Recently I read an Elle Decor article that asked the question, Trump vs. Clinton: Who Will Decorate The White House Better?. It reminded me of how much interest there is about how the new president and their spouse will redecorate the White House. But why all the interest on the interior when far more people see the exterior?
I'd like to see our future president take my top down approach and make at least one major improvement to the exterior. After all, the White House is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and represents America to the rest of the world. It's exterior must communicate the spirit of the county and its exterior must have international "curb appeal".
Built in 1793 the president's mansion was designed by James Hoban. It has been home to every president of the United States since John Adams was in office. I would like to see the next president take the building back to its original roof, which was slate.
Slate provided a solid roof overhead protecting the first family for more than 100 years. In the 1880s during the building expansion (when what would eventually become the West Wing was added) a metal roof replaced the original slate. The metal roof has since been repaired and/or replaced many times including during the major refurbishments of the White House during the 1920s and late 1940s.
Metal may have been thought to be a better choice than slate during earlier times but that is no longer true. Besides no one ever "oohs and aahs" over a metal roof.
By upgrading to a DaVinci Roofscapes slate roof the White House will benefit from the technical advancements that make it a long-lasting, eco-friendly and overall great choice. Plus the residents, staff and public will benefit from a roof that is beautiful as well as one that is rooted in the building's history.
As for color, originally the roof was a dark gray that was almost black. For today, I'd go in a similar direction with Smokey Gray. This would upgrade the look of the building while being true to James Hoban's original vision.
And in case you're now wondering about what I'd do with the exterior color - I'd keep it white! The color white is symbolic and deeply connected with our identity as Americans.
Here is a fact about the white that I think you'll find interesting. Many think that the White House was first painted white color during the restoration after the British burned the building in 1814. While it was coated with white at that time it was not the first time.
The original color of the White House was white. According to the White House Historical Association, when the walls were finished in 1798, they were whitewashed to keep the porous Aquia Creek sandstone from freezing in winter. It has been repainted white ever since.