How else has Nancy Reagan spent that $822,641 raised by rich Republican friends last spring?
Aside from the $209,508 spent for new White House china, she's paying for a lot of not-so-liberal gilt. Several older pieces of White House furniture, previously abandoned in a storage room, have been brought out of retirement and spruced up with new layers of gold.
And she has a new custom-made coffee table for the yellow Oval Room to go with two Cene-signed French period chairs, worth an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 each, which had been regilded by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. You would have to be an expert to know the table is not an original.
Nevertheless, the White House is not accounting for how the money is being spent by Nancy Reagan and her favorite Beverly Hills decorator, Ted Graber. And since Ronald Reagan took office, the presidentially appointed Committee for the Preservation of the White House, which has oversight authority, has remained vacant, leaving Nancy Reagan and Graber with what seems to be the final say over what will and will not be done to the mansion's historic rooms and furnishings.
The public will never see most of their handiwork except in the December issue of Architectural Digest, the slick interior design magazine. In that issue, the magazine will publish photos of the Reagan's newly redecorated family living room done in yellows, their salmon and peach bedroom and the president's red and white office.
So exclusive was the assignment that a White House limousine picked up photographer Derry Moore at the British Embassy, where he was the house guest of his in-laws, British Ambassador and Lady Henderson. Married to the former Alexandra Henderson, Moore is a viscount and the son of Lord Drogheda, retired chairman of The Financial Times of London.