Wisdom of Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Kennedy and King in Obama’s new Oval Office
The first family had a little redecorating done back at the White House while they were on vacation last week, just in time for President Barack Obama to make only his second nationally televised address from the imposing — and newly redone — Oval Office.
The presidential sanctum has been decked with new and reupholstered furniture, fresh paint and new, hand-painted striped wallpaper and a new wheat, cream and blue rug made of 25 percent recycled wool, the White House said.
In front of the fireplace, there are two mahogany armchairs that were used by President George W. Bush, but have been reupholstered in caramel-colored leather. The brown leather desk chair is new, as is the coffee table, made out of American walnut and mica. The somewhat casual-looking couches were custom-made in New York and covered with custom-made light brown cotton fabric with red, white and blue threads running through it. There are also two new table lamps with blue ceramic bases.
The rug, made and donated by the Scott Group, a U.S. carpet maker based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is of course Oval, with the presidential seal in the center. It features five quotations important to Obama. And, fittingly for a president who campaigned promising bi-partisanship, they come from a Republican president as well as three Democrats, as well as the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
* “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” from President Franklin Roosevelt
* “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” from King
* “Government of the people, by the people, for the people,” from President Abraham Lincoln
* “No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings,” from President John Kennedy, and
* “The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us,” from President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican.
The White House wouldn’t say how much the refurb cost, but said it was in line with what the last two presidents spent on their Oval redesigns, and noted that it was financed with funds from Obama’s inauguration committee and the White House Historical Association.
Photo credit: The redecorated Oval Office of U.S. President Barack Obama has new carpeting, wallpaper and sofas at the White House in Washington, August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst