Biden's Office (Not Totally Political)
I don't know why this stuff is interesting to me, but it is - I kind of like to see what changes Presidents make. Obviously, he hasn't been in long enough to order anything new, but Joe Biden has done a bit of re-arranging in the Oval Office, and has selected a few items from both Republican and Democrat presidents - maybe intentional for unity, or maybe just based on personal taste.
Curtains: Made for Bill Clinton in 1993 by interior designer Kaki Hockersmith of Little Rock, Arkansas. Used throughout his presidency, and also by Donald Trump for the entirety of his.
Rug: Also made for Bill Clinton in 1993, also by Kaki Hockersmith, this is the first time the rug and curtains have been together since 2001.
Sofas: Made for George W. Bush in 2002, briefly used by Barack Obama during 2009, reinstalled by Donald Trump in 2017, retained by Biden (so far)
Desk: Made for Rutherford Hayes in 1880, first used in Oval Office by John F. Kennedy in 1961, also used there by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from 1977-1989 and Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump from 1993-present, plus, briefly, by George H.W. Bush for about 5 months in 1989
Wallpaper: installed by Donald Trump in 2017 - Barack Obama was the first to paper the Oval Office in 2009, prior to that, it was always painted a shade of white, except during Harry Truman's presidency, when it was painted light blue. Since Trump's paper has a fairly subtle damask pattern, as opposed to Obama's bold gold stripes, my guess is it was put up because the time needed to resurface the walls after removing Obama's wallcoverings was too long for him to wait to paint them back, so he stuck with paper.
Fireplace chairs (not pictured): gold upholstered, done for Bill Clinton in 1993, also briefly used by George W. Bush and briefly by Donald Trump.
Would be kind of cool if he'd take Clinton's striped couches out of storage, too, since he's so close to the 1990s aesthetic as it is. For whatever reason, Clinton's era is still the most iconic Oval Office look in my mind, its still what I picture automatically when I think Oval Office, possibly because so many movies released during that period depicted it in his style, even if they used a fictional President.
Major changes so far, he has ditched Trump's rug (which was made for Ronald Reagan in 1985 and briefly used by George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush at the beginnings of their presidencies), and Trump's blue striped fireplace chairs.
Honestly, considering the West Wing is essentially commercial office space and pretty heavily used, its kind of amazing this stuff stays in usable condition for as long as it does, especially with so many years in storage in between.
Maybe this will be interesting to one or two others.
facw last edited by facw
@ranwhenparked The Post had a reasonably detailed article about Biden's setup: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/20/biden-oval-office/
You've covered most of that, but it also touches on the artwork.
One new addition is the bust of Caesar Chavez in arguably the second most prominent position, just behind Biden's chair, surrounded by pictures of Biden's family.
Also I'm pretty sure FDR is not centered, come on guys:
The wallpaper just looks really dingy to me. It looks especially bad on the door behind MLK here:
Presumably lots of people closing the door by touching dirty hands to delicate wallpaper instead of using the knob.
@facw Looks like he's also picked a varied assortment of Presidential portraits - including some that have recently become somewhat problematic (Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln), in addition to Roosevelt, who's fairly non-controversial. A conservative Republican president would probably also be OK with the majority of those artwork choices. I'm from Delaware, and have spent lots of time in the President's neighborhood (lots of my customers), been by his current and former houses many times, and his tastes are definitely on the traditional-to-formal side - Georgian/Colonial Revival, which may account for some of it. Which is fine with me, because it suits the White House quite well.
For a room built in 1934, I think its kind of amazing it took until 2009 for it to be wallpapered, considering how big paper was in the '80s (I should know, I've had to peel it off literally every room in my house), but, it may not be the best choice for a room like that. Obama's was darker in color, maybe hid dirt better.
AestheticsInMotion last edited by
This is good oppo.
That said, nothing you or anyone says will convince me that those couches weren't picked up off the free section of CL.
@aestheticsinmotion That's what I'm saying - like almost everything else in America, the 1990s were better. Come on, this just looks rich.
Exage03040 last edited by
Cool tidbits on it.
I'm not an interior designer... So take what you will.
The desk and coffee table are fantastic.
The chairs, small tables and wall paper so so.
Those sofa's really don't work for me. Maybe they drag down the curtains and rug? I think those 3 combined just give it a really dated look.
That photo of the Clinton era still looks pretty sharp and also much brighter with the paint? A couple things swapped out and it would look good today.
DipodomysDeserti last edited by
@facw The Julio Cesar Chavez bust is an interesting choice. Good to see an Arizonan in the white house. The guy was an ag labor icon, but he was also very anti immigrant with a touch of racism and tried to basically form a cult near the end of his career.
fintail last edited by
@ranwhenparked Oof the wallpaper needs to go, stat - looks tired. I know Russians love wallpaper and all, but it doesn't work here. I like the idea of blue. I'm not exactly an interior decorator, however. I like the Clinton era pic more, too. The current sofa upholstery also looks a little tired and kind of 70s/80s, but not in a cool retro way.
ranwhenparked last edited by
@fintail you've got to remember the couches were picked out by rich Texans at the height of the early 00s McMansion era, if they look like something Lucille Bluth would have in her penthouse, there's a good reason for that.
fintail last edited by
facw last edited by
@ranwhenparked So a notification brought me back here and then I went looking, and honestly I think if I'm ever president, I'd go for a smaller rug. The wood actually looks nice (perhaps not as ornate as the look most go for):
ranwhenparked last edited by
@facw yeah, that hardwood parquet was put in by Reagan in 1982 and basically hasn't been touched since (the original floor was pine, which Kennedy covered over with sheet linoleum, after Eisenhower gouged it up badly with his putters and golf balls). It's the sort of durable material that should have been used in the first place. The first floor barely made it 25 years, the second about 20, and the third has lasted nearly 40 so far.
@ranwhenparked Those couches and drapes have to go.
facw last edited by
@davesaddiction Article in the Post today about the drapes (I'm not a fan): https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/oval-office-curtains-biden/2021/01/30/987f59b4-5f51-11eb-afbe-9a11a127d146_story.html
I'm not a fan of the couches either, certainly not as much as Kellyanne Conway:
fintail last edited by fintail
@facw That is nice, I'd choose that over the huge rug, kind of a shame it is covered. Reminds me of going to an estate sale in Vancouver BC maybe 10 years ago - not exciting 40s house, but it had beautiful inlaid hardwood floors. The house was typical of that area, slated for redevelopment as the land has insane value (probably the kind of place that sold for 40K in the 70s and today would bring 2.5MM), and I suspect it all ended up in the skip, sad.
And Kellyanne, such class and grace, real dignity, a perfect example of the regime.
@facw Gold decor = Trump
I'd get rid of as much as I could.
aremmes last edited by
tae last edited by
@facw I love homeowner's logic around wood.
buys expensive wood flooring
covers it with a rug for 30 years so that the sun doesn't discolor it
your-boy-bjr last edited by
MidEngine last edited by