by Moses Y. Bension
Anyone who has turned on Good Morning America knows who George Stephanopoulos is. His wife, actress Ali Wentworth, reviews their transition from 200‐year‐old Washington, D.C. brick Colonial Revival to prewar Upper East Side three‐bedroom apartment in this month’s Architectural Digest (some fifty‐odd blocks uptown of Brooke Shields’ new townhouse in the same issue). Wentworth’s new home features the work of Michael Smith, a more traditionalist designer famous for recently redecorating the White House. Smith’s use of colonial greens and blues, shades of beige, and stained mahogany, while not as colorfully layered as Shields’ townhouse, is definitely more appropriate for the historical sanctity of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In the opinion of a very reputable interior designer in the South End of Boston, however, Smith’s work is “dull, flat, insipid, tired, lackluster, mind numbing, and uninspiring.” The designer hadn’t seen pictures of their old place.
When CBS appointed Wentworth as co‐anchor of its short‐lived talk show Living It Up! and Stephanopoulos was still hosting This Week on ABC, the couple initially invested in a two bedroom apartment in midtown Manhattan. New York designer John Barman fashioned them an open plan with chrome midcentury chairs, abstract paintings on a paneled wall painted orange, and more chairs upholstered in more orange (of the Hermés hue) all in a bold colorful series of rooms that would overwhelm most preps.
The rooms (like the library overlooking Central Park) in Wentworth’s new home look more like those at the White House. Pieces like mahogany bookcases, a rust‐colored velvet covered sofa, antique Persian rug, and a Regency twin‐pedestal dining table with George III mahogany sideboard and chairs all contribute to a conservative look that, while more subdued, wouldn’t send your family’s equivalent of the Dowager Countess of Grantham running for cover. Smith’s incorporation of timelessness and tradition into his look has a certain comforting old prep appeal. After all, you wouldn’t upholster the chairs in the White House in Hermés orange.