Stephane Boudin, a Parisian interior designer is well-known as the President of what is considered by many to be the world’s leading interior decorating firm in the 20th century – Maison Jansen. One of Boudin’s greatest projects as an interior designer was the restoration and renovation of the White House in the early 1960s.
Stephane Boudin was born in 1880. His father – Alexandre Boudin was a manufacturer of passementerie and trimming. It was while Stphane was working at his father’s textile trimming business in the 1920s, that he was approached by Jean-Henri Jansen, the founder of Maison Jansen. In 1925, Boudin got an assistant by the name of Monsieur Henry Samuel. Following Jansen’s death in 1928, Stphane Boudin along with Gaston Schwartz, took control over all Maison Jansen’s interior design and decoration projects. While Schwartz contributed aspects of modernism, Boudin was the traditionalist.
Boudin helped the firm win several new interior design projects by giving importance to historical accuracy and detail, and through his adeptness at creating spaces that were both dramatic and unforgettable. He efficiently schooled the firm’s young protgs, reviewed their work on a regular basis, and arranged trips for them to Europe.
The most significant order which Boudin received was most probably the one he got prior to his retirement – the order from Jacqueline Kennedy to work on the interiors of the White House (1961-63). Jayne Wrightsman – the woman who introduced Boudin to Jackie – was personally tutored by Boudin in French decorative arts.
Jacqueline wanted a touch of the international to be added to the American look of the White House, and Boudin was entrusted with the task of making this desire a reality. In addition, Boudin and Henry du Pont were enlisted with the duty of getting antiques, and of lending sophistication and thoroughness to the dcor.
Boudin mainly focused on the American Empire style when furnishing the Red Room of the White House. He included pieces made by Charles-Honor Lannuier, a cabinetmaker. In the case of the Blue Room, Boudin laid emphasis on furnishing it with furniture of the French empire style. The style for the Green Room, namely the Federal Style, was chosen by Henry du Pont, influenced by Boudin. Boudin also introduced changes in the dcor of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room.
Another important interior design project which Boudin was entrusted with in his lifetime was to completely change the famous Leeds castle into a stylish country residence. It was the last private owner of the castle – Lady Baillie who entrusted him with this task.
Stephane Boudin retired in his seventies and passed away in 1967 – his successor was Pierre Delbe.