Friday, December 24, 2010

White House; State Dining Room

The State Dining Room owes its existence to the work done by McKim, Meade and White in 1902. Prior to this time, the room was half the size. When the main staircase was moved to its present location, the dining room was able to be doubled in size and now can seat up to a presidential 140 guests.
Oddly enough, this room from the 1902 renovation is the most original to the house since the woodwork survived the 1950 gut remodel mostly intact.However, it did need to be patched and so the woodwork was painted a mint green. Below you can see the room with its original unpainted wood finish from 1904.
As with the East Room, Boudin created a more elegant room by painting the walls in ivory. He also had the original silver plated chandelier and sconces gilded. The sconces were moved from their original location, mounted on the pilasters, to the walls in between; a much more appropriate location (what was McKim thinking?).
The current draperies date from the Clinton administration, as chosen by their designer Kaki Hockersmith. The fabric is colonial revival and the walls were painted a warmer stone color, while the ceiling was painted a complex white to more closely match the McKim unpainted plaster finish.One poor decision I think was that the gilded chandeliers were given a shiny finish, which to me makes them appear like brass. I think I would prefer the original silverplate, don't you?
Here is a detail shot of the fine wood paneling by McKim.
The console tables with eagle bases had been painted and gilded during Boudin's renovation of the room (ivory, to blend in with the walls), but the Clinton's had them returned to their original mahogany finish.
Above the fireplace is the Lincoln portrait by George Healy which Boudin had restored and it has remained since. Join me next week as I continue the tour!


Hels said...

I think the warmer stone colour was a much more satisfying decision and the wood panelling by McKim was exquisitely crafted.

Happy hols

Yuri-Alex Niso said...

Oh my Jimmy, that's stunning. The detail in the moulding is exquisite and Lincoln's as dashing as ever. I like this room better than the colored rooms, and the only thing the east room has on this one are those fabulous chandeliers. Yeah, I think this one's my favorite so far.

Kwana said...

Thanks for this and Merry Christmas to you.

Mark D. Ruffner said...

I love the room, but those curtains don't do anything for me.

No Sacrifice Bags said...

Merry Christmas!
I'm just catching up, and enjoying this glimpse into this most amazing building.

the designers muse said...

Thanks for the post and the photos. A few weeks ago there was a news story on NPR about people who had applied and were granted the opportunity to help decorate the White House. I had no idea that's how it is done. How interesting, and what a great honor it would be to be chosen to participate in that.

La Petite Gallery said...

Great Post.


Rose C'est La Vie said...

As intriguing and sometimes beautiful are the White House's christmas decorations, I would be inclined to whisper in their ear 'Less is More'..

Ann said...

Okay found it! LOVING the wreath above the console table, heck I wouldn't throw out that console table either. Sounds like the tour gives really good info, now I'm all the more tempted!