Susan Davis reports on the transition for the Wall Street Journal.
Interior designer Michael Smith will be in charge of helping the Obama family make the White House a home, the transition office announced Tuesday.
Michelle Obama selected California native Smith, who studied interior design at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and launched his own design firm in 1990. “He takes particular pride in his family-focused clientele and approach,” the announcements states.
“Laura Bush has been a wonderful steward of The White House and created a beautiful residence for her family,” Obama said in a statement, “I look forward to adding our own touch to the East Wing and creating a living space where our family feels comfortable, happy and settled.” She added that she wants the White House to have a “family friendly feel” that will incorporate “new perspectives” from American artists and designers.
Smith noted the Obama’s “casual style” and said he will be “utilizing affordable brands and products” in the residence.
Affordable furniture chain Ikea is already lobbying for a role in the redecorating effort with an “Embrace Change ‘09” ad campaign blanketing Washington, D.C. metro stops.
Ikea is also featuring an Oval Office replica inside Union Station in Washington, D.C. decorated with—you guessed it—Ikea furniture. The ad campaign also launched a Web site with a count-down clock to when the Obama family moves in and a solicitation to “speak out and let the president know your suggestions for fiscally responsible home furnishings.”