One of the best benefits of homeownership is the ability to put your own personal touch on your home by decorating or renovating it however you want.
While the Presidents and First Ladies of the U.S. don’t technically own the White house while living there, they are given the freedom by Congress to renovate, decorate or maintain the living quarters however they see fit.
In honor of President’s Day, here are some fun facts about how former presidents turned the White House into their very own presidential palace:
- First Lady Caroline Harrison was responsible for updating the building’s plumbing and installing electricity in 1891, as well as starting the annual Christmas Tree tradition
- An avid hunter, Theodore Roosevelt hung stuffed animal heads in the State Dining Room
- Franklin Roosevelt, who suffered from Polio and was in a wheelchair, made the White House wheelchair accessible in 1933. He also added an indoor swimming pool to help with physical therapy
- First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy won an honorary Emmy Award in 1962 for the televised tour of her restoration of the White House, which focused on its historical and symbolic value
- Nixon added a one-lane bowling alley
- The Regan’s brought furniture from their home in California
- First Lady Hillary Clinton created an exercise room and a third-floor music room where President Bill Clinton could play his saxophone
- George Bush went green and installed low-flow faucets and toilets, solar heating, and CFL bulbs
- The Obamas included an unprecedented amount of modern and contemporary artwork from a diverse list of artists