White House entry halls

Last night I had the opportunity to tour the White House for the first time and see all of the holiday decor.
Everyone knows this iconic building and the history is taught to school children the country over. I was embaressed to admit I had never visited given that it's a mere 4 blocks from my apartment!
Everyone says their first impression is that it's small, but that was not mine. It's a BIG house! However, I thought it felt sort of institutional and not residential at all, did anyone else ever get that impression? It could have been the crowds of tourists that led me to feel this.

Today I'm going to show some of the details I noticed in the entrance and cross halls - probably my favorite parts of the house; certainly the most elegant that I was able to see.
The space was dramatically lit, which probably helped my impression! I loved the uplit tree branches in the oversized urns.
The first of many trees greets you, flanking the colonnade.
I thought these drapery rods were unusual and interesting!
A portrait of Bill Clinton above an empire daybed sits on the right of the entry beside the fireplace -certainly a place of honor?
Across the entry hall from the fireplace is the grand staircase where we have all seen pictures of our many presidents before formal occasions, draped in poinsettias for the season.
Directly across the hall from the front door is the seal of the president over the blue room. As the hall is relatively monochrome, it really makes a statement!
The cross hall was probably the most beautiful room in the house. The pink and white marble checkered floor really gleamed in the light. No wonder so many presidential press conferences are held in the East Room with the hall as a backdrop.
I think these photos say more than a thousand words on how multiple lighting sources create a good effect!
A detail of the urns.
These chandeliers which line the cross hall really are stunning!
More poinsettias drape the entry to the State Dining room.
The mouldings are all intricate and obviously well cared for. They could have been made recently -no gloopy paint in sight!
Behind the main staircase was this empire settee. Now, the White House is full of Empire furniture, which I'm not a huge fan of -does anyone know why? A piece or two mixed in is great but a whole house full?
A bust of George Washington lies in the niche between the entrance hall and state dining room.
On the opposite side of the Cross Hall, Lincoln lies in the niche right before the East Room
Lafayette is in a niche in the overdoor of the beautiful cherry doors which lead to the back staircase.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more interiors from the White House!