Whimsy goes beyond the walls with Michael S. Smith, whose portfolio of interiors includes America’s arguably most important home: the White House. Appointed decorator by the Obama administration for the 2009 White House redesign, Smith—who studied at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and apprenticed for revered antiques dealer Gep Durenberger—steeped himself in references both historical and personal to the Obamas, transforming the space into one just as fit for state dinners as the more intimate gatherings favored by the young first family. Since then, Smith continues to shape residences ideal for entertaining, from Shonda Rhimes’s suitably lush and fanciful Upper East Side apartment, to his own modernist Los Angeles home (where he hosted Jane Fonda’s 80th birthday party). Here, Smith shares the items in his own home that bring joy—and where he loves to go to get away.
DAILY UNIFORM: Todd Snyder corduroy pants and suede jacket, Libertine pants, or Dries Van Noten.
FOR WALKING: Converse in every color known to man, or Asics.
WRIST CANDY: Rolex Daytona.
SUITING: Libertine or Madrid tailor Calvo de Mora.
EYEWEAR: Jacques Marie Mage.
SKIN CARE: Face Place Honey Almond Scrub.
COLOGNE: Czech & Speake No. 88.
HAIR CARE: California Born Days of Dirt.
AROMA: Cafe Society candle by Frédéric Malle or a Rigaud Tournesol candle.
RECENT ADDITION: Chinoiserie wood paneling (Féau Boiseries).
ON DISPLAY: Vesuvius, 1985 by Andy Warhol; Untitled, executed in 2013 by Hugo McCloud; and a Claude Lalanne mirror.
THE UNEXPECTED: Bronze bust sculpture by Charlie Smith.
ON THE TABLE: An orchid arrangement from Inner Gardens or roses from Rose Story Farm.
BEDDING: Matouk, Biscuit, Muse, or Anichini.
WINDOW TREATMENTS: Blackout shades.
TABLE SETTINGS: Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti candle holders, Elsa Peretti silverware, Alberto Pinto dishes.
IDEAL HOST GIFT: Alberto Pinto dinnerware, service set of 16.
READING: The Age of AI by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher.
WATCHING: Hacks, The Crown, Money Heist.
LISTENING TO: Theta waves 6 Hz to calm my brain.
MORNING CUP: Equator Coffees the French Laundry blend with milk.
POWER SNACK: Good Culture cottage cheese, almonds, or a hardboiled egg.
INDULGENT DRINK: Clase Azul Reposado tequila.
TO GO: Goop Kitchen in LA.
BEST STAY: Hacienda de San Antonio in Colima, Mexico; Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, India; J.K. Place in Paris.
LUGGAGE: Away or Goyard.
IN THE CARRY-ON: iPad, phone, eye mask, international converters.
ALWAYS PACK: Metamucil Fiber Wafers.
AIRPORT OUTFIT: J.Crew pants and a Ralph Lauren jacket.
TRAVEL-DAY FOOTWEAR: Clarks Wallabee shoes.
IN-FLIGHT DRINK ORDER: Tea.
ENTERTAINMENT: I’m working or catching up on sleep.
INSPIRED BY: India. Every time I go, I like to visit somewhere new to discover the history and really indulge in the charm of the people.
PERFECT VACATION: Mallorca. Most people think of Mallorca as a resort island, which it is, but I enjoy going to some of the lesser-known towns. It reminds me of Rome: beautiful architecture, narrow streets, and modern cafés and restaurants.
DINING OUT: Ca Na Toneta in Mallorca.