Artist with Hopes for Former Methodist Church Designs for the Obama White House


web Elizabeth Dow print

Elizabeth Dow hopes to make her mark in Sag Harbor by turning the former United Methodist Church into a textile studio, design center and showroom. But the Amagansett resident has made headlines in recent weeks for the hand she had in the redesign of the Oval Office at the White House.

The new interior design of the Oval Office was unveiled to members of the media on August 31, the day before the public first saw the buff and beige colored office space during President Barack Obama’s TV address to the nation about the end of combat operations in Iraq.

Christian Little, Charles Ly, Kim Fulmer and Nate Best, artists from Dow’s Amagansett-based wall covering and textile studio, worked collaboratively on the wallpaper for the Oval Office, as well as wallpaper for the White House Solarium, President Obama’s private office and the bedrooms of the Obama children, Malia and Sasha.

On Wednesday, Dow said it was her relationship with interior designer Michael Smith, who helmed the White House redecoration, that led to her company’s inclusion in the endeavor.

The Oval Office wallpaper is based on a design Dow’s studio already had in house — Buff Stripe — although the original had just two-inch stripes. For the Oval Office, the design was changed to encompass three-inch stripes in buff and an almost café au lait color, with the brush strokes emphasized at the request of the client, said Dow.

The wall coverings for the children’s rooms include a custom blush stripe for Sasha’s bedroom and a blue Bombay print for Malia’s quarters. President Obama’s private office is clad in a birch bark custom wall covering, which is also now found on the walls of the Solarium.

“First of all we are relieved the work looks so good, and second we are proud to have worked with Michael Smith,” said Dow who also credits her four artists for creating the designs. “It’s the most well-respected room in the country and now we are permanently archived in American history.”

Dow added that she hopes to expand her ability to reach young artisans on the East End by moving her company Boto Sag Harbor.

“It will give us accessibility,” she said. “Here, we are up in the attic. People are discovering us after six years or so of having our operation here, but I think being in Sag Harbor will give us more of a presence.”