Glamorous Living - The Obama White House

On the eve of their departure, Architectural Digest's Obama White House edition is timed perfectly.  

Photos I'd seen previously mainly of the Oval Office didn't really do justice to the room's re-design, making it look a dull beige and brown. By contrast, Architectural Digest's richly detailed photo-spread shows us the Los Angeles based interior designer Michael S. Smith's considerable skills, creating a sophisticated yet restrained interior redesign of the public spaces and the family's private living quarters to suit the President and First Lady's refined and elegant sensibilities. I thought he did a great job of balancing living in glamourous style while preserving the historical context of the White House.

I've included photos of interiors decorated for some of the former presidents to compare with the current transformation for President Obama and his family.

The family dining room

The family dining room

The floor plan

The floor plan

The central hall as decorated for Former President George W & Laura Bush in 1991

The central hall as decorated for Former President George W & Laura Bush in 1991

The central hall as decorated for President Obama and First Lady...the Bush decor had an Asian influence, while the Obama decor has an English country house feel..the center table and chandelier are present in both decors

The central hall as decorated for President Obama and First Lady...the Bush decor had an Asian influence, while the Obama decor has an English country house feel..the center table and chandelier are present in both decors

The Bush Family dining room - furnishings look like a mix of Chippendale, Sheraton and Empire pieces

The Bush Family dining room - furnishings look like a mix of Chippendale, Sheraton and Empire pieces

The Obama family dining room - they certainly went bold with the wallpaper and it's nice to see how successfully the chandelier works in both decor iterations

The Obama family dining room - they certainly went bold with the wallpaper and it's nice to see how successfully the chandelier works in both decor iterations

A dynamic Robert Mangold artwork offsets the formality of the circa 1800s antique sideboard

A dynamic Robert Mangold artwork offsets the formality of the circa 1800s antique sideboard

First Lady Michelle strikes a pose in her Carolina Herrera gown, one of her best looks by the way, while chatting with I think Fançois Hollande, President of France in the Yellow Oval Room

First Lady Michelle strikes a pose in her Carolina Herrera gown, one of her best looks by the way, while chatting with I think Fançois Hollande, President of France in the Yellow Oval Room

Another view of the Yellow Oval Room highlighting the beautiful desk upon which the Camp David peace accords of 1978 were signed.  While the decor is formal the greens, rust and yellows picked up from the exquisite Oushak rug make this a very gracious and inviting sitting room

Another view of the Yellow Oval Room highlighting the beautiful desk upon which the Camp David peace accords of 1978 were signed.  While the decor is formal the greens, rust and yellows picked up from the exquisite Oushak rug make this a very gracious and inviting sitting room

Mrs Laura Bush entertaining guests in the Yellow Oval Room...historically this room's always been yellow - the two coffee tables seem a little out of scale in the room

Mrs Laura Bush entertaining guests in the Yellow Oval Room...historically this room's always been yellow - the two coffee tables seem a little out of scale in the room

The yellow Oval Room of the Obamas - looks like a completely different room although most of the furniture was kept and reused from the earlier Bush decor - the positioning of these two coffee tables does make the room look more spacious 

The yellow Oval Room of the Obamas - looks like a completely different room although most of the furniture was kept and reused from the earlier Bush decor - the positioning of these two coffee tables does make the room look more spacious 

Former President Bush's Treaty Room - the desk which has been in the White House since 1869 and artwork remained in President Obama's Treaty Room

Former President Bush's Treaty Room - the desk which has been in the White House since 1869 and artwork remained in President Obama's Treaty Room

President Obama's Treaty Room doubles as his night office and a family room - I'm certainly gonna miss this family!

President Obama's Treaty Room doubles as his night office and a family room - I'm certainly gonna miss this family!

The Obama Treaty Room - loving those leather armchairs 

The Obama Treaty Room - loving those leather armchairs 

A close-up of the Larsen Abaca custom-stenciled wall covering - beautifully rendered

A close-up of the Larsen Abaca custom-stenciled wall covering - beautifully rendered

Apparently there are no photos of either the Bush or Clinton bedrooms - so here's the Reagan bedroom instead for comparison

Apparently there are no photos of either the Bush or Clinton bedrooms - so here's the Reagan bedroom instead for comparison

The Obama bedroom - these two rooms couldn't be more different, although the chandelier remains the same in both...I'm not usually a fan of antique canopy beds but this one's so beautiful who could possibly resist it - understated luxury indeed

The Obama bedroom - these two rooms couldn't be more different, although the chandelier remains the same in both...I'm not usually a fan of antique canopy beds but this one's so beautiful who could possibly resist it - understated luxury indeed

Quite an outstanding crystal chandelier

Quite an outstanding crystal chandelier

The Obama sitting room - again with the brown, yellow and green color palette...the Yellow Oval Room, master bedroom and sitting room are all near each other, which accounts for the complementary color scheme...Glen Ligon's Black Like Me #2 hangs on the right wall

The Obama sitting room - again with the brown, yellow and green color palette...the Yellow Oval Room, master bedroom and sitting room are all near each other, which accounts for the complementary color scheme...Glen Ligon's Black Like Me #2 hangs on the right wall

Love this painting by Sean Scully - the pops of color coordinate fabulously well with the fabrics and rug...the lamp and side table are like pieces of sculpture too

Love this painting by Sean Scully - the pops of color coordinate fabulously well with the fabrics and rug...the lamp and side table are like pieces of sculpture too

The Bush Dining room - a very elegant room and exactly the decor I'd expect to see in the White House

The Bush Dining room - a very elegant room and exactly the decor I'd expect to see in the White House

The State Floor's Old family dining room was the Bush family dining room - located on the first floor not the private family floor...the colors are a little too muted for me although the splendid artworks by Robert Rauschenberg, left and Alma Thomas brings it all together 

The State Floor's Old family dining room was the Bush family dining room - located on the first floor not the private family floor...the colors are a little too muted for me although the splendid artworks by Robert Rauschenberg, left and Alma Thomas brings it all together 

The President's place setting for luncheon using the classically designed Obama State China Service chosen by Michelle Obama in collaboration with Michael Smith and William Allman, the White House Curator

The President's place setting for luncheon using the classically designed Obama State China Service chosen by Michelle Obama in collaboration with Michael Smith and William Allman, the White House Curator

Although classical in design the Obama china service has embraced the more contemporary influence of a mix-and-match 11-piece place settings...made by Pickard China of Antioch, Illinois, the First Lady's home state

Although classical in design the Obama china service has embraced the more contemporary influence of a mix-and-match 11-piece place settings...made by Pickard China of Antioch, Illinois, the First Lady's home state

Another view of the State Floor's old dining room - not a fan of this rug

Another view of the State Floor's old dining room - not a fan of this rug

Thought I'd  include a room decorated during former President Clinton's reign - Their State Dining Room

Thought I'd  include a room decorated during former President Clinton's reign - Their State Dining Room

The Obama State Dining Room - both share the same chandelier and white walls...this is a room that would show best when occupied with convivial dining guests 

The Obama State Dining Room - both share the same chandelier and white walls...this is a room that would show best when occupied with convivial dining guests 

The Solarium or sky parlor of the George W Bush family situated on the third floor at the top of the White House - a pretty room that's timeless

The Solarium or sky parlor of the George W Bush family situated on the third floor at the top of the White House - a pretty room that's timeless

The Obama solarium or sky parlor - this is a lovely room and is certainly the most relaxed of all - beautiful view too

The Obama solarium or sky parlor - this is a lovely room and is certainly the most relaxed of all - beautiful view too