Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Renovations continued at the White House this week -- with President Donald Trump on vacation, the Oval Office empty and covered in plastic and construction equipment lining the bucolic lawns.
Workers are about halfway through the planned 17-day renovation, which includes both mechanical work and aesthetic changes.
The most recognizable room in the West Wing, the Oval Office, sat empty with plastic sheets covering the walls and nothing but a bare hardwood floor, photos showed. Early in their terms, presidents have historically redecorated the Oval Office to suit their personal style and taste.
Elsewhere, new coats of paint were applied and workers unrolled blue starred carpeting that will replace the yellow-themed décor preferred by former President Barack Obama. The building's HVAC system is also being replaced.
A West Virginia contractor told the Preston County News & Journal he was tasked with demolishing what was intended to be a temporary set of stairs and wheelchair ramp on the South Lawn.
Ron "Boots" Feather told the paper security was still high despite the fact Trump and most of his administration vacated the building before work began.
"Security was pretty tight. We had to go through multiple checkpoints, and there were K-9 units. ... The path is well-used by the Secret Service, so we got to see a lot of that activity while we were there. And there was security around us the whole time," Feather said.
Trump is completing a "working vacation" at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., and plans to return to his Trump Tower residence on Sunday for three days of meetings in New York.
The renovations come amid a report by Golf.com that said Trump commented recently, "That White House is a real dump." A presidential spokesperson denied the remark was made.