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US Presidents Office Interiors

Posted on Wednesday, 23 April 2014


The Oval Office inside the White House is the US Presidents formal workspace. This is where he meets and confers with the heads of the state, diplomats and other dignitaries. When a new president assumes office, it is not uncommon for him to renovate the Oval Office to suit his taste. In fact, nearly all presidents do a mini-makeover when they come in. They change the paint, put in a new rug on the floor, get different drapes and do most of the stuff that an average person does when he moves to a new home. In this post we take a look at the changing face of the Oval Office during different Presidencies and how each president added his own touch to the White House decor.
Oval rooms became popular in eighteenth century neoclassical architecture, and it is likely that the architect of the White House, James Hoban, was influenced by the elliptical chamber of an Irish Mansion called Castle Coole. Here is a hand-tinted photo of the first Oval Office, designed by Nathan C. Wyeth for President William Howard Taft in 1909.



William Howard Tafts Office in 1909 (White House Historical Association)

Warren G Harding s Office in 1923 (Library of Congress)

Calvin Coolidges Office in 1925
It can be said that from Howard Taft(1909) to Herbert Hoover(1933) the main decor of green rug, dark green drapes with eagle valances and olive green walls remained pretty much the same. When Franklin D. Roosevelt joined office in 1933, he redecorated it with a blue-green rug and gray green walls.

Replica of Franklin D. Roosevelts Office in 1933 (Roosevelt Library)
During Franklin Roosevelts Presidency, the office was moved to the southeast corner of the West Wing in 1934, and this is what the modern office looked like:

Franklin D. Roosevelts Office in 1936 (Wikipedia)
Harry S Truman in 1945 changed the tint of the room to grayish and his desk was famous for a plaque with a motto that read: The buck stops here.

Replica of Harry Trumans Office in 1945 (Trumans Library)
Dwight D. Eisenhower assumed office in 1953 and though he did not change the decor much

Dwight Eisenhowers Office in 1956 (EisenHower Library)
he showed his taste in paintings.

(EisenHower Library)
The John F Kennedys Oval Office was redesigned by Stéphane Boudin in 1963 with a new red rug and pale curtains but it was dismantled after the Presidents assassination, before Mrs. Kennedy returned.

John F Kennedys Office in 1963 (JFK Library)
Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy and used his rug and curtains temporarily but he did not use the Resolute Desk.

Lyndon B. Johnsons Office in 1963 (White House Historical Society)
He later changed the rug to gray.

Lyndon B. Johnsons Office in 1968(Johnson Library)
President Richard Nixon started out with Johnsons decor

Richard Nixons Office in 1969 (NARA)
but he later changed to a Navy blue rug with gold drapes.

Richard Nixons Office in 1973 (NARA)
During Gerald Fords presidency which started in 1974 he opted for a pale gold rug with blue florettes and pumpkin drapes with gold curtains.

Replica of Gerald Fords Office in 1976 (Ford Library)
Jimmy Carter assumed office in 1977 but he carried through with Fords decor.

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US Presidents Office Interiors
The Oval Office inside the White House is the US Presidents formal workspace. This is where he meets and confers with the heads of the state, diplomats and other dignitaries. When a new president
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