In another house, such admirable objets might serve to intimidate; here they do not. The room is meant to be enjoyed by family and friends who would easily graviate toward the pleasingly plumped settee (“slip-covered for the dogs”) of recent manufacture. A quartet of Brigit Riley Op Art prints and an enormous custom coffee table with requisite art books scattered above and below its clear Lucite contours, tempt guests to relax, perhaps to confide an “out of school” tale or two, much as Joe and Susan Mary Alsop might have done in Camelot’s heyday with JFK, Sir Harold Macmillan or Lady Diana Cooper.
The Daniloviches only reluctantly discuss their own entertaining on the premises, although it is hardly a state secret that they recently had President and Mrs. Bush to dinner. In the end, however, there is little need for cover when a convoy of limousines and Secret Service vehicles descends on a public street in broad daylight.
“It was just the two of us and the two of them plus our two sons and one other couple,” John Danilovich reports, referring to the evening as “unobtrusive, informal and casual” — although he notes “a discussion of world affairs was unavoidable.”