Monday, June 21, 2010

The White House Master Bedroom

I love watching the transformation of the White House master bedroom through the years. Haven’t seen what the Obamas have done to the joint yet, but I bet it’s pretty cool.

Here is the bedroom in 1893. Wow. Very austere, and somewhat odd placement of furniture. And separate beds!

Fast forward to 1911. Major overhaul here, with so much more light and grandeur. I love the mirror over the fireplace, which really anchors the room. I also like the differing colors inside vs. outside the mouldings. The sheer height of the ceiling requires some detail there, probably. Also notice the hodge-podge of pictures around the fireplace – sort of adds a homey feel to the otherwise fancy room. In any event, it does look like someone actually lives here now!

Another 45 years later, here we see the master bedroom in 1958. Yikes! This room isn’t doing much for me – the windows are totally covered, the furniture is very blah, and the matching curtains and bedspread look uninviting – starting to look like a bad hotel room. Wall color and carpet don’t do much either to help the cause.

Just a few years later, Jackie moves in. Jackie undertook a wholesale updating of the White House which must have been a total joy for her. Hard to express why this room “works” so much more than the picture from 1958, but it does, doesn’t it? Beautiful framed pictures over the fireplace, but in simple frames. None of the furniture matches, but it goes together in a comfortable way that is very livable. Note that he chandelier, chair in the corner, bedspread, corner chair, table lamps, curtains, and mats of the pictures over the fireplace all feature shares of teal, but not the exact same shade. The white walls actually work and brighten the place, and the rug is really extraordinary.

A feature that screams Jackie is the piles of books on the ottoman against the bed. And, of course, the professional sketch of young Caroline above the dresser.

Here we are in 1977 – Betty Ford on her way out the door on Jimmy Carter’s inauguration day. Well, a lot of the personal style seems to have given way to formality and again, the bad hotel room vibe. Goo.

The Reagan bedroom in 1981-1992 is a pleasant surprise. The walls are whimsical and make the room bright and sunny. The greenery really brings the room together in a nice way. Check out the two secret doors!

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