Washington, Nov 13 : The Obamas have many design choices to make when they move into the White House in January 2009. The president-elect and future first lady will supervise the refurbishing and redecorating of the White House residence -- working closely with a team of interior designers.
To have a bowling alley or a basketball court, traditional presidential porcelain or contemporary American china, a painting of the American frontier or one that captures Chicago's skyline are are some of the choices Barack and Michelle Obama will make as they transform the 208-year-old White House into the place they call home. They will be involved in restoring public spaces like the Red Room and State Dining Room, and the White House grounds -- although they will be required to consult with official groups like the Fine Arts Commission and White House Historical Association, FOX News reported.
And, of course, their tastes will be scrutinized by millions of critics, professional and armchair.
"Get one person whose taste you really rely on and make sure that person knows Washington. You can't bring a pal from Chicago or anywhere else who is not going to know Washington enough to be your adviser," said Letitia Baldridge, Jacqueline Kennedy's former social secretary and Chief of Staff.
Congress appropriates money for the furniture and decor of the residence. The budget -- allocated once every four years -- was set at 100,000 dollar for President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.
But there can be some leeway in the allotment. "If there's something the president wants that will improve the building or the grounds, the budget can be stretched," Baldridge said.
Obama's daughters -- 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha -- will have the same bedrooms occupied by John F. Kennedy's children, John and Caroline, and the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara.
In an interview in June with comic Jimmy Kimmel, Obama joked about his less-than-impressive bowling skills, saying, "So we're getting rid of the bowling alley and replacing it with a basketball court in the White House."
Such dramatic changes are not unprecedented, FOX News said.