Thursday, December 30, 2010

White House: China Room

The China room on the ground floor is now also referred to as the Dining Room. Architects McKim, Meade & White had designated the room a cloak room in the 1902 renovation, but in 1917, Mrs. Woodrow Wilson requisitioned the room to display the growing collection of presidential china. The room has a red color scheme based on the elegant 1924 portrait of Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, Grace. The shelves that display the china are red velvet, the curtains are red silk taffeta and the room is finished off with an early 20th-century Indo-Ispahan rug. The room has more of the salvaged wood paneling, which was again, painted under the Boudin redecoration. I love the regency style chandelier!
Before paneling, the room had smaller built-in cupboards which you can see below in 1948. I guess thats fitting as there was less china at the time! The cupboards were created more shallow however, after the paneling, and a few of the larger items could not be included. I call that a major oops!
This image below shows the Boudin Kennedy-era redecoration. The paneling was glazed grey with white details.
As the collection continues to grow, parts of it are housed in the corridor in pieces of furniture.
I loved the china of President Harrison, with the edge band of navy blue with raised gilt stalks of corn!
Included in the same case was President's Harrison elegant cut crystal.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

White House: Vermeil room & library

When visiting the White House, unless you are on official state business, you will enter from the ground floor (yes, I've shown these posts in reverse order of my visit!). Located on this floor are a number of functioning spaces so much of it is closed to the public. However, one can catch glimpses of the Library, seen above.
Before the 1902 renovation of the white house, this was the official laundry room of the building until becoming the servant's locker room. In 1935 it was turned into a library. The space is used for small meetings as well as press conferences and houses over 2700 books on American life which are added to by each president. The current furnishings are from New York, circa 1810. The walls are painted paneling from timbers which, before the Truman renovation of the White House, were the structure of the building (replaced by steel). This paneling is seen in a number of rooms on the ground floor.The paneling remained unpainted until the Boudin redecoration of the White House, seen above in 1963. I love that blue painted ceiling!
The walls of the Vermeil Room above (so called after the collection of Vermeil displayed here, donated by Margaret Thompson Biddle in 1956) are currently the same green painted paneling as in the library but here house portraits of First Ladies. The room functions as a ladies sitting room and is where the First Lady often receives her official guests. After the 1902 renovation, architect McKim created this room as a ladies lounge as it was adjacent to the ladies restroom and it has retained that purpose. Above you can see the unpainted paneling in 1960.The walls were painted blue by Boudin's redecoration with a grained finish. Originally, these ground floor rooms were staff quarters and the vermeil room was, fittingly, the silver polishing room!
The carpet in the room is beautiful, an 1860 Turkish Hereke. Only a few rooms left to go -join me tomorrow to see the ground floor dining room!