Friday Faves: Jacqueline Kennedy's White House

"She changed the White House from a plastic to a crystal bowl." 
social secretary Letitia Baldrige on Jacqueline Kennedy's 
transformation of the White House.

Jackie Kennedy had a strong sense of self that played out not only in her classic, elegant and understated fashion sense, but also in how she designed the White House. Her hiring of designer Sister Parish, whose style has been described as "cozy, old money", tells us how important classic elegance, tradition and family were to her. 

East Sitting Hall:
transformed into an elegant, inviting, softer space (White House Museum)
What Jacqueline Kennedy did to the White House was no accident, I don't think she could have lived in the Truman White house even if she tried. She couldn't help herself. She seemed to have this compelling and almost compulsive (if she could have been compulsive) obligation and duty to the preservation of dignity, tradition and honor. She had enough design sense to know that the Truman White House was not designed in a way that was honorable to the house or what it said about who would be living there...the President of the United States. She HAD to transform the white house in such a way that it would honor the house, the man and the country.

Yellow Room (White House Museum)
The Blue Room Before - 1952 (Truman Library)
The Blue Room After (Kennedy Library)
 Jackie understood the responsibility that came with the design of America's most famous house. It was not hers but America's and preservation of that history was vital.

It would be sacrilege to merely redecorate it—a word I hate. It must be restored, and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship.” Jacqueline Kennedy

Happy Weekend!

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