Monday, 28 July 2014

An alternative view of the White House

I recently posted a picture on my Instagram account of a room I had created using The Sims 3 and was rather surprised at the positive reaction. I was flying to Barcelona and decided that this was the best way to spend two hours without Internet access. By the end of the flight I had created a rather nice Sitting Room which would have taken much longer to draw by hand. 

I must confess that in my teenage years I was rather obsessed with this game; Looking back it was really my way of expressing a desire to make beautiful rooms and creating my 'dream home.' Whilst many of my friends were using the game to create families and experiment with the different ways to kill Sims, I was only ever interested in building the perfect house. In recent years however, I rarely get the opportunity to indulge in my guilty pleasure, so the flight was the perfect chance for me to be sixteen once again. 

It has to be said, in my humble opinion, I really cannot think of a better tool for virtual house/interior design. The game really is very well designed for this purpose with excellent graphics and realistic, detailed objects such as windows, wall coverings, ornaments, furniture etc. For the amateur especially, it is a great way of seeing how a room will look before spending money and ultimately not being pleased with the end result. 

Today I thought I would share with you a project that I completed back in 2012, the 'White House' created using the The Sims.  I have provided floor plans of the House so that you can see the layout of the House and to show how rooms correspond with each other. 

On the ground floor of the House are the formal State Rooms. These rooms are used for official entertaining and are also open to visitors. On the first floor are the Private Apartments that are used by the First Family. As you will see from the floor plans, the White House is rather a successful house in terms of it's layout. Although it is a large residence, it does not feel empty or 'rambling' and this is because it flows beautifully from room to room.

 It was Jacqueline Kennedy who first sparked my interest in this house. I had always admired her style, beauty and grace and when I learnt that she was responsible for transforming the White House into mostly what we see today, I was further impressed by her enthusiasm and passion for creating a sense of history. Mrs Kennedy not only restored the entire interior of the house, she also created new legislation that protected the contents of the house for future generations; Previous to this Presidents could come and go as they pleased taking furniture, paintings and objects with them when they left. Mrs Kennedy knew the significance of the White House to not only the people of America but also to people all over the World who viewed America as a strong power. Within a year of occupying the residence, the Kennedy's had succeeded in creating a symbol that Americans could be proud of. 

The State Rooms

The ground floor plan showing the easy movement of the layout. The Entrance Hall and Cross Hall are the centre point for the rooms, connecting the East and West wings of the House.  The enfilade of State rooms along the South portico interlink creating an accessible  space for large state events and functions. 

The Entrance Hall and Cross Hall as it is today. 

The Entrance Hall and Cross Hall replicated using The Sims. As you can see the Staircase is not exactly the same as the original, this is due to the limitations of the game. You will also notice that roof is missing! This is to enable me to show the rooms as best as possible.

Another view of the Cross Hall. The door directly ahead leads into the State Dining Room.

The Green Room as it is today, shown here decorated in Festive regalia. This is probably my favourite room of the house, I just love the green and pink combination. 

The Green Room created using The Sims. Again limitations of the game mean that matching colours to the original can be tricky. However I have stuck to the original layout of the room with the focal point being the fireplace. 

The Blue Room. This room is in the centre of the house and has an oval shape. It is famous for it's high Empire Style interior.           

The Blue Room replicated using The Sims

The Red Room is famous for it's collection of Fine Art. This was my main focal point for my reproduction. You can download hundreds of custom content for The Sims and many specialise in classical objects. You may recognise a famous Gainsborough in my version.

The Red Room reproduced. As you can see I have included an abundance of artworks to give a feeling of grandeur.

Another view of the Red Room

The State Dining Room is used to hold large dinners and many important guests have dined here. Usually, the room is filled with round tables instead of the large dinner table shown above. 

The State Dining Room showing the level of detail that The Sims can provide. Each place setting has a wine glass, champagne flute and full Dinner Service.

The East Room is the largest room on this floor and spans the entire depth of the house. Whilst the Kennedy's were in residence this room was used for lavish entertaining on the grandest scale with members of the arts being honoured guests.

The East Room as replicated using The Sims. It does not really quite convey the level of grandeur of the original!

The Private Apartments

The First Family have a beautiful suite of rooms on the first floor of the White House as shown in the plan above. As with the ground floor, the Center Hall runs across the length of the house with the rooms accessible from it. There are not many pictures available of these private rooms as they are today, however there are many showing how the rooms looked during the Kennedy administration.  When replicating these rooms on The Sims I really designed them to look how I would have them if I was in residence!  However some of the rooms are replicas of the originals.

I could not find any pictures of the Center Hall on the first floor so my reproduction will have to suffice. Here you can see the length of the hall and how the rooms run off it in a pleasing manner. Mrs Kennedy is seen here walking to her Bedroom.

The Yellow Oval Room sits directly above the Blue Room on the ground floor and is used as a formal Sitting Room. The image above shows the room as designed by Sister Parish for the Kennedy's. 

My version of the Yellow Oval Room

At each end of the house there are little 'Sitting Halls' serving the East and West Bedrooms. The above Sitting Hall is in the East Wing and serves the Queen's Bedroom. Laura Bush is shown above relaxing in the beautiful, sunny interior.

The East Sitting Hall replicated using The Sims. 

Perhaps my favourite Bedroom in the White House - The Queen's Bedroom. The palette is so pretty with it's hints of ballerina pink, pea green and oranges. Certainly fit for a Queen.

The Bedroom recreated using The Sims. 

This Bedroom was designed by Sister Parish for Mrs Kennedy in the 1960's. It is testament to the superb design that this room still looks chic today. 

Mrs Kennedy's Bedroom recreated using The Sims. Although not an exact replica, I did stick to the colour scheme of cool blue. I had found a Toile du Juoy wall covering and could not resist using it for this room.

I hope that this rather unconventional tour of the White House has been enjoyable and somewhat educational. For me personally, discovering the layout and interior of famous residencies has always been a source of fascination. I suppose that the main point of this post was to show that there are many different ways to put one's creative energy to use and that you don't necessarily have to be a skilled artist to transfer ideas into reality

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