Across the street from the White House, the Blair House is treated with royalty with beautiful festive holiday decor.
Blair House has stood facing the White House for more than 180 years, witness to events of extraordinary importance for the nation and her people. For decades, the rooms of this stately home have played an even more active role, serving United States foreign policy as a gracious residence, meeting place and sanctuary for visiting heads of state.
The Blair house gets decked out for the holidays with the generosity of designers who were called in for help by Magazine Publishers of America to volunteer in designing holiday makeovers on 17 historic spaces. With only two short weeks notice from a half dozen lifestyle magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, This Old House, Traditional Home, Better Homes & Gardens, Mother Earth News and Natural Home. With such a huge task and so little time to create, let’s see how they pulled it off fabulously, shall we?
With EXTREME care, they artfully decked the halls around the $100 million dollars worth of American antiques. No pressure or anything.
Lynni Megginson from L&M Designs used jeweled poinsettias, gold and crème silk ribbons, silver snowflakes and gold glitter "collars" on the reindeer adorned with pink glass ornaments on the fireplace mantel. Every single teeny tiny present under the reindeer on top of the sideboard has a miniature hand painted ornament tied to it.
The deadline was to finish for a special evening reception at the State Department that would be honoring families of government employees currently serving unaccompanied tours overseas that are in places to dangerous to have their families be with them.
They were certainly treated to some beautiful decorations that surely delighted them all. Along with a few delicious looking treats from the clan at Martha Stewart Living might have left them feeling a little hungry too.
Matching the colors of coral and pale green in the Blair House Dining room by making a candy theme, including a gingerbread Blair House along with lollipops and a pink feather tree hung with ribbon candies.
In the Truman Study, clocks were turned back to replicate a traditional old fashioned Christmas setting. Editors from This Old House contacted the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum in where they unearthed a list of Christmas gifts President Truman (who lived at the Blair House while it was being renovated) had received in 1951.
The staff at This Old House placed hand-knitted socks, vintage razor blades, a 1948 Life magazine, a soundtrack from "Paint Your Wagon, framed old photos of Truman, hand made ornaments and hung them on the tree. Three stockings, embroidered Harry, Bess and Margaret, were hung at the mantel.
Traditional Home magazine called in designer Barry Dixon to dress up the Lee Dining Room.
In the Lee Drawing Room, editors from Martha Stewart Living created ornaments based on the stylized birds on the 18th-century green Chinese wallpaper. Whimsical birds perch on the gold gilded branches that create an arch across the room. A peacock adorns the top the Christmas tree.
I am very grateful to all the designers and magazine publications that during these economic hard times were able to offer so much. As a result of their hard work brightening up the holiday for the deserving families. The men and woman that sacrifice so much to serve our country which we are very proud of, wishing all of them, their families and everyone a very happy holiday.
Most photos by Susan Biddle courtesy of Washington Post.