Got the blues for a facelift?

There's an op-ed piece in the NYT that discusses the politics around redecorating the public spaces within the White House.

Let's focus on the Blue Room. The room is used mainly for receptions, receiving lines, and occasionally used for intimate dinners. From the beginning, everyone had a different idea about how the Blue Room should be outfitted. It's fun to see how the designs have evolved over time.

First it was done up in classic revival, then French Empire style after the White House was rebuilt.
1856 Pierce administration
During Buchannan's presidency, it was refurnished in a Victorian style called Rococo Revival. Sorry, no color pics yet!
1862 Licoln's presidency
A journalist of the time wrote about the room:
"The furniture is of blue and silver satin damask; the woodwork of the chairs, sofas, etc., being solidly gilt, as also are the heavy cornices of the doors and windows; broad mirrors,, with massive frames, surmount the marble chimney-pieces, and a blue and white velvet carpet covers the floor. The ceiling is painted in fresco, in which blue is the prevailing tint, and the walls are covered with blue and gold hangings; in short, it is all so 'deeply, darkly, beautifully blue,' that one feels quite cerulean therein."(source)
President Johnson's daughter redecorated the room in geometric patterns, blue wallpaper with black and gold borders and velvet carpets


1903 Roosevelt's presidency

1904 During Roosevelt's presidency, the room is returned to an Empire style
1946 before Truman's renovations
1952 after Truman's renovations
1963 Jackie Kennedy's renovation
Story goes, Jackie Kennedy did a little political maneuvering to get permission and funding to spruce up the place when her family moved in.

Jackie was able to get Congress to pass legislation designating the White House a museum, complete with a curator. The Fine Arts Committee for the White House was installed to locate and raise money for the acquisition of 18th- and 19th-century furniture and art relating to the history of the presidency.

To cover herself, she called it a "restoration"and hired a figurehead authority on antiques to oversee the project. At the same time she turned around and hired herself a fancy French designer who was "historically minded rather than historically accurate." (source)
Tricky, eh?

1972 Nixon renovations
1999 Clinton renovations
The same committee that functioned largely as a charade for Mrs. Kennedy still operates today, to the White House’s detriment. (It’s now known as the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.) According to the piece, it's unfortunately mired in bureaucracy, weighed down with literalists who obey the mandate word for word.

I find it fascinating to see the changes that have evolved over time in the Blue Room. I wonder what we'll see next! What would you do to the Blue Room?

images source

thanks to
designhole for the tip!