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Kamala Harris is starting her term as vice president in an impressive, though temporary, residence. After Harris was sworn in, she and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, relocated from California to Blair House, otherwise known as the president’s guest house. Typically, the vice president resides in the U.S. Naval Observatory, but CBS News reports that the historic structure is currently undergoing renovations, and that “repairs to the residence … are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.” An aide to Harris told CBS that repairs include replacing chimney liners and “other household maintenance,” requests that were put in by the Navy, not Harris or Emhoff.
Blair House is located on Pennsylvania Avenue directly across the street from the White House, and is made up of four interconnected townhouses, totaling 14 bedrooms and 35 bathrooms spread out across approximately 60,600 square feet. Its impressive size makes it, notably, larger than the White House, which measures 54,900 square feet.
Originally built in 1824 as a private home for the first general of the U.S. Army, Blair House was purchased by the U.S. government in 1942 under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. In addition to the 14 guest suites—each with their own lavish bathrooms—there are three formal dining rooms, two large conference rooms, a beauty salon, a gym, and a library that boasts more than 1,500 books, most of which pertain to U.S. history. There are 18 full-time employees who staff the house, and two separate hot and cold kitchens are overseen by an executive chef and a sous-chef.
Over the past few decades, many of the presidents’ guests, including foreign dignitaries and family members, have taken residence at Blair House. Queen Elizabeth, Justin Trudeau, Margaret Thatcher, and Vladimir Putin have all stayed at the home, for instance. New president Joe Biden also stayed at Blair House the night before the inauguration.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest