Washington DC beware – the extravagant Trumps will be the next first family to put their identity on the president’s residence
Nixon built an underground bowling alley, Ford added an outdoor swimming pool, while Obama installed basketball hoops on Bush’s tennis court. But the White House preservation committee must be trembling with trepidation at what real-estate tycoon and voracious builder Donald Trump plans to unleash on his new Washington DC home.
Since Thomas Jefferson replaced the outdoor privy with modern flushing loos, and commissioned Benjamin Latrobe to smarten up the humble house with rows of classical colonnades, it has been the done thing for the incoming first family to make their mark on the president’s official residence.
Jackie Kennedy set the tone for the first lady’s role as homemaker to the nation, masterminding a comprehensive renovation of the White House in 1961. She enlisted famed socialite decorator Sister Parish and French designer Stéphane Boudin to fill the house with antique wallpaper panels and swagged drapery, wrought with a stage-set theatricality that climaxed in her blue silk dressing room, replete with a button-tufted chaise longue and leopard skin throw.
From the Kennedys onwards, the White House became a public stage for the first family to construct their identity, and on which an ideal domesticity would be played out. Nancy Reagan enlisted Beverly Hills interior designer Ted Graber to deliver a dose of 1980s Hollywood glamour, filling the dressing room with peachy floral fabrics, swamping her office in a symphony of pistachio and lining the bedroom walls with hand-painted chinoiserie wallpaper. […]