Like any eager host ahead of a big event, first lady Melania Trump has spruced up a few things around the White House before welcoming the prime minister of Australia and his wife for the second official state dinner of the Trump presidency on Friday.
The first lady focused on refreshing some older features of the presidential mansion’s well-trodden Red, Green and Blue Rooms, which are heavily foot trafficked during near-daily public tours, according to the Associated Press.
“The White House does get a lot of wear and tear,” Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said.
McLaurin explained that some of the small improvement projects at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue were long overdue, like the Red Room’s wall fabric becoming “so faded it was almost pink” due to sunlight.
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“Those rooms should always look their very best and it was just very faded and really, really needed to be done,” he detailed.
In the Green Room, draperies were repurposed by switching the backside to the front, avoiding the cost of totally replacing the curtains, and given new fringe.
Throughout the last year, Mrs. Trump also has helped return several pieces of furniture from the Bellangé suite into the Blue Room, a project that former first lady Michelle Obama started in 2013. The Bellangé collection was brought to the White House in 1817 by President James Monroe and sold at auction in 1860. In recent years, the White House has reacquired 10 pieces from the original suite.
According to McLaurin, the rest of the set is essentially “lost to history.”
In the Diplomatic Reception Room, the main entrance off the South Lawn, the first lady designed a new rug with a border featuring the flowers of the 50 U.S. states. The item replaces an older carpet worn out by foot traffic, according to the White House Historical Association president.
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Other renovations completed under Mrs. Trump’s direction include the refurbishment of a Nixon administration-era bowling alley and restoration of the interiors in an elevator that transports the president to and from the private living quarters.
Moving forward, one future project on the to-do list includes reupholstering chairs and benches in the Diplomatic Reception Room.
Roughly half-a-million tourists visit the White House each year, aside from dignitaries and guests of special receptions at the historic home.
“Our family is grateful to live in this true symbol of our nation’s history, but we are even more honored to play a part in restoring and enhancing our country’s sacred landmark,” Mrs. Trump commented on living there at a May event.
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When President Trump and the first lady host Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife, Jenny, for an official visit and state dinner on Friday, the formal occasion will celebrate the two countries’ close friendship and shared history.
The event will be only the second state dinner Trump has held since he became president, after hosting France in April 2018.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.