How Jed Bartlet, Selina Meyer, and Other Fictional Presidents Would Decorate Their Post-White House Homes
[Spoilers ahead for “Scandal,” “Veep,” “The West Wing,” and “House of Cards.”]
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For any president, the most important interior in their lives is the Oval Office. It’s an iconic space to be sure, the literal room where it happens—but it’s not exactly the type of room that a president can fully redecorate to their own tastes. Even the White House’s private quarters are limiting, decor-wise. Presidents and their families often inject some of their own favorite art and accessories to make it feel more like home, but it is a historical house, after all.
That goes for our favorite TV presidents and the real-life ones. Sure, TV shows have spruced up the decor to fit their fictional Commander-in-Chief in small ways, but for the most part the executive mansion stays recognizably the same.
It’s only after they’ve moved on from the White House that a president can really let their style shine. Which is why this Presidents Day, Apartment Therapy is imagining the post-White House homes of some of the most famous television presidents—the good, the inept, and the murder-y. Let’s take a peek.
Fitzgerald Grant III, “Scandal”
Before “Scandal” concluded its seventh and final season, we actually got to see Fitz leave the White House (still thinking about that steamy South Lawn makeout session) and move back into his Vermont house. You know, the one he wanted to spend eternity in, making jam with Olivia. That dream was all well and good but once Fitz got there, he was alone and bored out of his mind. In the end, he moved back to where the action was in D.C. and ended up walking in the sun with Olivia—who may or may not have become President one day herself. So what would Fitzgerald Grant’s post-Vermont home look like?
His Vermont hideaway pulled lots of outdoor elements inside—stone, leather, and wood were all mixed together in perfect harmony. We think there would be some continuation of that in his new home. But since D.C. is very different from Vermont, he’d get an updated look befitting the city steeped in history. As Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at Modsy notes, Fitz would want to “incorporate pieces of classical flair that represent the ideals of the American republic,” like antique furniture and perhaps an old clock. “Even if he sometimes undermined those ideals, he’d want to surround himself with an image that suggests otherwise.” Wood predicts that in this chapter of his life, Fitz might opt for a “1920s or ’30s Colonial Revival home—brick, with columns and Federal Era inspired architecture.”
And now that Fitz and Olivia have (mostly) atoned for their sins (I mean, Fitz did kill the Supreme Court Justice, but okay), they’ll be bathing in all the light they can, guiltlessly sipping fancy whiskey from their souped up bar cart, and gazing upon their presidential portraits. That’s much cooler than making jam.
Claire (Underwood) Hale, “House of Cards”
Oh, our Ice Queen President. As Wood points out, “Claire is not one to go over the top […] and instead would choose clean design with subtle hints of femininity.” Think channel tufted velvet, a barrel-shaped chair, beautiful molding. During her time in the White House, President Hale made sure to incorporate her signature icy palette wherever she could: Grays, whites, and blues covered any space she would spend time in—I mean, it’s way easier to spot blood on those colors after going to stabby town on your enemies, but Claire always liked a challenge—and we think wherever she ends up after her presidency will incorporate more of the same.
Claire’s a minimalist who has no time for clutter or tchotchkes. Any home she lives in will be immaculately clean and, as Wood notes, “purposefully styled [where] everything has its place and no surface is overcrowded.” Think matching furniture sets and never even mention the word “eclectic” in her presence. In lieu of family photos—she’s trying to completely erase any trace of Frank—her fortress would be styled with high end art, sculptural pieces, and mirrors.
Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, “The West Wing”
Now here’s a president everyone can get behind. No one gets murdered, except our hearts. At the end of “The West Wing,” Jed Bartlet retired to his farmhouse in New Hampshire with his wife, our queen Abbey. Since that was way back in 2006, we’re sure there’d be some updates to the farm by now. I mean, the man’s motto was “what’s next?” and that can surely be applied to home renovation projects.
Aside from his framed “Bartlet For America” napkin, the other must-haves in Jed’s farmhouse would be books. Like, so, so many books and bookshelves—built-in or not. Wood also predicts that this man of progress would “love the high contrast neutral palette of Modern Farmhouse aesthetics with rich, warm tones of leather woven in.” A globe-shaped bar cart wouldn’t feel out of place. Like Jed himself, his home would be “approachable but still stately and strong.” Jed also cherished both his family and his faith, so be sure to look for mementos nodding to both. And you know there’s a photo of him and Leo from the good ol’ days on at least one of his bookshelves. I’m weeping already.
Selina Meyer, “Veep”
Selina Meyer absolutely sucks as a human being, but she does have impeccable fashion sense, and throughout “Veep’s” seven-season run we’ve seen a few of her homes, so we also know that taste level bleeds over into her interior design. Of course, everything looks good, because Selina Meyer is all about appearances. As Wood notes, Selina would “choose a style that would reflect what she wanted people to think of her.” Selina also comes from money, so has very expensive taste. Wood predicts that in her post-White House life (the second time, not the first), Selina’s design aesthetic “would be classic, feminine and beautiful with eclectic moments […] that incorporates delicate classic shapes that take inspiration from French design.” She’s not afraid of bold colors or prints in her clothing, so she wouldn’t be when it comes to decor, either.
Since the end of “Veep” revealed that Selina completely alienated herself from her friends and family, she has no photos of loved ones to adorn her home, so instead, it would be decorated as a shrine to her own accomplishments: Her campaign sign (“New. Selina. Now.”) would be somewhere and her “Peace Summit Award” would definitely be on display. No one has to know that it’s not a real Nobel Peace Prize, do they?