I do not talk politics here. I actually try not to talk about it anywhere if I can help it. I tend to keep my thoughts (and I have a lot) to myself (mostly), but I do talk about design! So with that in mind, the new White House designer has been named. Tham Kannlikham is a Laotian American born woman about whom not much is known. That's interesting because our new first lady has not picked any other staff members besides a Chief of Staff, and doesn't even seem that interested in living in the White House. It is costing taxpayers of New York about 1 million dollars a day for security in the city. I understand that public tours of the People's House have been suspended because of so much uncertainty. That is really a shame!
But I digress ~ back to Tham. She is 40 and grew up in Stockton, CA. Her website is private, just for clients. She has not been published. Her Instagram account is private. Her Linkedin account sparse. She therefore has almost no social media footprint, but all that privacy might have been a selling point for Melania. Tham did however get her start at Ralph Lauren Home, went to school at The Fashion Institute of Technology for a time and has studied classical architecture. She has clients around the world, and her experience lies in the decade long study of American Architecture and the Decorative Arts.
The Obamas, you may remember, tapped Michael S. Smith to do the private rooms and oval office when they entered the White House. I loved the Obama's bedroom. It's warm, elegant, traditional, but updated and calming!
The Oval office under Obama~
The Oval office under George W. Bush ~
The Oval office under Clinton ~
If you look at pictures of the oval office today, you see Bush's sofa, Clinton's curtains and Regan's rug back in place. I suppose the Obamas wanted their pieces for the new home as mementos or for his future library.
Asked how she felt about her most public design job to date, Tham responded, “I am honored by the opportunity to be working with the First Lady to make the White House feel like home.” Huh. Tham will also be responsible for redoing the private bedrooms, the President's Dining Room, Truman Balcony, and the Treaty Room.
I guess everything won't be sparkly and shiny and 24 carat gold. We'll report back when we know.
photos of Oval Office via Vanity Fair, portrait Sean Zanni