Mayor de Blasio and his family have finally settled into Gracie Mansion, six months after taking office and after weeks of Park Slope stoop giveaways. Now, it turns out that the federal style home is getting a modern update, courtesy of West Elm.
The Gracie Mansion Conservancy announced that the furniture retailer was donating pieces to the home: "The Brooklyn-based company will provide furniture to update the Conservancy’s collection, ensuring Gracie Mansion is a modern and comfortable home for generations of First Families to come, while also retaining the building’s unique historical legacy."
First Lady Chirlane McCray said, "Gracie Mansion will always be the People’s House, but Bill, Chiara, Dante, and I are excited to call it home. With assistance from West Elm, we are honoring and preserving one of the nation’s great historic residences, while turning Gracie into a modern living space that fits our family. We’ve moved to a new borough, but we brought some Brooklyn flavor with us."
On West Elm's blog, Front and Main (a nod to their DUMBO headquarters), creative director Vanessa Holden wrote:
Some of our favorite design projects involve working with families. New families expanding, older families downsizing, college students in dorms or recent graduates just starting out (or moving back in).
That’s why we were so excited to work with Mayor Bill de Blasio, the First Family of New York City, and the Gracie Mansion Conservancy as the First Family embarks on their exciting move transitioning from a Park Slope row house to one of the most iconic homes in our city and the official residence of the Mayor of New York, Gracie Mansion. Built in 1799 overlooking the East River, Gracie Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home is rich in history and design details, and while the public spaces of Gracie Mansion will remain unchanged, the family’s private rooms needed some thoughtful and purposeful consideration to make the residence comfortable for a modern family.
The First Family’s move represents many of the same challenges all families are faced with - and some that are uniquely special (for one, as is well documented, the entire family is VERY tall). The family has two teenagers — son Dante is living at home full time and daughter Chiara is home often from college — a shared study for the Mayor and First Lady, common areas shared by the entire family as well as a more formal sitting room for visitors.
There are also pictures of the redecorated rooms, one of which shows framed family photos.
Meredith Horsford, Executive Director of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy said, "We are grateful to West Elm for their assistance in updating Gracie Mansion’s private rooms so that they are ready to once again serve as home to New York City’s First Family. Since the donation will remain in the Conservancy’s collection, it will be available to future mayors and their families for years to come."
— Carrie Melago (@carriemelago) July 30, 2014
The Daily Politics notes that the value of the donation is unclear. Based on a quick survey of West Elm products, a couch was listed as "assembled in the USA," a media console was "imported" and a rug was "made in India."
The company says, "We maintain high standards of ethical sourcing, and we work to make sure that our partners share our commitment to socially responsible practices. We only work with people who provide safe, healthy working conditions for their employees, and whose businesses meet local laws, best industry practices and our company's standards. We strictly prohibit child labor, prison or forced labor, unsafe working conditions and unfair wage practices. We take our responsibilities seriously."