By Ulysses Grant Dietz and Sam Watters with essays on architecture by Thomas Mellins. ISBN 978-0-926494-65-7. Copyright 2009. Hardcover with 304 pages including 350 color and duotone photographs and illustrations, notes, bibliography, credits, and index.
In this beautiful coffee table book, the first of three volumes on the history of the American home, the authors look at the president’s house in the context of American house design and decoration.
From 1800 until 1960, the president’s house kept pace with changing ideals of the perfect American house and garden. It began as George Washington’s dream of a country estate; a century later, when robber-baron palaces came into fashion, it became the imperial seat for the larger-than-life Theodore Roosevelt. In the 1950’s, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower enjoyed the middle-class life in the capital city, barbequing on the roof of the curving south portico. That ended when Jacqueline Kennedy redecorated the White House as a museum.