The Oval Office, that room in Washington, D.C. where American presidents sit and pull the levers of international politics, has never been a particularly stylish place decoratively speaking. It was a fairly utilitarian affair until Pat Nixon injected an oval shaped electric royal blue rug into the mix. Ever since then each president–with the assistance of his not always very stylish wife and a well paid decorator–has done up and did over the Oval Office to reflect their own personal decorative tastes.We’re down with that. We genuinely feel that the got-damn president of the U-nited States of America ought to have an office in which he (or, perhaps one day, she) feels comfortable and relaxed and capable of making decisions that have global impact. We don’t even mind if a few of our tax dollars go towards funding a redecoration of the Oval Office, even if it is for an administration we don’t care for.
However, we got some issues with the latest tasteful, rigorously restrained, and totally taupe incarnation of the Oval Office. President Obama’s newly redone office is a cautious and almost frumpy sea of taupe with just tiny hints of blue on the sofa pillows and the table lamps sitting on the side tables in the seating area in the center of the room. Even the vertically striped wall paper fades away into visual obsolescence.
Your Mama well recognizes that in a time of war and economic austerity for the peeps of America–at least the ones who don’t work on Wall Street–it would have been wildly inappropriate to unleash a crayon box full of color in the Oval Office. This bizness, however, seems to Your Mama’s pea sized brain like decorating for the lowest common denominator. We smell a conscious effort by the Obamas and Mister Smith to create a set up and get up that would not offend voters–conservative ones in particular–so many of whom are eager as beavers to find a reason to knock the president down a notch or two and just might see something more stylish as a sign of uppity elitism and/or lack of connection with the common man. (Please note kiddies, that is not intended as a political statement, it’s our meaningless opinion of the day-core.)
As vanilla as it may be, the Oval Office’s new day-core is definitely more up to date and of this time than the wealthy grandma look of previous administrations. But honestly chickens, while everything is in good taste and (we presume) high quality, this looks like the sort of thing one might find in the lobby of an expensive business hotel.
All that said, what Your Mama really wants to know is what’s the shit with the fruit bowl on the coffee table? Do Michael Smith, the Prez, and his adviser peeps really think Benji Netanyahu, Nancy Pelosi, or General Austin are gonna reach down for a banana or a damn nectarine in the middle of high stakes meeting? Pleeze.
It should be noted that no tax payer money was spent on the overhaul of the Oval Office. The cheddar for the redo came from a pool of money created by private donations given specifically for the purpose of doing over the White House day-core.
photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times