White House Makeover: A New Design for the 'Old Family Dining Room'

White House Makeover: A New Design for the 'Old Family Dining Room'

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Janel Laban
Apr 26, 2015
(Image credit: Janel Laban)

In February 2015, Michelle Obama unveiled the result of a long standing design project that she had undertaken: a newly redesigned, refurbished room in the White House. The room that got the style makeover is known as the "Old Family Dining Room". Well, this "old" room is now the freshest spot in the building, boasting an updated palette and beautiful, colorful examples of the twentieth century abstract art favored by the Obamas.

The photo above shows how the room looked in 1963 after being redecorated by Jacqueline Kennedy.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

Early Bloomer [Anagram (a Pun)] by Robert Rauschenberg sits above a sideboard that holds a tea set from the 1939 World's Fair.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

The walls were painted a pale, soft gray, a beautiful contrast to the warm wooden doors.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

Two paintings by Josef Albers now hang in the room: Study for Homage to the Square: Asking and Homage to the Square.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

New sconces were installed throughout the room but the dining table and chairs from the Kennedy makeover were retained.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

Resurrection by Alma Thomas was positioned between two grand windows, giving pride of place to the first artwork by an African-American woman to be included in the White House collection.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

Drapes were changed from yellow to a deep burgundy color.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

The wool rug gives the room a very contemporary look and is based on a weaving by Anni Albers called Black, White, Gray.

(Image credit: Janel Laban)

A chandelier from 1780 remains in place, highlighting the beautiful vaulted ceiling shape and architectural details of the room.

The new, updated interior is a great example of the shift to how people love to decorate today: a mix of beautiful, special things that aren't necessarily limited to a single moment in time or design movement. It's about creating a space that is engaging and memorable thanks to a creative embrace of both history and modernity, where each detail feels considered and personal and what you keep is as important as what you add when redecorating a room.

More info on the redesign can be found on the White House site.

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