There are three main parts to The White House –the public rooms that anyone can take a tour of (I think you need to write your Congressman), the West Wing, where the Oval Office is (I was thrilled to get a private tour from someone inside the administration who had bought my work) and the private quarters that we only get to see fake versions of in TV shows like House of Cards.
But my old pal, photographer Michael Mundy, got to, not just to see –but to photograph– the real thing for Architectural Digest. The private quarters were decorated by Michael S. Smith for the Obamas, and, now we’ll have a new POTUS in days, these pics give us full access to how stylishly they’ve been living the past 8 years. Mayer Rus writes,
Michelle and Barack Obama’s emendations to the White House speak volumes about the sea change in American culture the two have championed for the past eight years. Adorned with an unprecedented array of 20th- and 21st-century artworks, their private quarters remain an oasis of civility and, yes, refined taste in a political arena so often bereft of both.
“Because of Michael Smith, the private residence of the White House has not only reflected our taste but also upheld the proud history of this building. Above all, it has truly felt like a home for our family,” says Mrs. Obama in praise of the Los Angeles–based decorator, who has collaborated closely with the First Family during their tenure in Washington, D.C. Smith returns the compliment by describing his work as a response to the First Lady’s progressive spirit: “Mrs. Obama often talks about bringing new voices into the national conversation, and that idea informed many of the decisions we made,” he says. “We selected artists and designers who would never have appeared in the White House before.”
Smith was introduced to the Obamas by a mutual friend in Chicago following the 2008 election. “They were unbelievably charming, gracious, and thoughtful, and those qualities were reflected in the design of their home,” the decorator says. “It was very welcoming and comfortable, with books everywhere, and I immediately grasped the spirit of their family.”
With less than two months to make plans before the Obamas moved into the White House, Smith had to hustle. “The number one priority for the First Lady was getting Malia’s and Sasha’s rooms and her mother’s room set up,” explains Melissa Winter, who is the deputy assistant to the President and senior adviser to the First Lady. “The most important thing was ensuring the comfort and happiness of her family.”
Check out more pics and the full article here.
Can I brag for just a minute? Michael has photographed MY house too for, DVeight, the magazine about upstate New York he created with his wife, Nhi. You can see that story here. It used to be a barn, so it’s not exactly the WHITE house.
(Photos, Michael Mundy; via Architectural Digest)