Recollections from a few presidents past on how they did _ and didn't _ use the Oval Office, from "The White House Remembered," by Hugh Sidey.
RICHARD M. NIXON
"I'm unusual in one respect. I never used the Oval Office for creative work. Never. I signed things, or I'd have a meeting, a ceremony, or a discussion of schedules there. I found that as far as sitting down and doing the kind of work I do in writing a book and so forth, I used the EOB (Executive Office Building) or the Lincoln Sitting Room. I prefer to work in smaller rooms."
GERALD R. FORD
"I had a little cubby-hole office where I did much of my work. It was off to the left and down the hall from the regular president's office. ... The Oval Office was too grand and luxurious for some of the mundane work, so I would go in the other room, often eating lunch there, too."
"When I was living at the White House, I got up quite early in the morning to go to the Oval Office and read the secretary of state's nightly report, the local newspapers and my paperwork. I tried to deter visitors until 8 a.m. when (national security adviser Zbigniew) Brzezinski brought in the daily CIA intelligence report."
"The little study up in the private quarters, the one next to the bedroom, was particularly nice. ... The Oval Office was more formal and I used it for ceremonies and visitors. The little study is where I did much of my real work. I also had a little hideaway near the Oval Office that I used quite often."