Interior Design — Behind the Scenes at The White House
“No matter who you are in the world and whatever your own aesthetic and style, there is something extra humbling about the White House. It has so much history that occurred in that building. You’re kind of haunted by that and it’s wonderful. You’re conscious. If you move a chair or change a curtain, you’re adding your own stamp and the first family’s to a profoundly documented place of American history.” So said designer Michael Smith, who redecorated the Obama private apartment and the Oval Office.
Mrs. Trump has chosen Tham Kannalikham, an extremely private designer from New York. It is hard to know her aesthetic because her webpage and all social media accounts are private and require a login. However, she is known to be passionate about historical and classical architecture. Although President Trump is known for his love of Gold and over-the-top interiors, he has repeatedly said that he will not be making changes to the historic nature of the house.
The White House Curator’s office, and the committee for the Preservation of the White House, are tasked with preserving the museum quality of the public spaces. The first floor, known as the State Floor, and the ground floor which includes the State Dining Room, the Green Room, and the Blue Room, cannot be changed by the President.
No matter the designer, there are a few do’s and don’ts that are always in place when decorating in the White House.
Here’s what can NOT be done:
-Change the color of the yellow oval room (although it can be redecorated)
-Change the Queen’s Suite from rose tones.
-Redecorate The Lincoln Bedroom
-Make sweeping structural changes
However, the President and First Lady CAN do the following:
-Select a designer of their choosing
-Use $100,000 of public money per term for decorative purposes that do not fall under the office of Curator
-Pull from a vast warehouse of previously used antiques, furniture and artwork
-Make unique additions: President Kennedy added a swimming pool and President Obama adapted the tennis court to be a basketball court.
-Petition the White House Historical Association for funds to acquire unique, fine and decorative arts that are needed for the State and Formal areas
Read more about President Obama’s White House interior design process and take a tour before it changes with Architectural Digest. We’re looking forward to keeping track of what design changes the Trump family makes this year and how Tham Kannalikham will leave her historical mark on the aesthetic of the White House.