The First Lady’s (not so) Extreme Makeover

1203442974The new Architectural Digest arrived at the office last week. Always the paragon of design journalism for the rich, famous, and occasionally tasteful, the magazine portends to be the last word on all things indulgent. But while we love its shameless swank, we have to admit we read the cover story with some bemusement.

It seems a well-known D.C. mansion recently got an overhaul, thanks to its female denizen and a few sawbucks from you and me.

Our courageous First Lady initiated the five-year-long Whitehouse redo because, she says, “I like houses, and I like decorating.” Hey, so do we! Laura gave us further insight into her design qualifications by explaining that her father built spec houses (read: McMansions), “for all those people in the oil business, and when we drove around Midland, he would point them out and say, ‘I built that one, and I built that one.’”

Trust us: We’re not ones to scoff at a nice project, especially when the house has a notable past. But why, with all the recent foreclosures, would Laura Bush open her house up to Digest now? Our only conclusion: As she heads into post-Administration retirement, she wants to give back to the American people. In her case, this means offering some recession-proof decorating pointers.

Great idea, Mrs. Bush. After all, doing a house on a budget is something we can all relate to, especially after all that wild government-sanctioned gambling. Laura’s downturn-proof tips include replacing some old stuff with some new stuff, ripping out that oh-so Ford-era wood paneling, using colors like bronze and ecru, adding lighting over the bed, and replacing some overstuffed furniture with some other overstuffed furniture.

“We knew what he wanted,” says Laura about pleasing the man in the Oval Office. “We knew he wanted it to be a sunny office that showed an optimist worked there.” We, the eternally optimistic, hope that the recent renovations lead to a complete government overhaul as well.