Later in life she mused that she might have studied architecture, so interested was she in the design and flowing layout of rooms as the primary blueprint for creating the interior furnishings of a beautiful home.
Jackie Kennedy came close to it in 1963.
Among First Ladies, three women drew out the sketch of room placement, exterior style and design and even some of the interior hardware of homes they would live in.
The second woman who was widowed by the assassination of her husband, Lucretia Garfield, worked with her distant cousins, the famous southern California Arts & Crafts architectural team of Greene & Greene in creating the renderings and overseeing the execution of her large home in Pasadena, California.
It was also as a widow that Grace Coolidge worked with architects in designing her own retirement home in Northhampton, Massachusetts known as Road Forks.It had unusual touches like a brass hand to serve as the front door-knocker and an entrance into the home on the second-floor with a modern winding staircase descending to a partially submerged first floor.
Perhaps the most ambitious, creative and beautiful of homes ever envisioned and executed by a woman who was a presidential wife was designed and built before she joined her husband in the White House, and which served as their home through his presidency and afterwards. It was the modernistic mesa-type mansion in Palo Alto, California close to Stanford University which Lou Henry Hoover helped to create, working closely with the architects on every detail of the building which is now used as the home of the college’s president.
The house Jacqueline Kennedy designed and saw built to her specifications was an indirect result of her great passion for riding horses, her favorite and primary means of regular exercise.
During the initial period of her husband’s presidency, the First Lady became famous for her “Thursday-to-Tuesday weekends,” away from the demands and scrutiny of living in the White House. She made these frequent stays away from the capital city at a rented home known as Glen Ora in Middleburg, Virginia.
An expert rider in both formal and informal manner, she joined the Orange County, Virginia Hunt Assocation. When it became known this was for foxhunting, there was a storm of protest from animal rights groups but as one who also respected animals, she quickly had her press secretary point out that no foxes were ever actually hunted to death but rather their scent was spread to lead on the hunt dogs, followed by the riders.
The two-year lease on Glen Ora, however, was not renewed by the owner who apparently resented the necessary changes made for security to her property.
Knowing she still needed a place to get away from Washington that was nearby and to continue her rigorous riding routine, she had her Middleburg friends Paul and Eve Fout search out and then purchase some property on her behalf, near the town Continue reading →
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