President Barack Obama will address the nation tonight from an Oval Office that underwent a top-to- bottom redecoration while the first family was on vacation.
Furniture was replaced and re-upholstered, new wallpaper was hung and the trim was repainted. Obama also swapped the carpet put in by former President George W. Bush with one of his own choosing, ringed with historical quotes.
Some of the new furnishings will be on display tonight when Obama speaks from the Oval Office in a national address to mark the transition from a U.S. combat role in Iraq.
While the Obamas spent 10 days on Martha’s Vineyard, parts of the White House wing where the president and his top advisers have offices were covered in tarp.
The tarp was gone when the Obamas returned, and today in a statement the White House detailed changes made to the Oval Office.
Presidents typically redecorate the Oval Office and other rooms at the White House after they are elected. Bush put a yellow sunburst rug with a blue presidential seal, designed by his wife, Laura Bush, at the center of the Oval Office.
Obama replaced it with a “wheat, cream and blue” rug that keeps the presidential seal in the center and adds along the border five quotes “of meaning to President Obama,” the statement said.
Obama picked comments from Presidents John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, and one from Martin Luther King Jr.
The White House statement said all the additions to the office were made in the U.S.
The rug was made by the Scott Group, a custom carpet manufacturer headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The new striped wallpaper was made in Amagansett, New York, and the president’s new brown leather chair, ceramic table lamps, couches and walnut coffee table were made in New York.
Paint for the trim was from Montvale, New Jersey-based Benjamin Moore & Co., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Berkshire’s chief executive, Warren Buffett, is an Obama supporter who met with the president last month to discuss the economy.
The White House declined to say how much the redecoration cost. It was paid for by the non-profit White House Historical Association with funds from the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which paid for Obama’s inaugural celebrations.
The White House said the total cost was “in line” with the amounts spent by former presidents Bush and Bill Clinton.
Not changing is the desk, the Resolute, which was made from the timbers of a 19th-century British whaling ship and given to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 by Queen Victoria.
The five quotes chosen by President Obama for the Oval Office
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” –
President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“Government of the people, by the people, for the
people.” – President Abraham Lincoln.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends
towards justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” –
President John F. Kennedy.
“The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon
the welfare of all of us.” – President Theodore Roosevelt.