House of Cards

Gazing at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

My interest in House of Cards has been reinvigorated by the plot twists in season four.  This season, like last season, Frank Underwood is the President, so he and Claire still live in the White House.  Even though the sets are the same as last year, now I care enough to write about them.

Let's take a closer look at this sitting room:

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 5 - A room that is symmetrical down to the horizon line in the art. 

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 5 - A room that is symmetrical down to the horizon line in the art. 

White House, West Side

White House, West Side

My first thought was, where is this room in the White House?  We have all seen pictures of the front and back of the White House, and have never seen a window of this shape. And secondly, why does it looks like Paris is outside?

Well, luckily the internet exists, and I was able to figure out that this is meant to be the west sitting room.  There is an identical window on the east side of the building.  

Now let's address the Parisian question:

The west sitting room faces a ginormous building called the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (formerly known as the Old Executive Office Building), and it is breathtaking.

This building was built between 1871 and 1888, which is just a few years after Haussmann's architecture reinvented the look of Paris.  The building contains more presidential offices as well as the office of the Vice President. 

House of Cards is not filmed in the White House (am I blowing your mind?), so this view is recreated on a sound stage using a translight image of the Eisenhower Building.  This means a massive photograph of the building was printed, taking into account the viewer's perspective from the west sitting room, and hung outside the set.  

I'm not quite as lighting savvy, so I'm not sure if the translight needs to be swapped out for nighttime scenes, or if lighting an be rigged to accommodate different times of day.  

Curiosity satisfied, this should be the end of the post, but then I thought, what if I added the word "interior" to my google search of the Eisenhower Building, and HOLY HELL!!!!!!!

Per wiki: Much of the interior was designed by Richard von Ezdorf using fireproof cast-iron structural and decorative elements, including massive skylights above each of the major stairwells and doorknobs with cast patterns indicating which of the original three occupying departments (State, Navy, or War) occupied a particular space. 

Indian Treaty Room

Indian Treaty Room

East Rotunda

East Rotunda

In conclusion, I get why Claire would want to sit and look out the window. 

Nouveau Americana - Revisited

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 4 - Frank Underwood traces his bodyguard's hand on the White House wall.....I presume he will be embellishing the drawing into a Thanksgiving turkey.

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 4 - Frank Underwood traces his bodyguard's hand on the White House wall.....I presume he will be embellishing the drawing into a Thanksgiving turkey.

House of Cards: Season 2

House of Cards: Season 2

In season four of House of Cards, Frank Underwood strolls through the White House reflecting on the time he, and the previous president, sat in elegant chairs and had a nice chat. 

Don't worry, Frank.  I remember.  I could never forget about those chairs.  

Mad Men Called

I enjoyed watching the phone call between Don and Megan from Season 7, Episode 7 of Mad Men because it is so obvious that THEY ARE IN DIFFERENT PLACES!

Mad Men: Season 7, Episode 7

Mad Men: Season 7, Episode 7

Don is in a ridged, dark, conventional world with heavy drapes and dark wood.  The chair he sits in reminds me of the chair in House of Cards.  It is very traditional, but with unexpected whimsical woodwork.   

House of Cards

House of Cards

Megan, on the other hand, is in sunny Los Angeles (a city very dear to me).  She is sitting in a cord chair in the sunshine, surrounded by west coast potted plants and a California color pallet.  Honestly, things haven't changed too much here. This is what it looks like.  

Nouveau Americana

Hose f Cards Season 2.JPG

In the second season of House of Cards, Frank Underwood and The President stroll the halls of the White House, and sit down for a brief chat.  

The chairs they sit in are remarkable.  The furniture in the White House is consistently stately and unsurprising, but these chairs have an unexpected Art Nouveau quality.  They arms of the chair connect to the back in a smooth loop.  The dark wood and caning are classic, and the added organic quality take these chairs to the next level.

If anyone has more information about them, I'm all ears.

House of Cards.JPG

House of Cards

Hahaha more like House of Amazing Bathroom.  Can I get a "What What"?! 

House of Cards - Season 1, Episode 5

House of Cards - Season 1, Episode 5

house of cards 105 2.JPG

Why yes, Kevin Spacey, I do want to get in that tub.  

I mean, just look at this place:

Claw foot tub on a raised platform

Classic white tile with dark grout, accentuated by a black stripe and decorative edge

Window with thick trim and dark shutters

Arched ceiling

One could only call the storage options 'ample'. 

So let's just face facts.  This is a great bathroom (if you aren't a shower person).