When President Obama addresses the nation Tuesday night on the end of combat operations in Iraq, it will be from a newly decorated Oval Office.
It's common for presidents to make personal touches to the Oval early in term and while Mr. Obama and the first family were vacationing on Martha's Vineyard workers painted, put up wall paper, laid a new rug, and moved in new couches, chairs, lamps, and reupholstered furniture.
While the White House has not released the cost of the updates, a statement released by the press office said it was "in line with the amount spend by Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush on the redesigns of their Oval Office" and that funds paying for the redesign would come from Mr. Obama's inaugural committee and the White House Historical Association. The inaugural committee fund is also being used to pay for the design cost in other White House rooms including the Yellow Oval Room, the Center Hall and the West Sitting Hall.
According to the White House, all the existing furniture now in the Oval Office will remain the property of the White house and will be place in a storage facility.The White House gave the press corps a peek of the room ahead of the president's address.
Some details about the updates as provided by the White House:The rug, which is of course oval in shape and has the presidential seal in the center, is wheat, cream and blue colored and made of 25 percent recycled wool. Around its border are five historical quotes selected by President Obama. They include, "Government of the People, By the People, For the People" from President Abraham Lincoln, who Mr. Obama frequently references and whose bust has sat in the Oval since President Obama came into office; President Theodore Roosevelt's "The Welfare of Each of Us is Dependent Fundamentally Upon the Welfare of All of Us"; President Franklin D Roosevelt's "The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself"; President Kennedy's "No Problem of Human Destiny is Beyond Human Beings"; and from Martin Luther King, Jr. "The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Towards Justice."
It was donated by an American carpet manufacturer in Michigan - who also made President Clinton's Oval Office rug - and replaces the one designed by former first lady Laura Bush. That yellow rug, for which he often publicly praised his wife for designing, had radiating strips out from the presidential seal which former President Bush frequently said reminded him of sunrise.
The two couches are new, somewhat casual, custom-made in New York. The light brown fabric that covers them was woven in Pennsylvania. They are separated by a new more modern rectangular coffee table, made by a New York company of American walnut and mica.
The wing back chairs which flank the fireplace have been reupholstered from the blue and yellow stripes of the previous administration, to a caramel colored leather.
And there are two new table lamps, produced in New York, with blue ceramic bases.
Finally, the walls of the Oval Office have been covered with striped wallpaper, handmade and producer in New York. The trim around the room was re-painted with American-made Benjamin Moore paint.
Many items remain including the painting of George Washington over the fireplace, and the Resolute Desk, used by Presidents Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama. The desk chair behind the desk is however new, brown leather, produced in New York.