Ikea Decor

Not to be outdone by Pottery Barn, Ikea is offering to allow you, dear reader, to decorate the Oval Office (in the form of a 3D model) with furnishings from Ikea.

I chose an ivory and red motif that, I think nicely accentuates the grand piano I gave the president in place of a desk.

Pottery Barn Decor

Us magazine is reporting that Michelle Obama and Michael Smith will decorate the family quarters with items from Pottery Barn. Now, maybe I’m stupid, but how much pottery can the first family need?

The article also mentions that the first kids will have to do “chores like pouring milk on their own cereal.” I don’t think pouring milk qualifies as a chore if it doesn’t first involve milking a cow.

New floor plans

You may have noticed changes to the new floor plans on the mirror site. Pete and I are in the process of revising them for best accuracy—which has sometimes involved laborious new scrutiny of photos and historical diagrams. And we have decided to change the tops of the walls to white.

The east wing is coming, as is the sub-basement; and eventually all the floor plans will have white wall tops.

White House Revealed

Everybody’s getting into the act…. Now The Smithsonian channel is premiering White House Revealed on February 16, President’s Day in high definition and narrated by Martin Sheen. From the commercial, it seems to focus on the staff.

Also, I’ve added some more pics from the C-SPAN documentary.

WHM goes international

In addition to my interviews with Japanese TV, Pete Sharkey’s 3D model of the White House appeared on Austrian television…! From Wingnut’s Workings:

On Inauguration Day I had the honor and pleasure of having my White House model of the Residence and Wings used by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation for their coverage on January 20th.

Congratulations to Pete!

Japanese TV Q&A

I was contacted a couple of days ago by Japanese TV and have since exchanged a few e-mails and taken 3 phone calls. They’re very curious about Barack Obama, especially the food he likes and how much money he can spend on various things.

I’ve written published elsewhere [warning politics] about the lousy pay in the federal government, but I didn’t have anything on WHM about the president’s pay. So, as part of my prep for their questions, I rewatched Gary Walters’ interview on C-SPAN from awhile ago and then added a couple of Q&As to the Q&A page about the president’s accounts and the running of the White House.

Please correct me if I’ve made any mistakes or left anything out.


I want to acknowledge those kind souls who have contributed recently to the upkeep of the WHM.

  • Dennis
  • David
  • Logan
  • Casey
  • Glendon
  • Faerie’s Finest
  • Rodney
  • Daniel
  • Rick
  • EL
  • Paul
  • Janet

I wish I had bitten the bullet and upgraded the site to its own server for January. There was only a real crush of visitors for three days or so, but I’m afraid many new visitors were disappointed that the site didn’t load quickly. WHM never actually went down, tho (thank you, GoDaddy), and the mirror was always available and will continue to be until I’m sure it’s no longer necessary.

For reference, the site typically gets about 13,000 page views a day. That ramped up to 30,000 in the week before the inauguration. The 20th and 21st saw about 120,000 page views each, with the 22nd seeing 83,000. It’s now ramped down to 46,000, altho the mirror shot up to around to 25,000 since I added a link to the front page of the main site.

Hopefully along the way we’ve picked up a few more regular White House enthusiasts. I noticed that Pete’s Facebook group White House Fanatics has nearly reached 100 members now. Hurray!

Obama and Jefferson West Wings

I added diagrams of Jefferson’s west pavilion and east pavilion from Latrobe copies in The White House: An Architectural History (Ryan/Guinness).

Also the NY Daily News has more of Pete Souza’s pics of Obama on Inauguration Day and ID+1. No photos are showing up on WhiteHouse.gov, which is a real disappointment. They are apparently being funnelled directly to a handful of news services, some of which aren’t distributing them because they don’t want to eat the White House’s dog food.

New West Wing ground floor plan

Pete has completed the new ground floor of the West Wing, and I have posted it. Like the others, it is terrific.

I’ve shrunk all the new diagrams to a greater degree (still keeping them all the same scale) so they fit better on the pages. Still, they don’t fit on a standard 1024 x 768 screen, requiring users to scroll vertically (the old diagrams were small enough to fit completely on a 1024 x 768 screen). Let me know if this is a problem or if the greater size makes for a better experience.

White House wedding bells?

I don’t normally pass along celebrity “news” or, for that matter, any news at all except as it relates to the WHM website, but….

In a weird White House convergence, E! Online is reporting that Elisabeth Moss—first daughter Zoey Bartlet on The West Wing (and Peggy Olsen on MadMen) will marry Fred Armisen, who regularly portrays Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live. Best wishes for a kidnapping-free wedding day.

Zweifel White House opens in Ford Library

The Zweifel White House in Miniature exhibit just opened at the Gerald Ford Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

January 20 through May 24, 2009
GRAND RAPIDS — The White House in Miniature exhibit will be back at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.  Americans will now have the chance to get an insiders tour of “The Presidents’ House” without the hassles of traveling to the nation’s capital. That is why John and Jan Zweifel have labored since 1962 to create The White House in Miniature, a breathtaking scale model of the White House that is 60 feet long and 20 feet wide. The replica took more than 35 years to research, design and construct.

Among the features are tiny, working televisions, hand-carved chairs and tables, crystal chandeliers, portraits and miniature carpets that reproduce the originals stitch by stitch- each nuance of the White House is painstakingly reproduced to capture the elegance of one of the world’s most recognized residences.

If it took me 35 years to do something, I wouldn’t be bragging about it. Then again, working miniature televisions? Whoa.

I live 2.5 hours away from this, so if the weather is good in the next couple of weeks, I’ll probably find some time to visit.

Flickr photos

I found some terrific photos on Flickr of a 2008 White House tour by user Brooksini. Here’s one of the Butler’s Pantry, cleverly taken thru the door window.

These photos are included in a photo pool I didn’t know about called, appropriately, The White House. I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Here’s a fascinating one from that collection by user KRSPO. It shows the door to the little closet under the South Portico stairs.

UPDATE: I’ve also added several photos from Webshots, with particularly good ones of the elusive East Wing Lobby by user morgancbarr.

3D Capitol inauguration platform

Google has a great 3D model of the inauguration platform attached to the Capitol. At 7 MB, It’s a somewhat large file and requires Google Earth to view, but even if you don’t download it, taking  a look at Washington DC in Google Earth with buildings turned on is an interesting exercise. Several buildings and a number of monuments in the vicinity of the White House have been modeled in surprising detail.

New blog!

To improve site performance, I’ve imported the old Blogger weblog into a new WordPress weblog and called it “The Ellipical Saloon” instead of “The Oval Office”. This may just be a temporary name change or it could be permanent.


The Obama administration has lost no time in updating WhiteHouse.gov, intending to make it central to the pledge to make this the most transparent administration. So far, they seem to have removed all the pages on individual rooms, replacing them with a single page without pictures, altho there is a separate page for the Oval Office (there’s a broken link on the summary page, but you can scroll down to the Oval Office section for a link to the separate page).

My hope for WhiteHouse.gov is that it becomes, among other things, the primary source of new high-resolution photographs for use by news organizations and Web-based virtual museums.

Inauguration day

On this auspicious occasion, I happily announce that Peter Sharkey has completed the new colorful, 3D Residence floor plans, which I’ve added to the main site as well as the mirror. The main site is very slow, however, owing to a big rise in visitorship. (Welcome!)

I can’t get over how beautiful the new plans look. Many thanks again to Pete for all his hard work—which, remember, you can always see over at Wingnut’s Workings. More is coming, including some details and fixes. Let us know if you notice any goofs.

By the way, if you check out Wingnut’s Workings, let me know what you think of the white wall tops rather than the black wall tops.