Jackie Kennedy, Decorator Extraordinaire














I will long treasure my vintage Sept. 1961 issue of Life magazine detailing Jacqueline Kennedy’s restoration of the White House.  Working with curator Lorainne Pearce, Jackie searched each of the historic home’s 54 rooms and 16 baths for antiques needing to be catalogued and restored.  Several of the pieces you see her holding in these photos date back to the presidencies of Teddy Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams, and James Monroe (to name a few!).  She even unearthed and used Lincoln’s lavender-bordered dinner plates (“despite some chips and cracks”).  Always detail-oriented, she wanted younger generations visiting the mansion “to see what a fire in the fireplace and pretty flowers can do for a house.”  Of course, only Jackie could look this chic while moving furniture!

(images via Life magazine)

16 comments on “Jackie Kennedy, Decorator Extraordinaire

  1. Lena

    Is there anything more wonderful than the Life archives? And to think you have a copy-it’s fantastic! I always try to find more “Jackie” in my life.

  2. Lindsay

    Hmm maybe I should consider a sheath dress instead of my go-to Nike tempo shorts for moving projects ha!

    P.S so sorry I’ve been such a bad commenter lately, you and John looked absolutely adorable in your engagement shots! I really can’t wait to get engaged and have some shots of my own taken. I think I’ll splurge on the best photographer we can afford, the documentation will be worth it :)

  3. magnaverde

    Yes, Jacqueline Kennedy could look elegant even when she was hauling furniture around. But that’s really not a surprise. What IS a surprise is how handsome–even in the background, even in black-&-white–pine paneling can be when it’s treated with respect, rather than as something to be covered up as fast as possible with a coat of paint.

  4. Katie Armour Post author

    Kate — It’s okay love, I don’t either!

    Lena — Perfectly put! I think we all could use a bit more “Jackie” in our lives.

    Lindsay — Aww, welcome back! Thanks for your sweet feedback and it’s okay, I usually don running shorts for moving too.

    Could I Have That — If only we all could be legends…le sigh. : )

    Kelly Ann — I know, it kills me!

    Magnaverde — The pine paneling jumped out at me as well. It’s lovely.

  5. quintessence

    What great shots – agree with everyone else that she always looked so elegant – and what’s even more important – effortlessly elegant. Someone else (can’t remember who) just posted photos of Jackie’s wedding also from the LIFE archives- they were marvelous – classic and timeless – except for the somewhat dated bridesmaids dresses, the shots could have been taken today.

  6. Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, Interiors

    Katie, I adore this article! I so admire who for
    her strength, for her being such a great mother, and of course, for her beautiful taste.
    I even had my confirmation name, ‘Jacqueline.’ In honor of her… She will always be known for her amazing taste in fashion, design and she was and always will be an American icon.

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