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Why Did West Elm Just Redo de Blasio's Mayoral Mansion?

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NYC mayor Bill de Blasio is moving into the city's historic Gracie Mansion—the "little White House" that became the official mayoral estate in 1942—but not before outfitting the circa-1799 estate in ... $65,000 worth of donated West Elm furnishings. It, of course, is a controversial move. First of all, NYC's former long-time mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has come out against a mayor moving into the mansion at all ("If a mayor lives there then what they're doing is they're costing this city a lot of money and depriving the rest of the city of one of the greatest facilities any city has"), nextly, it's West Elm, which is nice and all, but ultimately a purveyor of factory-manufactured, on-trend side tables and credenzas. "They have some nice products," local interior designer Erika Flugger weighs in, "but I wouldn't recommend using it for a landmark."

For its part, The New York Times mentions the fact that, before its West Elm makeover, decorators removed its 1690 Dutch-inspired cupboard and "century-old chandeliers." Still, the mansion's foray into inoffensive, affordable decor isn't looked on with distaste, but rather as a reflection of the de Blasios' "unpretentious style" and "populist image."

So what, exactly, is inside? Midcentury-style sofas and "striped accent beanbags" and other "pleasing, if generic" finds chosen straight from the retailer's Chelsea showroom. In all, the plain-jane aesthetic is one that's leaps and bounds from the $7M renovation Bloomberg commissioned in 2002 from superstar designer Jamie Drake—for one, there's nary a wink of the Federalist style Drake was mandated to stick to, nor any mention of the mansion's "circa-1830 Zuber Les Jardins de Paris wallpaper or great paw-footed, Lannuier sideboard," which Arch Digest once reported. Check out more photos, over at The New York Times.

· De Blasios Swap 300-Year-Old Antiques For West Elm at Gracie Mansion [Curbed NY]
· Décor at Gracie Mansion Now Fits de Blasio's Style [NY Times]
· How Gracie Mansion Became New York's 'Little White House' [Curbed NY]