Original painted decoration for tympanum and coved ceiling in the office of the Secretary of the Navy. (Walter Smalling, Jr.)

The building has not been without detractors. It has been referred to as Mullett's "architectural infant asylum" by writer Henry Adams. President Harry S. Truman came to the defense of the building when it was threatened by demolition in 1958. He said it was "the greatest monstrosity in America". Noted architectural historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock, however described it as "perhaps the bext extant example in America of the second empire."

Office of the Secretary of the Navy restored 1987. Restoration included partial replication of original marquetry floor.
(Walter Smalling, Jr.)