Inside the private residence of the white house
The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen BrowerA remarkable history with elements of both In the President’s Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.
America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family.
These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.
Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.
Once or twice a decade, on an often bone-chillingly cold day in January, Americans are riveted by the public transfer of power from one president to the next. Behind the scenes, however, this peaceful ceremony is accompanied by an astounding number of complex logistics. The hum of White House activity starts even earlier than usual on Inauguration Day, with workers coming in before the break of dawn. By the time their day has come to an end, a new era in American history has begun. On the morning of the inauguration, the president hosts a small coffee reception for the new first family.
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Adorned with an unprecedented array of 20th- and 21st-century artworks, their private quarters remain an oasis of civility and, yes, refined taste in a political arena so often bereft of both. Obama in praise of the Los Angeles—based decorator, who has collaborated closely with the First Family during their tenure in Washington, D. With less than two months to make plans before the Obamas moved into the White House, Smith had to hustle. The Smith-Obama collaboration progressed in much the same way as any typical designer-client relationship. Smith began by sending the Obamas various design books—his own included—which they notated extensively. Still, for all the talk about the comfort and ease of a young family, the Obamas and Smith were acutely aware of the symbolic resonance of any changes they made to the White House. That immersion process extended to phone calls with Nancy Reagan and a lunch with Lee Radziwill , Mrs.