We've long been fans of White House decorator Michael S. Smith's refined aesthetic that blends classic and modern while infusing laid-back elements from his native California. So naturally, we've been poring over his new book, The Curated House ($37; amazon.com), in which he shares the design philosophy behind a few of his lust-worthy spaces, from his own house in L.A. to his decadent Manhattan digs (sadly, his impressive 2010 makeover of the Oval Office is not included). In each, "there's a kind of ease, a happenstance and looseness that allows people who live [there] to breathe," he writes. "I always say if you can't put your kid's fingerpainting up or decide you want to buy duck decoys, then someone's done a bad job. Nothing should be so precise or right that you can't liven it up." Apparently, even POTUS agrees.
Below, three nuggets of décor wisdom from this inspiring book.