Gardening from the couch: A total White House weekend
It only seems appropriate that on the weekend of the fall White House Garden Tours, Garden Variety should take a look at a new coffee table book about the White House interiors.
"Dream House: The White House as an American Home" has been written by Ulysses G. Dietz, the president's great - great- grandson and a museum curator, and Sam Watters, an architecture critic.
The authors write that from 1800 to 1960, the most famous house in the world kept pace with the changing ideals of the perfect American house and garden.
It was George Washington’s idea of a country estate, but it morphed into "the imperial seat" of the larger-than-life Theodore Roosevelt. In the 1950s, the Eisenhowers were more middle class, barbecuing on the roof of the portico. In 1960, Jackie Kennedy redecorated the White House as a museum to upper class tastes.
There are hundreds of historic photographs, plans and drawings comparing the president's residence to other American houses, gardens and interiors of the same periods, showing how the White House changed with renovation, redecoration and landscaping.
Whatever you think of White House styles through the ages, it fitting to remember that it is a house with two purposes: to be a comfortable home-office for the president and his family, and an international symbol of power and prestige.