When New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray decided to pack up their current residence and move to the Upper East Side's Gracie Mansion, they had one thing in mind—a little piece of Brooklyn must come with them.
And that it did. Brooklyn-based home furnishings retailer West Elm was chosen by de Blasio and McCray to redesign the private spaces of Gracie Mansion.
“Gracie Mansion will always be the People's House, but Bill, Chiara, Dante and I are excited to call it home," said McCray. "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."
Chiara, Dante, Chirlane and Mayor Bill de Blasio
Upon returning from their family vacation to Italy, the First Family moved in on July 28 after West Elm Home Stylist Johanna Mele and her team completed the project, which included three bedrooms, a formal sitting room, a shared office for the Mayor and First Lady, as well as a den and sewing area in the attic.
“West Elm is thrilled to work with the First Family of New York City and the Gracie Mansion Conservancy to redesign the private spaces of Gracie Mansion,” said Vanessa Holden, Creative Director of West Elm. “We partnered with the First Lady to create spaces that are beautiful and functional, using a base of calming neutrals with accents of rich colors and global influences. Together, we worked to maintain and highlight the integrity of Gracie Mansion, while reflecting the personal style of the First Family. West Elm's furniture and accessories have been donated to the Gracie Mansion Conservancy and will remain in the historic residence for future First Families. As a Brooklyn-based company, we couldn't be more excited to be a part of this historic move, bringing a bit of Brooklyn style to the First Family's new home.”
The design process was a true partnership completed over the past two months. The formal sitting room features a large sectional sofa with accent pillows that highlight the colors in the room’s classic wallpaper. Box frame coffee tables ground the space, accent chairs are updated with new pillows and the room is tied together with a natural jute rug.
The office features matching Mid-Century desks, Mid-Century task lamps and desk accessories as well as a Cadiz Rug and a built-in bookshelf. In the attic, West Elm’s Retro Tillary Sofa creates a seating area along the entire wall that can be transformed into beds for guests. A gallery wall featuring family photos anchors one end of the room, and a seating nook can be used for meals or reading. Lastly, an unused space in the attic was transformed into a sewing area adding storage and workspace.
This is the first time Gracie Mansion has been redecorated since 2002, when former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg enlisted interior designer Jamie Drake to refurbish it in period antiques with a budget of $7 million.