15 FAM 730 


(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)
(Office of Origin:  OBO)


(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

15 FAM 731.1  Scope

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

The Office of Residential Design and Furnishings, Operations Directorate, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/RDF) provides all interior design services for representational residences of the Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Consul General (CG) when serving as Principal Officer (PO), and the U.S. Representative to an International Organization.

15 FAM 731.2  Applicability

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

The guidelines outlined herein pertain only to the designated residences listed above, collectively referred to as representational residences.

NOTE: OBO/OPS/RDF provides support for Deputy Chief of Mission Residences at posts with 35 or more permanent U.S. direct hire desk positions.  Should staffing numbers at a small post grow to be greater than 35 permanent U.S. direct hire desk positions, post must follow the guidance in 15 FAM 235.2 to obtain the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO)'s concurrence to designate the DCM's residence.  Once the residence is officially designated and the DCM receives official residence expense (ORE) funding, post with the concurrence of its regional bureau, may request OBO/OPS/RDF support for interior design and new FF&E. 

15 FAM 731.3  Policy

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. Representational residences must showcase American furniture and reflect a high standard for quality, style, and functionality.  Material selections are aesthetically conscious of local architecture, climate, culture, and ease of maintenance.

b. OBO/OPS/RDF conducts representational residence reviews on a rotational basis and provides a comprehensive interior design plan for each residence that includes whole house functional space planning as well as new furniture, furnishings and finishes.  Interior design elements are required to last through the use of several occupants and/or until the next scheduled interior design review.  Representational residences are reviewed based on a schedule developed and maintained by OBO/OPS/RDF and approved each fiscal year by OBO senior management subject to available funding and resources.

c. OBO/OPS/RDF also provides the following representational supplies: official china, glassware, flatware, hollowware, kitchenware, and other items approved by OBO.  Allocations are based on program requirements, individual residence facilities, particular circumstances, and budget realities. 

    Please note that all interior space renovations within representational residences initiated, performed, or managed by staff at post must be approved prior to work being performed by OBO/OPS/RDF interior designers in consultation with OBO/PDCS/DE.

NOTE:  For policy guidance on cultural heritage collection items, antiques, works of art, rare items or items of historic significance located in representational residences, as well as undertakings beyond basic maintenance on culturally significant properties, please see 15 FAM 770.

NOTE:  For policies and procedures on loaned works of art located in representational residences, please see 15 FAM 740.

15 FAM 732  Funding

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. OBO/OPS/RDF funds furniture, furnishings, and equipment (FF&E) outlined in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A) for designated representational residences.  This includes procurement, shipping, repair, and replacement activities.  There is no other appropriate fund source for FF&E requirements for designated properties.  Posts may not use ICASS or furniture and appliance pool (FAP) items or funding for designated residences except as outlined in 6 FAH-05 H-512.3-1 paragraph f. 

b. OBO/OPS/RDF funds small appliances costing more than $250 including associated shipping costs [see paragraph a in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A)].

c.  Post should categorize items from 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A) as 'OBO/RDF' in the Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS).

d. OBO/OPS/RDF does not provide funding or support for the following equipment:  air purifiers/filters, air conditioners, interior portable heating appliances, transformers/adapters, voltage regulators/power stabilizers, water tanks/pumps, or water treatment equipment.  Post provides these items using Diplomatic Program (DP) funding.

e. OBO/OPS/RDF funds the initial sets and replacements for the representational supplies listed in paragraph b in 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A).

f.  OBO/OPS/RDF does not provide funds for FF&E for household staff funded by official residence expenses (ORE).  However, given that most designated properties include staff quarters with work/break rooms, post becomes responsible for furnishing these areas.  Post must submit requests for needed items to the regional bureau for review and approval.  No ICASS funds may be used for this requirement.

g. If any household staff spaces are constructed as part of an OBO capital construction project, OBO will fund both the construction and initial FF&E with project funds.  All replacement FF&E items for these spaces should be funded as described in paragraph f.

h. Funding for media equipment is outlined in 15 FAM 723 paragraph b.  

15 FAM 733  Interior design for representational residences

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

15 FAM 733.1  Newly Acquired Representational Residences

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. OBO/OPS/RDF directs the programming, space planning, and design for representational residences built as capital construction and/or major renovation projects.  OBO/OPS/RDF interior designers participate in OBO's project designs reviews submitted by contracted Architectural/Engineering firms.

b. For OBO-built designated residences, commissioning activities are funded from the construction project funds.  For purchased designated residences, commissioning costs are funded from the same source as the property acquisition.

15 FAM 733.2  Existing Representational Residences

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. OBO/OPS/RDF maintains the schedule of planned FF&E refurbishments.  OBO/OPS/RDF reviews residences on a rotational basis and develops individual interior design plans for each residence.  The interior design plan includes functional space planning, new furniture and furnishings, furniture reuse, interior architectural finishes, accessibility requirements (ADA compliance), and fire and life safety coordination.  Furniture and furnishings span through multiple occupant assignments and must last until the next scheduled review.  OBO senior management approves each fiscal year’s schedule, taking into account available funding and resources.

b. OBO/OPS/RDF supports and funds requests for unscheduled replacement of furniture and furnishings.  OBO/OPS/RDF has the final decision authority on whether to grant such requests based on available resources.

c.  Interior space renovations initiated, performed, or managed by staff at post must be approved prior to work being performed by OBO/OPS/RDF interior designers in consultation with OBO/PDCS/DE.  See 15 FAM 645.1-2 Technical Review, Approval, and Permit Issuance.

d. OBO/OPS/RDF interior designers brief incoming occupants on the current condition of their residences.  The occupant’s personal taste or style does not factor into interior design support and approvals.  

e. During the turnover make-ready period and with RDF’s approval, future occupants may ask to repaint the family living areas only.  Posts may use maintenance and repair funds for painting supplies.  This does not apply to family spaces that are part of the historical fabric of a culturally significant property.  In such cases, both OBO/OPS/RDF and OBO/OPS/CH must approve any proposal to change any existing finishes in writing.  Please see Make-Ready Guide for Representational Residences on the OBO/OPS/RDF Intranet site.

f.  Occupants are personally responsible for the proper use and care of U.S. Government property while serving at post.  Damage to structures, grounds, or furnishings by pets, children, smoking, or blatant disregard for proper care of furniture and furnishings is not normal wear and tear; the occupant bears personal financial responsibility for these damages.  See 15 FAM 245 Damage and Personal Liability for further guidance.

15 FAM 733.3  Residential Design Work Utilizing Privately Donated Resources

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. If a nonfederal source donates services and/or projects for embassy refurbishment, post must comply with the guidance outlined in 2 FAM 962.6-2 Project Approval and Gift Solicitation/Acceptance Process.  OBO must review any third party designs and private donations of furniture and furnishings, coordinating with L/BA for approval before accepting.

b. Occupants of the Residence of the Ambassador, DCM, or CG when serving as the PO, who wish to contract with a private interior designer or architect to perform work on the residence, does so at their own expense.  All design work must be approved in advance by OBO/OPS/RDF and other affected offices within OBO.  If private sources wish to donate furniture, furnishings or design services, donations are unconditional gifts to the Department in compliance with current gift fund guidelines found in 2 FAM 960 and 4 FAM 380.  Any approved alterations to the residence accepted by OBO will become the property of the Department and must remain at the site of the initial installation.

c.  All donations should be in continuity with the architecture/interiors of the residence, respect local customs and traditions, and be representative of the diplomatic goals of the United States of America.  Interior finishes, furniture, and furnishings donations should complement existing functional and formal representational spaces.

d. A presentation of the proposed design shall be made by the prospective donor’s contract designer to all affected OBO offices.  Affected OBO disciplines will have a minimum of fifteen (15) business days to review and provide comments regarding gift acceptance.  Any proposed changes that are determined not to be in the best interests of the Department will not be accepted.  If OBO/OPS/RDF does not approve a proposed design and the installation is still completed at post, the occupant must:

(1)  Remove the donated design elements from the residence; and

(2)  Restore both the residence’s original layout and FF&E prior to their departure from post.  This restoration and removal will be at their own expense.


(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. OBO/OPS/RDF provides formal dining tableware, hollowware, and chef-quality kitchenware for the representational residences of the Ambassador, DCM, CG when serving as the PO, and the U.S. representative to an international organization at overseas posts for official entertaining.  OBO/OPS/RDF is further responsible for replenishment of these items as appropriate.

b. The official representational table setting represents the United States and the best of its products, without the appearance of being ostentatious.  Local products of good quality may be used to complement the American tableware when it would result in significant cost savings, but the overall setting shall reflect American standards and products.  Seating capacity at the formal dining table is the basis for place setting allocations, which are detailed in Representational Supply Program Procedures and in the Inventory Reporting Guide available on the OBO/OPS/RDF Intranet site.

c.  A maximum allowance for breakage not to exceed six place settings and one serving piece based on the formal dining table seating capacity may be requested.  The OBO/OPS/RDF Director makes final decisions on granting or declining requests for any other additional representational support above the standard place setting allocations.  Determining factors for approving these requests are: cost, existing serviceable inventory, and the level and type of representational entertainment.  The last factor is tempered by the  Department's philosophy and guidance found in 3 FAM 3242 and 3 FAM 3246.2.

d. Only ambassadorial representational residences receive crested china and crested crystal glassware from OBO/OPS/RDF.  The following receive uncrested china and uncrested crystal glassware:

·         The DCM’s representational residence, if at a post with 35 or more permanent U.S. direct hire desk positions; and

·         The CG's formal dining room table, if the CG is serving as PO.

e. OBO/OPS/RDF provides sterling silver for the formal dining room table only.  The following receive silver-plated flatware (up to 36 place settings), silver-plated hollowware, and other necessary tableware:

·         Ambassadorial representational residences;

·         DCM representational residences at posts with 35 or more permanent U.S. direct hire desk positions; and

·         The CG’s representational residence, when serving as PO.

f.  OBO/OPS/RDF provides sets of kitchen cookware and kitchen utensils to:

·         Ambassadorial representational residences;

·         DCM representational residences at posts with 35 or more permanent U.S. direct hire desk positions; and

·         The CG’s representational residence, when serving as PO.

g. Retired U.S. Ambassadors may purchase crested china and glassware at their own expense.  OBO/OPS/RDF must approve all requests.

15 FAM 735  PROPERTY removal and DISPOSAL

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. If OBO/OPS/RDF conducts a scheduled review and identifies furniture and furnishings that are not intended for reuse, post must sell all such furniture and furnishings.  Post must document all sale proceeds with a DS-132 and submit the proceeds to OBO/OPS/RDF.

b. Post may not sell or remove FF&E from designated representational residences covered by 15 FAM 700 or 15 FAM Exhibit 732(A) that post deems damaged or unusable without OBO/OPS/RDF’s written approval regardless of their procurement source (purchased, inherited, or donated/gifted); items include any FF&E, antiques, artwork, and cultural heritage objects.  Post must document all sale proceeds with a DS-132 and return the proceeds to OBO/OPS/RDF.  Proceeds of sale for antiques, artwork, and cultural heritage objects must be documented with a DS-132 and post must return proceeds to OBO/OPS/CH to be used for conservation of the cultural heritage collection.

c.  If at any time post removes FF&E from the residence post must store all furniture or furnishings in a climate-controlled warehouse.  If U.S. Government facilities at post are inadequate or not climate-controlled, posts must store the items in a non-U.S. Government climate-controlled warehouse at the expense of the designated residence’s occupant.  If climate-controlled warehouses are unavailable at post, or the occupant is unwilling to pay for a third-party warehouse, post must not remove any items and the FF&E must remain in the designated representational residences.

15 FAM 736  Post CLOSINGS and Evacuations

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. Before a post closes, the post must request instructions from OBO/OPS/RDF for transferring, selling, or disposing of representational supplies, furniture, furnishings, and equipment.  Do not leave these items with other agencies without complete inventories and OBO/OPS/RDF’s approval.

b. The post must request instructions from OBO/OPS/CH for protecting and transferring cultural heritage assets.  (See 15 FAM 770.)

c.  Evacuating posts must make an effort to safeguard sterling silver flatware.  If a secure location is not available at the official residence, post may store flatware in the chancery safes.  Post Emergency Action Plans should contain protocols for safeguarding these objects in an emergency. 

d. When directed by OBO/OPS/RDF, post must pack and ship sterling flatware and hollowware back to:

      U.S. Department of State
SA-06, Room 1150
ATTN:  Representational Supplies (703) 875-5630
1701 N. Fort Myer Drive
Arlington, VA  22209

15 FAM 737  PROCEDURES FOR Annual Inventories

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)

a. Annual inventories of government-owned items are an integral part of property accountability systems.  (See 14 FAM 414.)  OBO requires inventories for all COM, DCM, CG serving as PO and the U.S. representative to an international organization residences furnished by OBO/OPS/RDF.  Each post must submit annual inventories using the Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS) Asset Reports Physical Inventory Reports.  If a residence is unoccupied, the Accountable Property Officer should sign the form.  Post must ensure that all updates (additions, deletions, and changes in condition) are incorporated into the new inventory report and presented to the occupant for review and signature.  Discrepancies must be indicated on form DS-132, Property Disposal Report, using the asset class numbers.  Include the DS-132 report when submitting the inventory reports to the email mailboxes noted below.  Inventories must cover the calendar year (January through December).  Submit all annual inventories between January 01 and March 15 of the next calendar year.

b. Submit an annual inventory to OBO/OPS/RDF of all government-owned property from the following residences:

·         The ambassador;

·         The DCM;

·         The CG (when serving as PO);and

·         The U.S. representative to an international organization.

(1)  Submit furniture, furnishings, and equipment (FF&E) inventory results via email to:  OBO-RDF-Furniture@state.gov.  In ILMS Asset Management, use the “Inventory Listing by Location” format and the agency code “OBO/RDF.”  Signatures on the last page must include the printed name of the signing official and date of signature.

(2)  Each post must submit an annual inventory of all representational supplies in the residences of the Ambassador, DCM, CG when serving as the PO, and U.S. representative to an international organization abroad.  Submit the representational supplies inventory via email to: OBO-RDF-RepSupplies@state.gov.  In ILMS, create the report by selecting "OBO Inventory" from the asset reports menu.  Where possible, indicate quantities for both the current and previous year’s inventory for flatware, chinaware, and glassware.

c.  For Overseas Staffing Model (OSM) posts in categories one and two, post must conduct and submit a new inventory if there is an occupant change in a representational residence.

d. If there is no change in occupant in the year following a complete inventory, post can update the original inventory and submit all updated inventories by March 15 to the appropriate office.  If there are no changes, the occupant or Property Management Officer must submit a memorandum to OBO/OPS/RDF.

e. OBO/OPS/RDF will not process requests for additional items for any representational residences without receiving and reviewing current inventories.

f.  Post must provide high-quality photographs of representational residences for both the archives and for briefing future occupants on residence conditions.  Post must provide a minimum of four photos per room, plus exterior shots of the entire residence.  Shots should show each room from all angles.  Contact OBO/OPS/RDF for details on uploading files to SharePoint.

15 FAM 738  through 739 unassigned


15 FAM Exhibit 732(A)  
Furniture, Furnishings, and Equipment (FF&E) for U.S. Government-Furnished Representational Residences

(CT:OBO-100;   04-14-2020)


a. OBO/OPS/RDF provides the following items for the representational residences of ambassadors, DCMs, and CGs when serving as POs, and U.S. ambassadors to international organizations abroad, as needed:

·         Bed coverings, duvets, pillow shams, and bed skirts;

·         Bedroom furniture (master/guest/additional bedrooms): headboard, nightstand, dresser, lamps, mirrors, wardrobes as needed;

·         Chandeliers and decorative lighting;

·         Dining room furniture: table, chairs, china cabinet;

·         Dishwashers;

·         Distillers, water (see note below);

·         Dryers, clothes;

·         Fans, ceiling;

·         Floor rugs, carpeting;

·         Food warmers;

·         Freezers, chest or upright;

·         Ice machines;

·         Living room/family room furniture:  sofas, chairs, tables, bookcases, lamps;

·         Mangle irons;

·         Mattress sets and bedframes;

·         Microwave ovens;

·         Ovens, convection or professional;

·         Patio furniture and heaters;

·         Piano (for Ambassadors and CGs when serving as POs);

·         Refrigerators;

·         Stoves and cooking ranges, electric/gas and residential/commercial grade;

·         Smart television and stereo system (one each per residence, for representational space only);

·         Table linens, to include tablecloths, placemats, napkins (for State dining table only);

·         Table and floor lamps;

·         Vacuum cleaners;

·         Vacuum packaging machines, food sealers; and

·         Washing machines, clothes; and

·         Window treatments.

NOTE: OBO/OPS/RDF will only fund water distillers if they are connected to freezers and/or ice machines and are necessary to make large quantities of safe ice for representational events.


·         Coffee/cappuccino/espresso makers;

·         Fireplace accessories;

·         Food processors;

·         Ice cream makers;

·         Meat slicers;

·         Mixers/blenders; and

·         Smoothie makers.

b. OBO/OPS/RDF provides the following items for the representational residences of ambassadors, DCMs, CGs when serving as POs, and U.S. representatives to international organizations abroad, as needed:

·         Bread trays;

·         Butter dishes;

·         Candelabras;

·         Casserole dishes, covered and uncovered;

·         Chafing dishes;

·         China;

·         Glassware;

·         Hurricane lamps;

·         Ice buckets and ice tongs;

·         Kitchen utensils and cookware;

·         Place card holders;

·         Revere bowls with liners;

·         Silver-plated flatware;

·         Silver chest;

·         Silver cleaning supplies;

·         Sterling silver flatware;

·         Tea and coffee service;

·         Trays, small/medium/large; and

·         Water pitchers.