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Style-Conscious Congressman Ashamed of His Downton Abbey-Themed Office

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Illinois congressman Aaron Schock has a Downton Abbey-inspired office with bright red walls, a "drippy crystal chandelier," and "massive arrangements of pheasant feathers," and when a Washington Post reporter was invited inside by a rogue interior decorator, Schock's people tried extra hard to keep the story from getting out. What a sour age we live in, when a public servant can't outfit his office like a BBC period drama without his minders thinking it reflects poorly on his character.

Post style reporter Ben Terris was checking out the "gold-colored wall sconce with black candles" and "Federal-style bull's-eye mirror" in Schock's outer office yesterday when one of his staffers let her exuberance get the best of her, and offered that it was based off Downton. What happened next will blow your mind:

A blond woman popped out of an inner office. "Want to see the rest?" she asked. She introduced herself as Annie Brahler, the interior decorator whose company is called Euro Trash. She guided me to Schock's private office, revealing another dramatic red room. This one with a drippy crystal chandelier, a table propped up by two eagles, a bust of Abraham Lincoln and massive arrangements of pheasant feathers.

Then, my phone rang.

It was Schock's communications director, Benjamin Cole.

"Are you taking pictures of the office?" he asked. "Who told you you could do that? . . . Okay, stay where you are. You've created a bit of a crisis in the office."

A staff member then came and asked me to please delete the photos from my phone. So started a day of back-and-forths with a congressman's office about interior design.

Oh dear.

Cole went on to advise Terris not to "sour" his access to the congressman by "rushing to write some gossipy piece," which would presumably only be considered such because of rumors about Schock's personal life, and the possibility his taxpaying constituents funded the overhaul. "He's happy to talk to you, just not about the office," continued Cole. "I'm really sorry and want you to know this is not fun for me."

This, this is fun though:

· He's got a 'Downton Abbey'-inspired office, but Rep. Aaron Schock won't talk about it. [Washington Post via Gawker]