New book includes some decorating the White House by Melania Trump


During her husband’s four years in office, Melania Trump and her interior designer Tham Kanalikham declined interviews and photographic requests about decorating the second-floor rooms and neighborhoods of the White House. But photos in the new 60th anniversary edition of “The White House: Historic Evidence” reveal that there’s been plenty of evaporation, soothing, and gilding upstairs.

All presidential families are leaving their mark on the White House, though they don’t know how long their design changes will stay in place. The 26th edition of the official guide — published by the White House Historical Society, which funds much of the renovation — came out on July 28, the birthday of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. She nurtured the idea of ​​the White House as a living museum and photographed the guide in 1962 to provide visitors with a comprehensive reference guide to it.

This version includes photos of rooms from a number of departments, such as Laura Bush’s recreation of a Lincoln bedroom with designer Ken Blassingame and the Treaty Room designed by Michael S. Smith to the Obama family. It also includes fold-out pages of the green, blue, and red rooms, 12 First Lady’s comments about living in the historic spaces, and a first look at the many second-floor rooms decorated during the Trump era.

The “First Lady” was recreated over 100 years of the interiors of the White House

While Melania Trump’s efforts to preserve the historic public rooms, such as the Blue Room and the Red Room, and restore the famous Rose Garden have been well documented in the press, she and Canalekham have remained silent about what they did upstairs.

Although the rooms were photographed last fall during the Biden administration, the images of the yellow oval room and upstairs Center Hall reflect design work done under Trump, Kanalikham’s office confirmed. The Center Hall, which runs the length of the house, is lined with artwork.

The yellow, oval room, where the president throws small receptions and greets guests of honor before state dinner, appears to have a mix of antiques from the White House collections, along with heavy-patterned sofas with plenty of new pillows and curtains. A rug was woven for the large room. According to Stewart D. MacLaurin, president of the White House Historical Society, “The rug is an American-made rug that we funded to go to this place. Mrs. Trump was very involved in the style and design of this rug, which includes roses, blue ribbons, a yellow frame, and trellis motifs that go around the perimeter of the rug.”

Betty Monkman, a former White House Secretary, also spotted 18th-century French tables acquired during the Kennedy administration and gilded candlesticks that were a gift from Britain. “I think the room still kept style,” Monkman says.

The Queen’s Bedroom, one of the two main guest suites for VIP visitors, was completely redesigned by Melania Trump and Canalekham. The previously deep salmon walls are now a faded shade, and there’s a light rug with a floral border. A gilded bed with elaborate hangings replaces the carved wooden four-poster bed believed to have belonged to Andrew Jackson, which has been in the room for decades.

“I don’t know this new bed from the White House collection,” Monkman says. “The hangings have a kind of French feel, and if you look at old photos of Jackie Kennedy’s bedroom in the White House, you’ll find this kind of French crown with a similar hanging. Removing the heavy four-poster bed gives the room a lighter, feminine look.”

In an email, Kannalikham did not share details about the furnishings used in the upstairs rooms, but did say this about the project.

“By designing the interiors, whether public rooms or private quarters, First Lady Melania Trump and I had a very similar vision with the goal of integrating design elements that convey absolute respect for the home and what it represents. We worked closely on every aspect, putting in a great deal of time and effort in research and careful consideration in the final determinations. In every decision, I was aware of how important it was to the overall effect on the heritage of the House of the People.”

She continued, “We have also put a lot of emphasis on creating interiors that convey feminine strength, incorporating softer colors such as pastel pink, cream and soft blue with a classic texture to accentuate this. It was important that the design honors the legacy of all First Ladies and the strength of the American woman.” Floral details The subtleties involved in remodeling the rug in the yellow oval room is an example of how this idea can be incorporated into interiors.”

The guidebook ($22.95) is constantly updated and sold through the White House Historical Society, a private non-profit organization that funds the majority of restoration work, preservation and acquisition of new items in the executive mansion. It offers a tour of each room indoors and a walking tour outside. It sometimes includes room photos from several departments to show how their style and use have changed. In the foreground, there is a message from the current first lady. New editions are published when there is a new administration, or when something important is restored or acquired by the White House, according to Marcia Anderson, chief publication officer for the White House Historical Society.

A photo of President Biden’s Oval Office is also included in the guide. Although Biden has not officially chosen a designer for the White House, last February, Jill Biden named Mark D. Sykes to be the designer of her East Wing office. The office of the first lady confirmed Thursday that the design had been completed. But she won’t comment on whether Biden changed upstairs rooms or how they changed any existing decorating projects. McClaren says the association has worked on White House renovation projects with Jill Biden and the White House Secretary and that the first lady is “very interested in working at home.”

In her introduction to this guide, Jill Biden wrote: “Room after room, with marble shelves and timeless portraits, in the luster of crystal and draperies, the White House tells the story of America’s history.” “As an educator, I hope this book will inspire your curiosity to learn more about Presidents and First Families”

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