See Inside Blair Property, Where Vice President Kamala Harris Will Stay Although Official VP Residence Is Renovated

This story was 1st posted on 1/15/2021 it has been updated to mirror new details.


It’s no solution that the White Household is the most important residence of the President of the United States, but there is a different presidential residence (albeit a person that is not used by presidents as often) that must be on both of those design and history aficionados’ radars: the President’s Visitor Home, also regarded as Blair Residence. Though it is not as well recognised as the People’s Dwelling, the President’s Visitor House spares no shortage of interesting history—including a presidential assassination try and interiors intended by legendary decorators Mario Buatta and Mark Hampton. And, with Just one Observatory Circle, the official residence of the Vide President, undergoing renovations, Blair House is where VP Kamala Harris will live for the close to long term.

The President’s Visitor Household is composed of four connected townhouses, but it’s normally referred to as by the name of just a person of the homes. The four dwellings are Blair Home, Lee House, Peter Parker House, and 704 Jackson Place. In total, these structures boast 119 rooms spanning more than 200,000 sq. ft, earning this residence even larger than the White Household. Blair Dwelling is named for Francis Preston Blair, a journalist who was a pal to and supporter of President Andrew Jackson—and one particular of the home’s very first house owners, following getting it for just $6,500 in 1836.

a large brick building with Blair House in the background: The President’s Guest House, which consists of four townhouses.

© Carol M. Highsmith/The Library of Congress
The President’s Visitor Home, which is made up of 4 townhouses.

Given that the United States authorities procured these 4 townhouses in 1942, the President’s Visitor Household is ordinarily made use of as a spot for visitors of the president to stay, as its identify indicates. There are a number of presidents who have inhabited Blair Property, although, like Harry S. Truman, who, together with his relatives and White Residence personnel, lived in this article from 1948 to 1952, although the People’s House underwent a large reconstruction. Through Truman’s time invested residing below, he survived an assassination try led by two associates of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Bash.

Other noteworthy figures who have stayed at Blair Residence incorporate Queen Elizabeth II, Justin Trudeau, Margaret Thatcher, Emmanuel Macron, George W. Bush, and Vladimir Putin. Commonly, it is custom that the president-elect of the United States stays at the President’s Visitor House in the times main up to the inauguration. In simple fact, it was just confirmed previously this 7 days that President-elect Joe Biden will be remaining at Blair Home the night time in advance of his inauguration, which will consider position subsequent 7 days. Some presidents have stayed somewhere else in the lead-up to their 1st working day as president, like Monthly bill Clinton, who opted to stay at the nearby Hay-Adams Resort, and Barack Obama, who could not stay at the house due to the reality that the then-prime minister of Australia, John Howard, was currently booked there.

Blair Home has a further extensive-standing custom—following the dying of a previous president, members of their relatives usually stay at this household amid the funeral services. The most new occasion of this tradition happened in 2018, when the Bush family stayed here right after former President George H.W. Bush’s passing.

a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace: The Blair House library.

© The Washington Submit – Getty Photos
The Blair Home library.

Blair House—which was developed in 1824 for Dr. Joseph Lovell, the initially Surgeon Basic of the United States—is a Federal-style townhouse, much like other edifices noticed through Washington, D.C. In 1985, its interiors had been redecorated by celebrated designers Mario Buatta, Mark Hampton, and Scott Salvator (Buatta’s style and design affiliate). Hampton, who was no stranger to designing the interiors of presidential residences, also introduced his talents to the White Residence to adorn for several presidents, including Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. As component of this renovation task, Buatta was primarily dependable for the decoration of Lee House, though Hampton took on Blair Property.

Arguably the most eye-catching component of Lee Home is the hand-painted 18th century Chinese wallpaper (pictured previously mentioned) that requires center phase on the walls of the Dillon Drawing Room—which was initially identified as the Lee Drawing Space, just after United States Navy officer and a previous resident of this house, Samuel Phillips Lee (it was later on renamed for C. Douglas Dillon, previous United States Secretary of the Treasury). Dillon’s wife, Phyllis, procured the charming wallpaper in 1964, beneath the style and design abilities of decorator Eleanor McMillen Brown. Throughout the 1985 renovation, this wallpaper was eliminated and restored.

a dining room table: The Jackson Place dining room, which is part of Blair House.

© Carol M. Highsmith
The Jackson Place dining room, which is component of Blair Household.

As for Blair Residence, we have President Harry S. Truman to thank for just one of its most impressive assets—a mantel developed by renowned architect Charles McKim (of architectural firm McKim, Mead & White), which was moved, per Truman’s ask for, to Blair Home from the White Property, where it was at first part of former 1st Woman Edith Roosevelt’s bedroom.

If we’ve piqued your interest and you’d like to find out additional about Blair House, it’s not the most straightforward of jobs to rating an invite to this historic house—but there are two publications (both of which transpire to have the very same title, Blair Property: The President’s Visitor Dwelling) that further more discover this remarkable home: 1 that focuses on its record, created by historian William Seale, and another, which focuses on the home’s 1985 renovation, penned by the decorators responsible for the glorious redesigns, Mario Buatta and Mark Hampton.

In the meantime, the President’s Guest Household is probable getting prepped for President-elect Joe Biden’s approaching keep following week.

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