Obama's Oval Office Gets a Makeover

Renovations to the Oval Office, including a new carpet, drapes, wallpaper and furniture, are seen, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite
AP

More than a year and a half into President Obama's term, the Oval Office has been redecorated. Following a longtime tradition, the historic office has special touches reflecting the personal tastes of the occupant.

A new wheat, cream and blue colored rug (oval shaped of course) is at the heart of the makeover. The presidential seal is at the center of the rug, bordered by what the White House describes as "historical quotes of meaning to President Obama." Etched into the weave are five time-honored lines:

  • "The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself" - President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • "The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Towards Justice" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • "Government of the People, By the People, For the People" - President Abraham Lincoln
  • "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

The White House says the rug was produced and donated by the Scott Group, a Grand Rapids, Michigan carpet maker. The same firm made the Oval Office rug used by former President Clinton.

The new Oval Office furniture has a more modern look. The project involved some recycling as two arm-chairs previously used by President George W. Bush were reupholstered using "carmel-colored leather." The big desk chair that President Obama will use during tonight's speech to the nation was made in New York.

AP

New custom-made couches were also made in New York with light brown fabric that was woven in Pennsylvania.

Much of the work was completed while the first family vacationed at Martha's Vineyard. The White House says the non-profit White House Historical Association and a contribution from the Presidential Inaugural Committee helped fund some of the project.

The press office declined comment on the exact cost noting it was "inline with the amount spent by President's Clinton and George W. Bush" on Oval Office redesigns. A statement recalled Mr. Obama's immediate predecessors saw "a comparable level of redesign" with costs deferred by their inaugural committees and the White House Historical Association.

Don't look for the old Oval Office furniture or rug at any rummage sales. A spokesman notes, "They remain the property of the White House and will be placed in a storage facility." Oval Office rugs and other decor often end up in presidential libraries.

Check out more photos of the redecorated Oval Office below:


Peter Maer is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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    Peter Maer is a CBS News White House Correspondent.