Designer In Chief

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“I would love to redecorate the White House!” Michael Smith told Domino magazine in April 2008, foreshadowing the January 12 news that the Los Angeles-based interior designer has been selected to do exactly that for the Obama family.

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As soon as Obama was elected, Smith started talking about getting the furniture of the great masters of 20th-century American design, like Billy Baldwin, into the executive mansion and bringing Alice Waters in to do a vegetable garden and head up the cooking…

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“The family’s casual style, their interest in featuring 20th century American artists and utilizing affordable brands and products will serve as our guiding principles as we make the residence feel like their home,” Smith says.

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Smith brings his clients the class and history of Europe but in a well-ordered, uncluttered American package, and this has proven to be a golden formula. His clients are mostly politically active members of Hollywood royalty, with a fair smattering of media moguls and socialites. The rooms he designs for them are luxurious but livable, layered but not stuffed, patinated but not dusty, individual but not eccentric. He’s never met a grand house he didn’t want to get his hands on.

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Yay or nay on fake flowers? “I love them, but they must be good ones and placed in areas where your perception is softened–not unlike on a movie set. Diane James makes the best ones.”

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Famous Smith quote: “There’s nothing more tragic than rooms that look as if the furniture all arrived on the same day, in the same truck.”

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Smith on wrapping gifts: “Brown paper, black ribbon. Always.” Magnificent!

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~ by eaesthete on 01/15/09.

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