First off, this is a design and lifestyle blog, not a political blog. I have no desire or intent to get political. Rather, my way of coping with this crazy election has been to retreat to my happy place of interiors and the people who inhabit them. I thought it would be fun to peek at the Obama White House décor and then take a look at the two candidates and what their “styles” reveal and how that would impact the vibe at Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Obamas hired the very talented Interior Designer, Michael Smith to work on the White House interiors. I’m guessing that after the Clinton’s were in the White House it was due for an update, and update they did!
I think the Obama’s added some spunk and style. They pushed the design envelope by adding contemporary art and elements (notice the area rug) with traditional furniture, most likely never done before in the White House. I appreciate how they took the traditional aspect of the White House but add their own spin on it. For example, the Guest Bedroom is classic but it also looks current.
Okay, if this is how you decorate when you can purchase just about anything you want, it says a lot about your sophistication level. I think even Liberace would be embarrassed to call this “home.” Bad taste is bad taste, but expensive bad taste is absolutely inexcusable!
If you can’t tell by now, I am not a fan of this style. The showy, over-the top and in-your-face style is way over done. Look at all the gold, crystals, marble and mirrors (notice the ceiling) - this is the opposite of elegant. This is a not a home of someone who wants to be a President, it looks like he wants to be an Emperor.
Do you think Trump’s style was influenced by the French King, Louis XIV? Otherwise known as the “Sun King.” Even Louis might have been a little bit lower key with his opulent overload.
It was harder to find interior images of the Clinton’s homes. This dining room photo is probably from the early 1990’s. The style is very traditional and looks a little dated to our eyes; yet, it does reflect a stately coziness. This is not flashy – I’m guessing the design goal here is to make visitors feel comfortable and give a good impression. Notice the painting of the mother with her child on her lap, nurturing. Recent images of Clinton’s interiors are a little more hip, but still on the safe and comfortable side. They are not the spaces of people taking design risks. If the Clinton’s moved back into the White House would they go all out traditional - taking the décor backward in style and modernity or would they mix it up?
Obviously compared to other issues in the world, the decor of the White House seems superficial. I’m a firm believer in our interior spaces reflecting who we are and what we most value, and that philosophy extends to the most important and public home of our country. The two extremes of the candidate’s spaces speaks to the extremes of our philosophies, desires and yes, overall décor in the country right now.
Whatever happens this coming week, I hope that we can represent the best of us and that the new tenant hires a talented and tasteful designer!!