Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis & Her Influence on Design

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Oh, Jackie O. Born into a wealthy family of stockbrokers and socialites, she exemplified poise and elegance her entire life. She is known for her impeccable taste in fashion, and is undoubtedly the most stylish First Lady we’ve ever had.

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But Jacqueline was much more than someone who knew how to coordinate a pencil skirt and a pill box hat. She received an exemplary education from George Washington University with a degree in French Literature and after graduation she worked as a photographer for the Washington Times in D.C. As you can imagine, this is how she met John F. Kennedy. The introduction took place at a small dinner party in the Nation’s capitol and they were married within a year.

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It’s said that within just weeks of moving into the White House, Jackie knew that the aesthetic of their new home was not working for their family and even simply as Americans. She felt the furniture, art, and especially the materials were not representative of American culture. Ridding the White House of overly manufactured, cheaply built, reproductions of the original styles was the first step. was the first step. Jackie O. was a very intelligent woman who took a deep admiration for the arts. She knew the White House should be treated as a museum and that the inside should reflect our values and cultures as a country, which is why she commissioned to restore the White House… not decorate it.

Jackie Kennedy’s Bedroom:

Over the years, different Presidents had their own “redesign” of the White House that slowly got less and less admirable. The most recent for the Kennedy’s being the Truman’s. Poorly built furniture that was tacky and tasteless. Jackie O. knew there needed to be a transformation to bring back the traditional pieces that once belonged in our capitol’s home.

Private Dining Room:

With the help of “Sister” Parish, she started working on the the family bedrooms and other smaller rooms in the extravagant home. Jackie was able to convert the old Prince of Wales Suite into a Private Dining Room and Family Kitchen for young family.

East Sitting Hall Before & After:

Jackie Kennedy was very smart with the way she went about the restoration of the White House. She was able to declare it a Museum in order to fully preserve it. She recruited Henry Du Pont, a “well-connected collector of Americana,” and Stephane Boudin, a Parisian designer. This greatly helped find donors for more sought after antiques.

Red Room Before & After:

Blue Room Before & After:

Green Room Before & After:

The restoration of the White House was truly a remarkable and necessary improvement! We need to preserve our historical buildings with a respect for the design that it was meant to have. Only Jackie Kennedy’s personal style and love for the arts could do what was needed for our Capitol’s home.


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1 Comment

  1. D Linsky

    Really great article!

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