The first lady’s office says the “project will be funded through donations to the White House Historical Association”
Dr. Jill Biden is settling in and redesigning her East Wing office, with the help of interior designer Mark Sikes, after a year in the White House.
The first lady’s office told The Washington Post in a recent statement that Biden “spends a great deal of time in her East Wing office, and is looking forward to personalizing the space to more reflect her working style, where she can hold larger meetings and host guests.”
The White House said that “In line with prior practice, this project will be funded through donations to the White House Historical Association.”
Perhaps sensitive to the optics of such work, the first lady’s office also noted that while some of her predecessors ” immediately come in and make changes to the areas where they spend the most time, Dr. Biden had not focused on this to date, between her travel across the country, teaching, and her issue portfolio.”
Sikes reacted to the news on Instagram, sharing a photo of the first lady and writing that it was “an honor of a lifetime and I am both humbled and thrilled.”
“To create beauty has always been my passion and I’ve also come to realize it’s my purpose,” Sikes wrote. “Thank you to The First Lady, her team, and to those who came before her and those still to come.”
Sikes describes his projects as “timeless,” noting on his website that he “known for all-American sensibilities and a fresh take on classical aesthetics.” The designer, who is the author of the book Beautiful and More Beautiful, often uses a traditional blue-and-white theme in her work.
Joe Biden and his wife spoke with PEOPLE in their first interview as president and first lady last year about how the White House had already begun to feel like home.
“The residence staff has been so great, trying to make it feel like home for us. We have family pictures all around, our books, some furniture we brought from home,” Dr. Biden said at the time.
Since then, the first lady has undertaken a few design projects at the White House, including the traditional holiday decorations, themed around “Gifts from the Heart.”
According to the 2021 tour guidebook, decorations in the East Wing included “iridescent doves and shooting stars illuminate the hallway, representing the peace and light brought to us all by the service of frontline workers and first responders during the pandemic.”