LA decorator to the Stars Michael Smith Chosen for Decorator-in-Chief


A portrait of the the newly appointed Decorator-in-Chief, Michael Smith

By Emily Waldorf

High-profile Los Angeles decorator Michael Smith has been chosen by the Obamas to renovate their personal living quarters at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers introduced the Obamas to Mr. Smith whose celebrity clients include Rupert Murdoch, Cindy Crawford, and Steven Spielberg, among many others.  It has been slyly observed that Mr. Smith has not had to work within a $100,000 budget (which is the official allotted amount for incoming presidents) for quite some time given his A-list clientele, making him a well qualified but interesting choice given the current economy.  Mr. Smith has not spoken to the press about his new appointment but he apparently has exciting plans to freshen up with White House painting collection with 20th century American artists.  I predict that the end result will be stunning.  

Michael S. Smith's gorgeous book "Houses"

Michael S. Smith's gorgeous book, "Houses"

Dominique Browning, Editor-in-Chief of House and Garden magazine, wrote an insightful piece in the Wall Street Journal commenting on the Obama’s choice of Michael Smith as White House decorator.  According to Ms. Browning, Mr. Smith is a master of the eclectic look beloved by Americans that sounds so easy to achieve but is actually quite difficult to pull off the proper mix of furniture, art, and finishes.

Michael S. Smith's book, "Elements of Style"

Michael S. Smith's book, "Elements of Style"

Ms. Browning writes: “Mr. Smith is a national star. He makes classic rooms that look like their owners have inherited money and furnishings, and he mixes things up with tastefully hip pieces — just as he wears Keds and John Lobb custom shoes. Were the economy in better shape, we might look for an uptick in sales of his signature scents ($55 for a 7-ounce candle, $110 for air fresheners), a relatively cheap way to get a whiff of society decorator…As goes the cabinet, so goes the cabinetry. Mr. Smith’s qualifications are strong: this is no time for the inexperienced, particularly if the at-home style of the Obamas reflects anything of their public personae… Mr. Smith’s look is sumptuous without being too fussy; he buys the finest quality, most expensive fabrics, carpets and antiques.”



A Michael Smith decorated Richard Meier designed Malibu beach house

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