With Nancy Reagan's passing this weekend, the country is remembering her work to fund Alzheimer's research and battle drug abuse — as well as her 50-year support of her husband, Ronald Reagan. Along with social and health causes, the First Lady also made an important impact on the country's most famous home: the White House.
Two decades after Jacqueline Kennedy's renovations, the Reagans moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and discovered a state of disrepair. The plumbing and wiring were old-fashioned, the floors needed work, and the draperies were "falling apart," according to the Reagan family's go-to designer, Ted Graber.
Thanks to the First Lady's careful attention to detail and decidedly good taste, the White House underwent a 1981 renovation that helped restore the residence to its former glory. While the public criticized the costly redecoration, she actually secured most the $1 million budget from private donations instead of government funds.
"This house belongs to all Americans," she once told Architectural Digest. "And I want it to be something of which they can be proud.''
See some of Nancy Reagan's lasting legacy below.
While the former actress was known for Hollywood glamor, Reagan strove to make the White House a cozier family residence for her husband and two children, Ron and Patti.
Working with Graber, Reagan refurnished the First Family Bedroom with hand-painted Chinese wallpaper, a golden mirror, and marble mantle.
The president's study, for example, was filled with family furniture — the couple even dined in there off of tray tables.
Reagan retrieved warehoused White House antiques, which were refinished and used in other rooms.
The First Lady turned her attention to the second- and third-floor rooms, like the solarium (pictured), Queens' Bedroom, and Yellow Room.
Besides wearing red (it was a definite favorite of hers), Reagan decorated state rooms with the intense shade. Here, she's fittingly photographed in the White House Red Room.
In the decade since the Johnson service came into use, state dinners had grown so large that presidential china would be mixed to accommodate all of the guests. Reagan chose her signature color for the new set, and while critics condemned the whopping $209,508 bill, private donations funded the entire Lenox service.
The most visible change definitely came in the briefing room. The Reagans added its quintessential blue curtains and White House seal — proof that their movie set experience paid off. The same decorations remain today, several presidencies later.