Everything you need to know about Kamala Harris’ new home

After months of delays, Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff have moved into the official home of the Vice President of the United States.

The couple, who had been living temporarily in Blair House, moved into Number One Observatory Circle, located on the grounds of the US Naval Observatory, on Tuesday. 

While the home isn’t as recognisable as the White House, the residence has been an important feature of the US government for decades.

From the size of the home to its first residents, this is what you need to know about the vice president and first gentleman’s new home.

It was built in the 1800s

Although US vice presidents and their families didn’t officially begin living in the home until the 1970s, the house has been around a lot longer, according to The White House website, which notes that it was first built in 1893.

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“Originally intended for the superintendent of the USNO, the house was so lovely that in 1923, the chief of naval operations kicked out the superintendent so he could move in himself,” the official government website states.

It features Queen Anne-style architecture

The home, which is white with green shutters, was designed by architect Leon E Dessez and features characteristics such as a wraparound veranda porch and 9,000 sq ft of space.

It has 33 rooms

The mansion features 33 rooms altogether, with the ground floor consisting of a living room, sitting room, dining room, garden room, lounges, pantry kitchen, reception hall and veranda, according to Number One Observatory Circle author Charles Denyer.

On the second floor, there are two bedrooms, including the master bedroom, as well as an office and a den, while the third floor boasts an additional four bedrooms.

“The kitchen, along with staff quarters and other operations essential to the home, are located on the basement level,” Denyer notes.

The residence sits on 12 acres of the Observatory’s 72 acres.

Prior to the 1970s, vice presidents used to live in their own homes

Before the Naval Observatory was transformed into the home of the sitting vice president, vice presidents used to stay in their own homes upon taking office.

However, the“cost of securing these private residences grew substantially over the years,” according to The White House, which prompted Congress to agree to refurbish the home as the residence of the vice president in 1974.

Walter Mondale was the first vice president to move into the home and it has also housed the families of vice presidents Bush, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, Biden, and Pence, according to the government website.

Each vice president brings their own contributions to the home

During their time in office, vice presidents and their families often make changes to the home to make it more comfortable, with George H W Bush building a horseshoe pit and a quarter-mile track on the property, while Dan Quayle chose to build a swimming pool, according to The New York Times.

When Mike Pence and his wife Karen lived at the residence, they reportedly made minimal changes to the house, although the outlet notes that the former second lady did unveil a beehive.

Interestingly, any renovations or redecorating is done by raising private funds through the Vice President’s Residence Foundation, according to Denyer.

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