Green Room makeover

The Green Room has gotten new carpet and some reupholstered chairs, according to the Wa Po.

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17 thoughts on “Green Room makeover

  1. Looks like they retained the watered silk wall treatment and draperies, though a slightly different strength of colour……more pics please!!

  2. Well, I have a feeling that a new edition of “An Historic Guide” will be coming out soon. Try C-Span for video clips.

  3. Thanks to Derek for including the Kennedy-era shots of the Red and Green Rooms. I think that this particular shot of the Red Room is very good. The room looks so elegant- yet not too stilted. The addition of the bouillotte lamps, the antique dishes as ashtrays, and the Kennedy favorite country- chic flower arrangements do alot to enhance the room as a whole.
    Meanwhile in the Green Room of the same period…wasn’t it Boudin who stated that the room is full of legs- referring to all the delicate chairs and tables?
    What does everyone think? Would you rather see the return of some of the Kennedy furnishings, or retain the current Nixon/Conger acquisitions?
    For instance, I think that the current Nixon furniture arrangement in front of the Green Room fireplace is rather awkward looking. The two Sheraton settees of the Kennedy era looked better!
    In the Bush redo, I’m glad that they retained Jackie’s choice of the silk moire. Though very pretty, the wall covering seems more modern in its inspiration. Anyone care to give their opinion?
    I’m disappionted that the latest Green Room redo did not change the drapery design- something new and exciting!
    Isn’t it odd that Mrs. Onassis made no arrangements for items that perhaps should have gone to The White House? The marble obelisks that once graced the Red Room mantel, the infamous Bouvier desk, the bureau platte on which JFK signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and all those Louis XVI fauteils? Not a single thing!
    Lastly, can anyone state what were actual antiques in the Truman/Eisenhower Green and Red Rooms?

  4. I agree; if you’re going to publish an article about a redecorated room…show some pictures!

    That said, to answer Hunter’s question; hands down for me the Kennedy-era room and furnishings. I have never liked the Nixon-era furnishings (all due respect to Mrs. Nixon and Mr. Conger.) I loved Mrs. Bush’s description of the pink chairs as ‘insipid.” I agree! I never liked those chairs or their color. The Kennedy room seemed more cozy, something that I can imagine Thomas Jefferson relaxing in. The Kennedy/Boudin room was warm and intimate, the Nixon room is cold and uninviting.
    I also always preferred the Kennedy Red and Blue rooms to the Nixon rooms. The JBK rooms seemed, as I said before, more intimate; the Nixon rooms seem more formal, cold, and museum-esque.
    Can’t wait for the new edition of “Historic Guide” so we can see the new pics of the Green Room!

  5. I agree; if you’re going to publish an article about a redecorated room…show some pictures!

    That said, to answer Hunter’s question; hands down for me the Kennedy-era room and furnishings. I have never liked the Nixon-era furnishings (all due respect to Mrs. Nixon and Mr. Conger.) I loved Mrs. Bush’s description of the pink chairs as ‘insipid.” I agree! I never liked those chairs or their color. The Kennedy room seemed more cozy, something that I can imagine Thomas Jefferson relaxing in. The Kennedy/Boudin room was warm and intimate, the Nixon room is cold and uninviting.
    I also always preferred the Kennedy Red and Blue rooms to the Nixon rooms. The JBK rooms seemed, as I said before, more intimate; the Nixon rooms seem more formal, cold, and museum-esque.
    Can’t wait for the new edition of “Historic Guide” so we can see the new pics of the Green Room!

  6. The bulk of the Red Room furniture (between 1952-60) was a hodge-podge of items dating from various periods. In the Red Room, the French clock on the mantel was an antique, a gift of President Coty of France, along with those bizarre candlesticks. The crystal chandelier was newly acquired (now in the First Lady’s Bedroom) and there was a gift of an antique Louis XV revival sofa made in about 1850 (near the fireplace). There were several white-painted Hepplewhite-style chairs dating from the 1902 renovation…and the rest of the “Colonial” furniture dated from Eleanor Roosevelt’s work in the 1930’s…all reproductions. In the Green Room of the same period, there were two late 18th century New England card tables flanking the door (preserved by Du Pont, Boudin and Mrs. Kennedy for the room), along with the Hannibal Clock and lotus vases from 1817. The chandelier and most of the furniture dated from Mrs. Coolidge and Mrs. Hoover’s efforts to bring in “Colonial” furniture. There were just a handful of antique chairs, and the rest were reproductions. Both rooms suffered (and I might add, the rooms STILL SUFFER) from being decorated by a committee, rather than one single, strong, voice, with style, class and taste.
    Stephane Boudin was a decorator of WORLD CLASS reputation whose rooms at Malmaison, le Grand Trianon and in private residences across the world are still preserved as design masterpieces. He understood the need to live with antiques and keep rooms away from a museum like feeling. For me, DuPont, Boudin and Mrs. Kennedy represented one unified voice for perfection in the White House decor.

  7. Derek – on that 1803 plan of the Jefferson White House – do we really *know* that it’s a dumbwaiter in the Public Dining Room? I mean it may just be a little slow… heh-heh..

    That’s an interesting pic of the Green Room in 1948 – the Conde NAst one that’s flopped. If you look very carefully in the mirror between the windows, you can see the photographer draped in black to try and be as unobtrusive as possible. And you can also see one of those clunky pre-renovation airconditioners in the left-hand window.

  8. Don’t you think it interesting that according to Seale in The President’s House, Eleanor Roosevelt deliberately decided against antiques in the Red Room. She was afraid they might break under someone important.

  9. Oh, in the Green Room, between the windows during the Truman and Eisenhower years there was a “satinwood commode with inlaid flowers and garlands, made in England about 1800” (14th Edition 1979 Guide Book) that has now made its way up to the Second Floor.

  10. Jackie’s Louis XVI obelisks were fantastic. I saw them at Sotheby’s before the auction of her estate. Mostly black marble, they actually had some white marble too, and little posts and mounts in ormolu. I wish she had donated them to the house, or that the WHHA had bought them for the house. Last spring I saw an almost identical pair but all white marble, at a NY antique store. Only $8k, pin money.

  11. CORRECTION: In my long-winded and pompous list of items in the pre-Kennedy Green and Red Rooms, I SHOULD have said the French clock in the Red Room was a gift of President Vincent AURIOL, not Rene Coty. The lotus columns in bronze d’ore in the Green Room of 1952 were CANDLESTICKS, not vases. Mes excuses, mes amis. My thanks to Jim Hood for his sharp eyes to correct me!

  12. I just read the Washington Post article on the new Green Room. I loved the old carpet, but I think the new one is more in keeping with the period of the room, so I can get used to it. The red chairs are better than the pink. BUT, that new painti8ng may be significant. It may be a wonderful acquisition and fill a gap in the collection, but it does not belong in that room. Anymore than the O’Keefe did. I’ve seen rooms with antiques and ALL modern paintings that worked, but a mish mosh rarely does. The only thing right about that paimting are the colors, and one would hope the white house was above buying over the couch art to match the sofa.

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