We all know about the West Wing of the White House from the fabled television series, but the East Wing of the White House is the First Family's private quarters. Therefore, it is off-limits to photographers, except when a new First Family moves in. Then one shot of the remodeled family sitting room is released to the public.
Recently we saw the Bush sitting room, with the current First Lady and the future one when Mrs. O went calling on Laura Bush after the election. That room, along with the other private rooms, will be transformed on January 20th. The transformation takes place during the swearing in ceremony and the parade, while the First Family is otherwise occupied, and now we know who will be in charge of the new look. According to the Presidential Transition Office, Mrs. O has chosen her White House decorator: Michael S. Smith, a Los Angeles-based decorator who is known for mixing his English country house style with contemporary furnishings.
"Michael shares my vision for creating a family-friendly feel to our new home and incorporating some new perspectives from some of America's greatest artists and designers," said Mrs. O. Smith himself has talked about the family's "casual style, their interest in bringing 20th century American artists to the forefront, and [their interest in] utilizing affordable brands and products." He has been known to combine luxury custom work with both antiques and items from Anthropologie, Target, Urban Outfitters, and Williams-Sonoma Home.
Smith's style can be seen in his two books, published by Rizzoli -- Houses and Michael Smith Elements of Style -- and he has decorated homes for such celebrities as Steven Spielberg, Cindy Crawford, Rob Reiner, and Michelle Pfeiffer. He has also styled the interiors of two hotels, Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica and the Lowell Hotel in New York City. He has designed rugs for Mansour Modern and he is also known for his work in Montecito, California-an exclusive and charming town outside of Santa Barbara that is filled with glorious estates.
Oprah Winfrey's home, "Promised Land," which was the site of a star-filled fundraiser for the Obama campaign, is located in Montecito. Photos of some of Smith's work can be seen in Domino magazine, where he said in the April 2008 issue that he "would love to decorate the White House." and we think it is fun to browse through his rooms while imagining which design elements Mrs. O and her family will be using. We know we will eventually see a photo of the sitting room, but the rest will be left to our imaginations. However, we couldn't help but notice that he often includes dog beds in his designs. Some new puppy will be very comfortable.