - everyone was so happy!!!