Michelle Obama says she had ‘own space’ in White House to ‘hide out in sweatpants’

Michelle Obama also wanted the White House to be a place where her daughters could feel like home

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Former First Lady Michelle Obama is opening up about what her main priority was when she first moved into the White House back in 2008: ensuring her daughters, then 7 and 10 years old, grew up in a space that felt like a real home.

In the foreword for Michael S. Smith‘s new book, Designing History: The Extraordinary Art & Style of the Obama White House , Obama outlined how the interior designer helped her create the home of her dreams, even while living under extraordinary circumstances.

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Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama arrives on stage at an event at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School on December 03, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

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“Immediately, he understood that we were a young family with two little girls who preferred Crate & Barrel over antique credenzas and a grandmother who bristled a bit at any whiff of pomp,” she wrote in the book that came out Tuesday. “But we were also the Obamas: the first Black residents of the White House.”

Obama felt the pressure of that significance and their place in history.

“The pressure on any First Family is enormous. The pressure on the first Black one would be even greater. Michael never lost sight of that,” she wrote. “He made sure our values and vision for America—one based in inclusivity and a love for all of its people—were reflected in every detail of this remarkable home.”

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“Home was a specific place, with specific people and specific memories,” continued the 56-year-old. “But more than that, it was a specific feeling. It was comfort and warmth and security, an enveloping richness of our family’s story.”

Smith’s other high profile clientele includes A-listers like George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Shonda Rhimes. Former Architectural Digest Editor in Chief Margaret Russell is a close friend of his and also contributed to the book. 

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