JACKSONVILLE, Fla — During the holidays, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue becomes a Winter Wonderland and this year 28-year-old Collin O'Brien played a part in it.
"I am a freelance designer," he said. "The first week I was team Holly next week I was team, Blixen."
Every year thousands apply for the opportunity. O'Brien applied in 2014 and was accepted.
"Most people don't know you can get there," he said.
O'Brien has applied every year since and has been fortunate enough to make the trip for five consecutive years.
"I got to work on quite an array through the house," he said.
O'Brien and other volunteers worked on decorating the entrances, wreaths, trees and rooms.
"One thing that took the longest and I am still cut up from it is the Blue Room, the white house tree," he said. "It took two days to light that thing."
O'Brien said the work is 12 hours a day. This year it took them six days to completely decorate the White House.
Volunteers have to pay their own expenses to go to the nation's capital.
O'Brien talked about decorating the rooms, but said he couldn't talk about the West Wing.
His work has covered both the Obama and Trump years and he said they have been pretty memorable occasions.
"I remember I got to meet Michelle very briefly and she asked what room did I worked in and she said oh Obama loved that one," O'Brien said.
Every year the volunteers leave with an apron, a tour guide, their name tags, a personal invitation from the First lady to a White House reception and yes the memories.
"Oh yeah, I will apply next year," O'Brien said.
He is now back to his job as a dance studio manager and instructor, but this young man from Milwaukee said he never dreamed he would be one of the decorators of the White House.
"No, I did not see this happening," he said.
He said he plans to bring his designer touch to the White House as long as they continue to allow him to volunteer his time and his talent.