The space became a very special sanctuary for the Kennedy family.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
October 2, 2018

With 55,000 square feet spread out over six floors, the White House had a dizzying abundance of rooms; 132 of them, to be precise. But when Jackie Kennedy became the First Lady and moved into the White House, two very specific rooms were still missing from the sprawling residence. Can you guess what they were?

A private kitchen and dining room! Why? So the Kennedys could have some much-needed quality-time as a family, in (relative) seclusion. "In 1961, Jackie Kennedy converted what had once been a guest room (known as the “Prince of Wales” suite) into a private kitchen and dining room for the first family’s private use. The suite’s sitting room became the family kitchen," writes Lauren Cahn for Reader's Digest. "Jackie, who once famously said, 'If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much,' must have felt it important to have the family together for meals. That said, the chef she hired was Rene Verdon...a sophisticated French American chef, whom it’s difficult to imagine preparing pizza and chicken tenders!"

The remainder of the suite, Reader's Digest reports, became their private dining room, which featured antique wallpaper covered in battle scenes from the American Revolution. Apparently, Betty Ford wasn't a fan of the violent imagery and had the walls changed over to a bold yellow. Who knew? You can learn more about The White House's interiors and furnishings at WhiteHouseHistory.org.

Eager for more Jackie O intel? Check 8 Beauty Lessons We Learned from Jackie Kennedy.