All presidential families will make their mark on the White House, although they don’t know how long their design changes will last. The 26th edition of the official guide — published by the White House Historical Society, which funded much of the renovation — was released on July 28, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s birthday. In 1962, she turned the White House into a living museum and conceived this guide as a comprehensive reference guide for visitors.
This edition includes room images from various government departments, such as the Lincoln Bedroom reworked by Laura Bush and designer Ken Blasingame and Michael S. Smith’s work for Obama Decorated Treaty Room. It also includes a foldout of green, blue and red rooms, comments from 12 first ladies on living in historic spaces, and preliminary displays of several second-floor rooms decorated in the Trump era.
‘First Lady’ rebuilds over 100 years of White House interior
While Melania Trump’s conservation efforts in historic public rooms such as the Blue and Red Rooms and her redoing of the iconic Rose Garden are well-documented in the media, she and Kanner Likan remains mum about what they did upstairs.
Kannalikham’s office confirmed that while the rooms were taken during the Biden administration last fall, the images of the yellow oval room and the center lobby upstairs reflect the Trump family’s design work. A central hall that runs the length of the house is filled with art.
The yellow oval room, where the president holds small receptions and greets dignitaries before state dinners, appears to be a mix of antiques from the White House collection, heavier fringed sofas with lots of pillows and new swinging curtains. A custom rug was woven for the great room. According to Stewart D. McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Society, “The rug is an American-made rug that we funded for use in this field. Mrs. Trump was very involved in the style and design of this rug, which includes roses, blue ribbons, and surrounding rugs. Yellow border and plaid pattern around the perimeter.”
Former White House curator Betty Monkman also found an 18th-century French dining table purchased during the Kennedy administration and gilded candlesticks gifted by Britain. “I think the room still maintains its elegance,” Monkman said.
The Queen Bedroom is one of two main guest rooms for important visitors, completely reimagined by Melania Trump and Cannery Cam. The previously dark salmon walls are now paler, and there is a light rug with a floral border. A beautifully decorated gilded bed replaced a four-poster carved wooden bed believed to belong to Andrew Jackson, which had been in the room for decades.
“I didn’t recognize that new bed in the White House collection,” Monkman said. “There’s a French touch to these hangings, and if you look at old photos of Jackie Kennedy’s bedroom in the White House, you’ll see a similar hanging for this French crown. Take out the heavy four poster bed to make the room look better.” Lighter, more feminine.”
In an email, Kannalikham did not share details of the furniture used in the upstairs room, but had something to say about the project.
“When designing interiors, whether public rooms or private residences, First Lady Melania Trump and I had very similar visions, and the goal was to incorporate design elements that expressed the ultimate respect for the house and what it stands for. We Working closely on all fronts, investing a lot of time and effort into research, and carefully considering the final options. In each decision, I realize how important it is to the overall impact of the People’s House legacy.”
She continued: “We’re also very focused on creating interiors that convey female power, combining pastel colours such as soft pinks, creams and muted blues with classical structures to accentuate this.” The great thing is that the design honors the legacy of all First Ladies and the power of American women. The delicate floral details included in the rug redesign in the yellow oval room are an example of bringing this idea into the interior.”
The guide ($22.95) is continually updated and sold through the White House Historical Society, a private nonprofit that funds much of the administration building’s conservation efforts, preservation, and acquisition of new objects. It offers room-by-room tours of the interior and walking tours of the exterior. Sometimes it includes photos of the room from multiple administrations to show how its style and purpose have changed. On the front is a letter from the current first lady. Marcia Anderson, chief publishing officer for the White House Historical Society, said the new edition was published when a new administration was in office, or when the White House restored or acquired something important.
The guide also includes a photo of Biden’s Oval Office. Although the Bidens have not officially chosen a White House decorator, last February Jill Biden named Mark D. Sikes as the designer for his East Wing office. The first lady’s office confirmed Thursday that the design was complete. But it would not comment on whether or how the Bidens would change upstairs rooms or any current decorating projects. McLaren said the association worked with Jill Biden and White House curators on the White House renovation project, and the first lady was “very interested in fixing the house.”
“Room after room, in marble fireplaces and timeless portraits, in gleaming crystal and draped curtains, the White House tells a story of American history,” Jill Biden said in her introduction to this guide wrote. “As an educator, I hope this book will spark your curiosity and learn more about the President and the First Family.”