The new first lady will have access to White House staff and antiques for her dressing room
Melania Trump will have her pick of the new, the old, the glamorous and everything in between when it comes to furnishing her new house.
Trump’s longtime makeup artist Nicole Bryl told US Weekly recently that the incoming first lady would set up an amped-up powder room with hair, makeup and wardrobe facilities and great lighting, when she moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Trump’s proposed addition — quickly dubbed a “glam room” — has prompted commentary that compared her unfavorably to previous first spouses.
Still, a fashion and beauty sanctuary for the first lady is hardly groundbreaking, especially with modern presidential wives living under near-constant public scrutiny. Michelle Obama has such a room, though the Obama White House declined to comment for this piece. First ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson and Nancy Reagan reportedly had a boudoir in what was Rutherford Hayes’s study. During her husband’s presidency, Laura Bush had her hair and makeup done in her personal aide’s roughly 100-square-foot office, which had a sink and high ceilings, says Kenneth Blasingame, George and Laura Bush’s interior decorator of choice
Some presidential spouses have chosen to draw from a priceless inventory of art, antiques and furniture dating back to George Washington’s presidency. Blasingame, a Fort Worth, Texas-based designer who worked with the Bushes on the White House, recommends Trump look at Jackie Kennedy’s French ormolu writing table as a potential pick from the archives. According to the Washington Post, Michelle Obama has used a mirror purchased by the Theodore Roosevelts in the private residence.
The curiosity over Trump’s makeup setup is partly fueled by the Trumps’ much-photographed New York City penthouse, with marble and gold leaf galore. Still, Trump’s “glam room” could cost less than the moniker suggests. “Remember that Mrs. Trump was a model and when you consider models doing makeup at shows, they’re not exactly in glamorous rooms,” says Blasingame.
Some interior decorators have estimated the cost of a glam room at upward of $50,000, with more extravagant guesses going as far as $1 million. (New presidents get $100,000 to decorate, but many have used private funds and spent more.)
When it comes to redecorating or renovating, “the White House has the best people you could hope to work with,” says Blasingame, who worked with Laura Bush when she redecorated the White House and had access to an electrical department, plumbers and even a carpentry shop. “You have everything you could need to create a room and it will happen very efficiently.”
Of course, the Trumps could find that it makes sense to just fund a glam room on their own dime. “The amount of time that is spent in the public eye requires Melania Trump to maintain her impeccable appearance on a semi-daily basis,” says Cheryl Eisen, a New York decorator who has worked on buildings developed by Trump. “A glam room is a professional necessity, not a place for glorified vanity.”
This story was originally published on MarketWatch.
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