Monday, March 17, 2008

Architectural Digest - March Edition in Poor Taste?

Does anyone else find this months issue of Architectural Digest showing a newly redecorated White House on the cover and comprising some 16 glossy pages of Laura Bush's decorating talents, to be offensive, in very bad taste, and an incredible case of bad judgment on behalf of the AD editors?

With hundreds of thousands of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure due to corporate greed and incompetent money management and a blind eye turned to the whole mortgage market by this administration until it was too late, is this really a good time to show off the extensive overhaul of the White House's interiors?

The economy is in the toilet - we are stuck in a war of ego's in Iraq, major banks are going belly up. Should a publication as influential and established as AD take these things into account when planning their content?

I wonder what the young men and women coming home from Iraq think when they see an article featured like this? Are they happy that the home of their commander in chief is finely decorated to his personal liking? Is it important to them that the families personal movie theater be updated to provide more seating? Do they stay up at night worrying that some of the furnishings and accessories in the Lincoln bedroom are not historically accurate for the period. For Shame!

Ok, I realize that virtually every administration that has taken possession of the White House has been tasked with maintaining its historic interiors and some have taken it upon themselves to revamp much of the space during their tenure. However, for an administration that has been waging a questionable war practically since inauguration day, was interior decoration such a pressing need?

To me, a lifelong Republican (not so sure anymore) it is just another glaring example of this presidents total ineptitude and inability to see the facts right in front of his ( and hers - the first lady) face. I am embarrassed to have even read the article.

What do you think?


By the way in other breaking Architectural Digest news:

Architectural Digest is conducting open auditions for new residential designs and interior decorators. The Los Angeles audition will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 26-27 at the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood.

Courtesy - San Francisco Chronicle


Linda Merrill said...

Well, one might make the argument that AD in itself is offensive because it shows only the most extravagant interiors in a time of housing woes and war. Otherwise, it's the responsibility of current inhabitants of the White House (whether or not we like them or voted for them) to take care of the interiors. I believe that the costs are covered by a non-profit entity, established by Jacqui Kennedy. Her stunningly beautiful and lavish interior renovations were done during the onset of the Vietnam War, which everyone would agree was a debacle that costs many, many more lives than have been lost in Iraq. I personally think it's best to keep the politics out of such things - as the White House is a national monument and house museum that needs to be maintained accordingly as well as a home for the family living there. Whether or not we like them should be irrelevant. Just my 2 cents.

Unknown said...

Hi Linda,
I can see your point of view and I did state that every president has made modifications and left their mark on the White House. You are correct that it's not an issue about money because it is paid for by a historic society. I guess I just feel like it was bad judgment by AD to print it at this time with so much going wrong in our country. I'd like to believe that there is more important work going on in the white house! Thanks for your opinion.

Unknown said...

Politics aside...I thought the oval office was ugly. The previous two decorations were so vibrant.

Anonymous said...

you are so angry at AD and yet you spend time writing a decorating blog, which is all about surface value. what would happen if you spent those hours volunteering at a VA hospital or a Red Cross or other civic organization? what would the value of that amount to? shame on you for judging someone else for doing the same thing you do everyday. window curtains, or autographed copies of design directories, really - are they so important when things are 'in the toilet' as you say? if you are this concerned, perhaps you should refocus the purpose of your blog and recommend to people that they save their money and wait to make unnecessary purchases until the economy is a bit better. and to be clear, corporate greed mongers did not force millions of americans to sign papers at the escrow table. owning a home has always been a personal choice and an individual act. its a personal responsibility to manage your own money, to decide how much of a house you can afford and when you can actually afford it and it's payments. the management of government funds are separate from your personal funds, and it should always stay that way since we happen to live in a democracy and not a socialist state. why should the government bail you out every time you made a mistake? please. people have lost all respect and understanding of personal responsibility. if you took responsibility for your own thoughts, words and actions, you would not be so concerned about what other people are doing all the time. simple solution - immediately cancel your subscription to AD. don't read it. send it back. it is simply information relayed to you through an interior design magazine, nothing more. what else are they supposed to write about? maybe when that new book comes out with your window dressing designs, they will publish an article about it and you will have a link to it on your blog so we can all read it. right after we watch the news reports about the daily death count for american soldiers in iraq. get real. you write a design blog. stay out of politics, its not your best talent.

Unknown said...

Hi Angel, Thanks for responding.

I talk about a variety of subjects here on my blog all of which catch my attention and have some personal meaning to me. I have a lingering respect and admiration for AD as I grew up with it as the be all and end all of design supremacy. I am simply pointing out that I think they made a mistake.

I do disagree regarding the notion that a design blog is only about surface value. The environments that you live in, work in, and spend your free time in have a direct and profound effect on every aspect of your life. Also, whether or not I volunteer my time or give to charity has no bearing on the subject. I am not asking AD to solve the nations problems - I am merely stating that I think showing our first ladies newly decorated diggs at a time when many are suffering was bad timing and in my opinion in bad taste. It smacks of propaganda to me.

By the way, if you know anything about publishing you will know that profits from the types of books I write are minuscule. I write my books to help spread the knowledge I have acquired over my 20 years in the business to students and other interior designers. I am trying to make a contribution back to the industry that I have been lucky enough to be a part of.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you, it was certainly in poor taste. But I highly doubt they considered that when selecting their layout. Afterall, they wanted an article that would sell the magazine. And perhaps someone actually purchased a copy just so they could see for themselves where our 'commander and chief' lives luxuriously while others struggle to make ends meet thereby making AD's decision to feature such a story worthwhile.


Cemaya said...

I have to admit to admiring the Lincoln Bedroom, done very graciously and if historically correct so much the better. Agree on the Oval Office very dull and bland so uninspiring. I would want the White House to be properly maintained. We are a very young country and preserving our past does not seem to be what we currently do. Tear down and rebuild is our motto, which is unfortunate.

As for AD having poor taste to show this.... well it is in their right to showcase what they want; wartime or not. And as far as being a Republican I have decided I am conservative with some liberal tendencies. Whether or not you approve of the current president is a personal choice and we all know his approval rating has been in the toilet for quite some time now.

HOBAC said...

Honestly, never really gave it a second thought. And now I think about it, no I don't think it was in poor taste. It is what they do, and are supposed to do.
If anything, I think it was a much needed boost to the American morale.

While I agree with some of Ms Martin's points, I don't understand the need for her aggressive and dismissive tone. It could have all been said in the same spirit the original post was offered. No?

Red River Interiors,LLC said...

A lot of what you say is very valid. I do believe with the financial crisis we're in there could have been other features presented other than the White House with such an unpopular president near the end of his term. As far as the mortgage crisis I worked in that industry and know everyday people had great difficulty understanding much of the paperwork they signed and how much and fast their monthly payments could increase. Most of the loans people got into (ARM's) were not designed for people with regular jobs and regular pay checks. These loans were designed for people that receive the bulk of their income in a lump sum... i.e. realtors, sales people. Wall Street knew it..ask Allen Greenspan. He even admits it. But, ARM's were pushed and hyped onto people in their pursuit of the American dream....Also what happened to ratios and verificatin of earnings? People didn't qualify in most cases even with an ARM and lenders knew it and turned a blind eye. The Bush administration cares absolutely nothing about middle class working people. That's where most of us live. Blogging serves lots of purposes...too many to mention.
I'm in touch with people I may never meet and learn from daily.
Jackie, thanks for brining the AD issue to light. I found your take on the matter interesting and insightful...Keep writing... Fay

Unknown said...

Delia & HOBAC

Thanks for understanding that my comments where not meant to be taken so seriously.

RRI, Very interesting take on the Mortgage mess. I agree sometimes people need to be protected from themselves. Left to their own devices this is what happens!

Cemaya, I agree about the oval office - UUGGGHH

Anonymous said...


thank you for posting and responding to my comment. i didn't think you would actually post it and i'm a little shocked to see it unedited. beauty and culture mentioned my tone was aggressive, and it was. i don't think i intended to personally attack you and am sorry if i offended you in any way. your response to me was handled better than my response to your original post. i still hold firm on my opinions and statements with exception to interior design being surface value. you are correct, our homes and surroundings do affect us everyday and deserve careful thought and consideration. i cannot agree that the AD article is propaganda. they probably just ran out of celebrity renovations to showcase and filled the space with a White House article they've had for months. either way, i simply see nothing offensive at all about the article or a constant respect for the White House and it's current state - no matter who the sitting President may be. but i respect your choice to post my comment in full and handle your response without negativity or attitude, even though my tone was a bit harsh; this is your blog and you can do what you want with it. ironically, i actually like it/you more now.

Anonymous said...

As a former soldier (who served under this president), I can tell you that a White House redecoration isn't the kind of domestic issue that we find demoralizing.

And as far as the cost goes, it would seem extravagant for one of us to spend that kind of money on a private residence, but it's a pittance compared to defense spending (which is a pittance compared to all of our social spending). It is also not strictly a private residence, but a public treasure.

I completely understand your emotions about this. As someone said, Jackie Kennedy was lambasted for undertaking major renovations during the Vietnam war, and Nancy Reagan was harshly criticized for wanting a matching set of china for state dinners (shameful!).

As for AD...I think they took their finger off the pulse of good design (and good taste, perhaps) a while back.

Mélanie said...

I can see with the comments that your post hasn't left anyone unconcerned and I think that means it is a GREAT GREAT post!
I understand your idea and your purpose ! Even if some readers took it seriously , I read in your post that sometimes it is a little bit too much to read about a glamour presidence where our poeple are suffering !

katiedid said...

WOw...don't get me started. I may never stop. This administration may go down as the worst in American history, but as I said, I better not start. Regarding what AM said, some of which may be true, the fact is that the average homeowner has no clue what the paperwork is they are signing. Who can really sift through all the legalize in a leasurely way when the realtor and escrow people have you in their office saying "sign here, and here, and here"! And it is very true that the companies pushing these loans had no intention of educating these people. The loan pushers got bonuses based on how many "suckers" they could sign up.

AND For all AM knows, you DO in fact volunteer your time for charity causes. Your blog is to voice your own opinion about whatever you want to. And if AM doesn't like it, she can choose not to read it, just like her suggestion that we not buy AD.

Re: AD. They may have had this story in the works ever since the Bushes took possesion. Don't they do this for every administration? I don't think for the Bushes that any time would have been better than any other. They may have even waited til things looked a tad bit brighter on the Iraq horizon. Who knows.

I did find it a little funny though that you mentioned the open AD auditions at the end of the post. ;)

teaorwine said...

Does the fact that AD markets to a "high-end customer" make a difference?

Anonymous said...

War criminals seldom do things in "good taste". I wonder what Bushie will do with his jail cell?
Worst president EVER!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you.
If Laura felt like she needed to do some redecorating, she should have gone over the the Walter Reed Hospital and spruced it up. For the residents of the White House to be living in uber-luxury while wondered soldiers are hospitalized in mold and vermin is a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

jackie - you are an idiot. seriously