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Michelle Obama Picks Designer Michael Smith As White House Decorator

With less than a week before Barack Obama is sworn into office, Michelle Obama has chosen American designer Michael Smith to handle the traditional task of redecorating the White House.

“Laura Bush has been a wonderful steward of The White House and created a beautiful residence for her family. I look forward to adding our own touch to the East Wing and creating a living space where our family feels comfortable, happy and settled. Michael shares my vision for creating a family friendly feel to our new home and incorporating some new perspectives from some of America’s greatest artists and designers,” Michelle said in a statement.

Smith, a native of California, whose design style is described as “a delicate blend of European tradition and American modernism” has racked up numerous awards and is behind a bevy of exclusive interior furnishings including Jasper, a high end line of furniture and fabric. His clients include Stephen Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Brian Grazer, and Rupert Murdoch.

Some of the answers Smith gives to Domino magazine’s editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman hints at his down-to-earth sensibility and a little bit of design humor:

Needleman: Does every grand room need something humble?

Smith: Yes, and something brown.

Needleman: Yay or nay on fake flowers?

Smith: I love them, but they must be good ones and placed in areas where your perception is softened–not unlike on a movie set.

Needleman: How do you feel about the decorator-karate-chopped pillow?

Smith: That move should be punishable with a jail sentence.

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