Glen Ridge decorator and author, Coleen Christian Burke, as well as Baristanet contributing artist Jen Lange of Bloomfield, helped turn The White House into a “Children’s Winter Wonderland” this holiday season.
Coleen Christian Burke was part of a team that decorated the White House for First Lady Laura Bush and is the author of Christmas With the First Ladies. She was chosen again this year as Design Partner for the White House Christmas 2014 decorations with the First Lady Michelle Obama’s chosen theme of “A Children’s Winter Wonderland,” and asked Lange to help.
“Part of the First Lady’s vision was to make books come to life for children. I turned to Jen for help in the East Room. We wanted to make snowy paper dioramas creating snow scenes in the East Room (the biggest room in the White House, holding up to 330 guests). I described to Jen the type of scenes the First Lady envisioned and she created some amazing artwork. We went back and forth on the design elements and how to bring them together,” explains Burke.
Burke began working on the decorations last March until the week before the unveiling when the decorating team works off site at a warehouse for two days, and three days on site at the White House. Lange did all her artwork from her home in Bloomfield.
Lange created four Dioramas made from paper cutouts depicting winter scenes, which served as centerpieces on the mantels in the room. The duo then took it a step further by incorporating the paper art into 45 book ornaments for the trees, which the Montclair Public Library and the Glen Ridge Library both generously donated. “Everyone kept the secret — it was great!” shares Burke.
“The First Lady loved the final product and so have the children who tour the East Room,” says Burke who adds, “As a thank you, Mrs. Obama invited the decorators to the first holiday party of the season. I was so happy that Jen was invited as well. The President’s Band plays carols, the First Lady thanks everyone for their hard work and the decorations sparkle. It was amazing!”
HGTV aired a special about the decorators and decorations last night. See the photo gallery here.