The Oval Office Makeover — Shriek!

White House Oval Office during the administrat...
The Oval I visited, Pres. Clinton’s.Image via Wikipedia

Whose idea was this exactly?

The Oval Office has been re-done. Maybe by a blind person?

I’ve been there. Yes, I have, thanks to a friend of the sweetie who got us in when President Clinton was still in office and his vision of beauty was done by an Arkansas decorator who also trashed the joint.

It’s the Oval, people!

In the before photos, linked above, the walls are a soft butter yellow that matches the elegant damask-patterned sofas, and the pale rug complemented the gleaming wooden side tables. The lamp bases were porcelain, the coffee table (albeit underscale) also polished wood, formal and elegant.

OK, it was all a little Granny’s parlour for some, perhaps, but the new version is hideous:

upholstery so poorly done it puckers

sofa fabric so bland and neutral it adds no design elements

throw pillows so ugly they look like Home Sense rejects

a new rug that loses the subtle beauty of the earlier version, whose colors and forms echo others in the space

brutally plain lamp bases

a coffee table that looks like something suburban, 1983

the sofa’s shape is bizarre

hideous reddish leather on the armchairs

The space is formal in its design, proportion, scale, flooring, curtains, window shapes and materials. There are still 18th-century porcelain dishes on the tables (or replicas of same). The new look in no way relates to the shell that contains it. Nor to anything else in the room.

It’s the office of the President of the United States — not a suburban living room! Why does it now look like one?

I get to be this opinionated because I studied interior design at the New York School of Interior Design, where I learned — humbly — that creating a room that really works beautifully requires far more skill than simply slapping on new slipcovers and some striped (!) wallpaper.

What were they thinking?

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2 thoughts on “The Oval Office Makeover — Shriek!

  1. I would say that I am glad your visit to my blog led me to yours except… well, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit looking at the new oval office. My very first thought is Trading Spaces… and then I imagine Barack and Michelle being escorted in by Paige Davis, Michelle putting her fingertips to her temples saying, “Oh no oh no this is wrong,” and Paige doing that awkward thing where she looks at the camera awkwardly while trying to comfort the disappointed. Barack stands by with arms crossed, frowning, then walks over and examines a pillow. (And now I’m realizing I watched to much of that show.) Great blog!

  2. Too funny! As an HGTV addict, I know, I know…

    I looked some more at the photos and kept trying to find anything — anything! — about this room in its new form that I found beautiful, appealing or even an improvement. It’s just really hideous.

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