That’s for sure! The Old Family Dining Room at the White House has been in need of refreshening for awhile! Back in 2011, when I was part of the team that decorated the White House for Christmas, we had our lunch in this room during the 3 days we worked in the residence. What was once a seldom photographed very dated yellow room and previously off limits to tours, is now on display and has entered a new age. The new design to the 200 year old room has brought with it some lovely things from the past as well as some strikingly modern features. The wall color as gone a beautiful, neutral greige. The Philadelphia bookcase on the south wall of the room has been filled with 20th-century American tableware. Four works of American abstract art — a favorite of the First Family’s — have also been donated to the permanent White House collection and placed in the dining room. Of special note is the piece, Resurrection by Alma Thomas (1891-1978, which is the first piece of art by an African American woman to be part of the permanent White House collection. Of the other antiques in the room, a 1780 chandelier, an 1800 mahogany table and a sideboard that once belonged to Daniel Webster with a silver tea service from the 1939 Word’s Fair set on it.
I like that the host chairs are at the midpoint of the long sides rather than being on the ends. These are the chairs that Mrs. Kennedy used to remodel the room with, and the new curtains are a nod the the less formal style of drapery that she chose when she redecorated the room in 1962.