No prank: York Wallcoverings chosen for Oval Office

David Weissman
York Dispatch

When York Wallcoverings executives heard the White House wanted their wallpaper to decorate the Oval Office, they thought it was a prank call.

York Wallcoverings CFO and COO Bob Vucenovic displays a sample of Baroque Floral Damask wall covering at the York City business Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. The White House ordered the out-of-print wall paper for use in the Oval Office. Bill Kalina photo

The company's national sales director called back and quickly found out that the request was not a joke, but there was an issue with the pattern that was chosen, according to PJ Delaye, president of York Wallcoverings.

The company has more than 15,000 active wallpaper prints, but the White House had chosen a design — Baroque Floral Damask — that had been discontinued in 2014, he said.

Baroque Floral Damask, produced by York Wallcoverings, was chosen by the White House to decorate the Oval Office. (Photo courtesy of York Wallcoverings)

Delaye said company officials quickly made the decision to "stop the presses" at one of its York County facilities and make fulfilling the White House request their priority.

Within four hours of confirming the White House order on Aug. 17, 96 double rolls of Baroque Floral Damask wallpaper were produced, and the company's national sales director, Eileen Thomas, was on her way to Washington, D.C., to deliver them, Delaye said.

The average order for wallpaper is 12 double rolls, he noted.

Delaye said that despite extra costs incurred by the company by having to stop production, they did not charge the White House extra.

"We were more than thrilled to oblige," he said.

The newly renovated staircase of the South Portico porch of the White House is seen in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, during a media tour. The new steps are made of limestone from Indiana. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Delaye recalled that this isn't the first time York Wallcoverings has been chosen to decorate part of the White House. Under former President George H.W. Bush, the company's wallpaper adorned a bathroom in the building.

"We're stepping up in the world," Delaye said. "There's no more prestigious honor than the Oval Office."

The wallpaper could last without problem in the Oval Office for 15 to 20 years, Delaye said, but that's up to current President Donald Trump or any future presidents.

Trump recently returned to the White House after a 17-day working vacation while the Oval Office and other parts of the historic building underwent major renovations.

The newly renovated Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, is seen during a media tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

As for the future of the discontinued pattern?

Delaye said company officials would consider bringing back Baroque Floral Damask, which he described as a classical, timeless pattern.

"I would say the chances are more likely than not (that it's brought back)," he said.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.