The Bushes may be on their way out, but they are leaving their mark on the White House.
Architectural Digest got a look at the residence's private rooms for its March 2008 issue. First lady Laura Bush began redecorating after President Bush took office in 2001, with consultation from the White House curatorial staff and Kenneth Blasingame, a Texas designer who had been involved in the interior design of the Bush ranch house in Crawford.
The first family modified their personal quarters and made interior design changes in several state rooms and two guest rooms located on the family floor.
One target of restoration was the Lincoln Bedroom - a historic room that gained fame in the Clinton administration amid allegations that Democrats were rewarding big donors such as Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand with accommodations there. The Bushes also allowed some of their biggest supporters to stay in the room.
In the bedroom's redesign, 'historically inappropriate' office furnishings were replaced with items more closely associated with Lincoln's era, including window cornices and mantel.
'I saw the pictures (of the Lincoln Bedroom) before and it's a big improvement. It's now more authentic,' said Architectural Digest contributing writer Gerald Clarke.
Other changes shown in the magazine include:
- Oval Office: The walls were repainted to an ecru color and the drapes are almost bronze. They added a rug affixed with the presidential seal in the middle with rays of the sun shooting off its center. For a personal touch, they hung portraits of the Bush home state of Texas.
- Green Room: Laura Bush and Blasingame worked with the White House curator, William Allman, and changed the wallcovering to a slightly darker shade of green for a more vibrant hue.
- The Library: The collection was updated in 2005, and the following year they repainted the walls to a cream color and replaced drapery valances with rods to make the room appear taller.
The White House Endowment, a financial arm of the White House Historical Association, pays the basic costs of White House redecoration. The group was founded in November 1961 at Jacqueline Kennedy's request.
Expect more design changes from the next administration, Clarke said: 'Because there are lots of people who come through it, the house gets a lot of wear."