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Friday, September 30, 2011

Blue Rooms

The brighter, bolder Blue Room of today.
The walls haven't been blue since
1961, though...  Jackie Kennedy
took care of that.
I've always loved White House history, and one of the things that attracted me early on was the idea of rooms named after colors.  Who couldn't love the Red Room, the Green Room or, the grandest in the President's Mansion, the Blue Room.

The Blue Room is the principal reception room in the White House.  A large, elliptical salon filled with some of the best furniture the house has to offer, the Blue Room has been the cause of some controversy.  Just how much blue does the Blue Room have to have in it?  And just what shade is blue enough?

The room has been royal blue, sapphire blue, even robin's egg blue, but Jacqueline Kennedy's restoration of the White House pushed the boundaries of propriety in the eyes of many.  For the first time in anyone's memory, she chose to cover the walls in white damask!  Certainly, there was plenty of blue in the upholstery, in the carpet and in the draperies, but this new, and historically accurate, rendering of the famous room seemed just a touch too...  French.  In truth, Mrs. Kennedy was attempting to return the State Floor of the Executive Mansion to it's earliest incarnation.  During the early years of the American government, much of the best furniture and style was thought to come to France.  One must also remember that for many years, England was a no go when it came to furnishing the home of the new nation's president.  Where else could we turn but to our stylish ally, France?  Certainly, the look of the room following the massive Truman restoration of the early 1950's left a lot to be desired.

The Blue Room as it was from 1952 to 1961...  Very, er,
blue!  A Fabulous Technicolor shade of azure,
but a little garish?

A considerable improvement in my view...
The Blue Room circa 1962, after Mrs.
Kennedy took the bold step of brightening
up the room.
This little bit of history has little to do with the initial idea for this post.  Our son, Thomas, took this picture of our living room with some sort of app on his Ipod.  I loved it so much that it reminded me of one of my favorite songs (see below) as well as one of my favorite rooms in one of my favorite places...  the White House.

Admittedly, this is nothing like the Blue Room at the
White House...  but I love this picture of our
living room, and it reminded me of the
blue rooms I like.
So, here's to rooms devoted to color, to the White House, and to dreams of our own blue rooms!

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