Interiors: Barack and Michelle Obama's White House glamour from the UK Telegraph reports on Hollywood interior designer Michael Smith's plans for the White House living quarters with glimpses of his portfolio of work. Smith is a designer to the stars - but the $100,000 permitted per term for the president will restrict his lavish tastes unless augmented somehow with donations or by the Obamas.
Michelle Obama's mother finds Washington to her liking from the New York Times
Michelle Obama was clear what she wanted when she appointed the Californian interior designer Michael Smith to refurbish the private quarters of the White House. 'Michael shares my vision for creating a family-friendly feel to our new home and incorporating some new perspectives from some of America’s greatest artists and designers,’ she said. She could not have chosen better. Smith is brilliant at creating historically based rooms that are comfortable, light and airy. He combines antiques with family life: the television and Scrabble board taking their place alongside gilded screens and Sultanabad carpets. Smith’s style is steeped in the English country-house look (from his days studying decorative arts at the V & A), yet he does not disdain mass-produced products when they are right for the job.
'I have no qualms about buying printed cotton bedspreads from Urban Outfitters if they have that vibration I’m looking for,’ he says. Just as well, as it is said that one of his first tasks at the White House will be the bedrooms of Sasha and Malia Obama (though he never comments). Every president is allotted $100,000 per term for the private quarters, which wouldn’t go far in the houses of his Hollywood clients: Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman and Michelle Pfeiffer. One of his main tasks is finding out what his clients want – he never imposes his own style. But there are elements that recur in many of his houses: white sofas, faded oriental rugs, polished plaster walls in subtle colours, four-poster beds, hand-blocked fabrics, chinoiserie wallpapers, dark Japanese-inspired kitchens and rush matting. These lovely interiors give us a glimpse of the new style that is coming to the Obama White House.