Luci Johnson

Found some good pictures in the Life collection of Luci Johnson’s wedding day*, including a portrait sitting in the Vermeil China Room at the time, with the JBK decor.

Bonus: CBS interview with Luci reminiscing, done at the time of Jenna Bush’s wedding.

I’ve also added a number of West Wing photos.

* Crowning as Queen of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, VA in 1964. Photos of her 1966 wedding are available, tho (and nearly indistinguishable to me).

Press secretary area revealed

Joe Scarborough toured the West Wing press staff area today accompanied by an out-of-control nine-year-old girl and conducted by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. It’s a great look at a seldom-seen part of the White House.

Meanwhile, their friend Willie Geist poked around the old swimming pool and also the Press Briefing Room.

While I’m at it, here is a tour Bill Plante did a few months ago (that includes the Kitchen, Pastry Kitchen, Family Theater, and Bowling Alley) that you may have missed (introduced by Chris Presumestoomuch).

Thanks to everyone who sent links.

Gigantic pics

After scouring the Web for White House photos a measley few hundred pixels across, it’s a breath of fresh air to find John Bailey’s Flickr photostreams for White House Events and Washington DC available at more than 4000 pixels across. There are also marvelous photos of the interior of Blair House, Air Force 1, Marine 1, and various other subjects.

For the largest images, click the ALL SIZES icon, then click the Original link.

Flickr icons

And remember to keep an eye on the Flickr White House photostream.

Nooks and crannies

I’ve added several new photos of various nooks and crannies around the Residence and West Wing: the cold storage room in the Basement Hall, the Kitchen Pantry and Kitchen walkway, and the Press Corps Kitchen in the West Wing.

I’m also in the process of rearranging things a bit, so I haven’t added the new pics to the main site; only the mirror. It shouldn’t result in any broken links, but eventually most photos will move into subfolders, so any hotlinked image links from outside websites will be broken. Outside websites should be linking only to pages, tho. Anybody linking directly to images is using WHM as an anonymous image server, which is unkind.

Flickr photos

I found some terrific photos on Flickr of a 2008 White House tour by user Brooksini. Here’s one of the Butler’s Pantry, cleverly taken thru the door window.

These photos are included in a photo pool I didn’t know about called, appropriately, The White House. I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Here’s a fascinating one from that collection by user KRSPO. It shows the door to the little closet under the South Portico stairs.

UPDATE: I’ve also added several photos from Webshots, with particularly good ones of the elusive East Wing Lobby by user morgancbarr.

Inauguration day

On this auspicious occasion, I happily announce that Peter Sharkey has completed the new colorful, 3D Residence floor plans, which I’ve added to the main site as well as the mirror. The main site is very slow, however, owing to a big rise in visitorship. (Welcome!)

I can’t get over how beautiful the new plans look. Many thanks again to Pete for all his hard work—which, remember, you can always see over at Wingnut’s Workings. More is coming, including some details and fixes. Let us know if you notice any goofs.

By the way, if you check out Wingnut’s Workings, let me know what you think of the white wall tops rather than the black wall tops.

Michael S Smith named as decorator

Visitor Halcyon notes in the comments on another post that Michael S Smith has been named as the Obama’s decorator. Keep your fingers crossed that he passes confirmation by the Senate.* Halcyon says:

To me, this is good news.
Smith announced today his first project is having a very old burled Maple four poster converted from a full to a king size bed. (this last part not in the article, but a buzz from a Rhode Island Designer I know)

* I may have that wrong.

UPDATE: The Bed. AP via PinkPillbox.

The Lincoln White House

This diagram of the Lincoln second floor appears in Seale’s two-volume WH book. It shows the old west stair as a dual initial rise and a central rise to the second floor. But we know from photographs of the grand stair that by the 1890s it was a single initial rise at the right, a left turn, then a single rise to the second floor.

However, I don’t recall ever reading about that stair being renovated from dual to single. The question is, are we sure the dual rise stair was ever built? And when was it renovated to the single stair we see in the photos?

Upstairs at the White House

Going back thru JB West’s memoir, I decided to add some of the photos found in there. Several of them I haven’t seen from any other source and depicted rooms at times that I don’t have covered otherwise. They aren’t very good quality images—screened and printed in low quality. Does anybody have the hard back version and are those photos reproduced at higher quality?

UPDATE: The hardback does have better quality photos, and I found a copy for less than $5, including shipping.


You asked for it (or sat quietly with an expectant look on your face)—you got it: the inimitable Peter Sharkey has provided us with the Residence sub-basement and basement mezzanine plans from photos of the original plans (I am trying to get the source to send me scans or copies).

I have inserted them into the overall blue print and posted them on their own page. And I’ve created separate pages for the Dressing Room, Laundry, and AC Control Room. I’ll take some time this week looking back over the Truman-era photos for more images of basement rooms.

President’s offices and servants’ stair

I’ve added a few new photos of the President’s Secretary’s Office and Private Study. I’ve also removed the pictures of Rose Mary Woods and put them on a hidden page for reference, since I’m sure the room is not the President’s Private Study, Dining Room, or Secretary’s Office.

Also, I’ve added a couple of pics from the recent History Channel special sent by Stephen of the staircase between the Butler’s Pantry and the Pastry Kitchen.

1902 floor plans

Patrick sent me some really fantastic images of White House floor plans from the 1902 Report of the Architects created by McKim, Mead, and White. They nicely fill in some holes and are so detailed that the original versions (click the hi-def links in the caption credits) could be used to build your very own vintage White House mansion, complete with giant steam boiler. Decorate to taste.

Semi-secret museum semi-secrets

The addition of pictures to the Sub-Basement page brought up the subject of “semi-secret” WHM pages. These are pages—or even just individual pictures—that you might not be aware of even if your are a fairly thoro visitor to this site. They aren’t semi-secret because of any inherent security concern, but merely because they are labeled or are otherwise unexpected.

The horseshoe pitch is right next to the pool (very clear on Pete’s 3D rendering). There is a link to it on the main Grounds page, but that part of the map is not colored, so you might not have found it. Same goes for the Andrew Jackson milk trough on the south lawn.

First Lady’s Office hall. Just a dude in the hallway outside the First Lady’s Offices, available from the EW second floor page. The East Wing Entrance, altho labeled on the EW first floor page, is easy to miss.

A back staircase photo is available from each of the Residence floor pages by clicking on the staircase next to the Family Elevator.

The Pastry Kitchen is on the first floor mezzanine level and available by a link on the oblique diagram.

The arched hall on the third floor is available from an unlabeled link on the third floor page. The mysterious Bathroom 315, near the Family Elevator, is likewise available, marked only with a “B”. And the third floor storage rooms under the roof have a page of their own as well, with an unlabeled link.

The West Wing Navy Mess reception desk is represented by an unlabeled photo link in the middle of the hall on the WW ground floor. Not far away is an unlabeled link to the Situation Room entrance, altho this is probably different since the area was remodeled.

The West Wing stair corridor and east entry corridor are available from unlabeled links on the WW first floor page. A little lavatory off the Oval Office Corridor is on its page.

Then there’s the Front Page Gallery page, available only from the Site Map page. The Truman Reconstruction page includes a thumbnail of the 1945 WW expansion plan and tiny links to large images of the ground, first, second floor plans, side view and cross section, and a smaller second try at coaxing Congress into paying for it.


Pete sent me a note about a great gallery of pics taken by a singers at the White House (thanks, Bob and Cherrie!) in, apparently, April. They show not only the state rooms where they performed but the sub-basement dressing room! I’ve added a couple to the semi-secret Sub-Basement page.

There’s one where people are seated under a coat rack, which you can also see in the 1992 HABS photo under the stairs. That suggests that there’s actually very little space down there.

Also, I’ve widened the blog. I’ve learned a lot about blog templates and CSS since starting yet another website awhile ago.

New photos

I added a number of new photos from a White House visitor named Daniel (go forward from here in his gallery) and a couple from older archives that I had a hard time placing. Most are in the residence.

Also, I’ve received quite a number of photos by e-mail lately. Be assured that I’m looking at them, but I don’t always have time to respond or place them yet.