Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jacqueline Kennedy's White House Bedroom

If you haven't seen the movie Jackie staring Natalie Portman yet, run don't walk. It is incredible! The acting, costumes, and interior design are certain to be award winning.  I have always admired Jackie Kennedy's elegant and timeless pale blue White House bedroom and dressing room, and I loved seeing how it was painstakingly recreated in the movie.

In 1961, Jackie began her highly documented restoration of the White House. Collector Henry Francis du Pont was consulted on the antiques and interior designer Sister Parish for the decor. After clashing with Sister, Jackie brought in French designer Stéphane Boudin to make adjustments.  According to Architectural Digest, Stéphane found Sister's ideas much too "bourgeois" and redesigned everything. He designed luscious silk draperies with extravagant trim, and he suggested a new headboard, painted wood in a Louis XVI style. All traces of Sister Parish were erased from Jackie's dressing room. However, the transformation was interrupted by President Kennedy's assassination.  For the Jackie the movie, production designer Jean Rabasse consulted extensive documentation, blueprints, and archival photography to recreate the White House as it was showcased in the 1962 CBS tour.

Jackie's dressing room, as redesigned by Stéphane Boudin. Jackie added the leopard throw.
Photo: Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Library via Architectural Digest

Costume designer Madeline Fontaine brought Jackie’s iconic style to life for the film. Examples of the fashionable pieces—and signature hats—favored by the first lady line the dressing room.
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures via Architectural Digest

There are some fascinating images at the White House Museum that capture this exquisite dressing room pre-Boudin. What a transformation!

For the movie, Rabasse worked with Tillett Textiles to reprint the floral fabric that graces the curtains and headboard in Jackie’s bedroom.
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures via Architectural Digest

Photo: Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Library

Tillett Textiles’ Daisy cotton print, created for Jacqueline Kennedy’s bedroom.

Jackie's fabric samples, via Picture of Elegance

The Jackie production team sourced pieces in London, Paris, Belgium, New York, and Los Angeles. “You can't imagine how far we went in the details, even in the moldings and the paintings,” says Rabasse. “We had copies or scans of every painting.” The sitting area of Jackie’s bedroom is shown here.
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures via Architectural Digest

The sitting room by Sister Parish, 1961. 
Photo: via Picture of Elegance, Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Library

Boudin rearranged the sitting room in 1962. 
Photo: via Picture of Elegance, Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Library

For Jackie's bath in the movie, Rabasse wanted to create a feeling of intimacy. “We had a transparent mirror, so she's alone in the set, but we film her through the mirror. It creates something very strong.”
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures via Architectural Digest

I also loved seeing President Kennedy's bedroom in the movie recreated with a four-poster and the original fabric.
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures via Architectural Digest

JFK's actual bedroom, via White House Museum.

To see more of Jackie's White House, please click here to watch her famous tour, which was broadcast on Valentine's Day, 1962.


  1. What a gorgeous bedroom and dressing room and so the blue and white and the chaise...stunning! Hope you're having a great week!

  2. I remember watching that White House tour in 1962. Her voice was so breathless and, well, vapid sounding. I was surprised, but she had so much more strength and substance than the wispy voice inferred. She did more for the White House decor than any first lady since that time. She begged, borrowed and bought as much presidential furniture and art as she could possibly find, and made it a home worthy of admiration and respect. I'm so happy to see that bedroom/dressing room, as I always thought it was cool and elegant, just like its occupant. What a pity that she didn't get to stay and enjoy it.

  3. Wow, Really it's a great interior design. I like this design. I wanna decorate my home like this.

  4. Interesting post!
    It will be fun to see if Mrs. Trump brings in a decorator.
    I loved the Pablo Larrain film too- Natalie was superb as Jackie!

  5. What a great post!! It's wonderful to see the original rooms juxtaposed with the movie sets.

  6. I love this! The movie was excellent. Thank you for this post! xoxo


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