WASHINGTON — When President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle leave the White House next Jan. 20, they will move into a rented mansion in the historic Kalorama community here, according to reports in three outlets.
The White House, as per its policy when it comes to personal matters about the Obama family, did not confirm or deny the stories.
The National Journal on Tuesday reported that the first family was leasing a home in Kalorama, a neighborhood known for its architecturally significant pricey residences, not far from Embassy Row and near DuPont Circle.
Early on Wednesday, the Independent Journal reported that the Obamas were leasing the 8,200-square-foot home of former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart and his wife, Giovanna Gray.
Lockhart and Gray, Glamour Magazine’s Washington editor, are heading to New York where Lockhart is the National Football League executive vice president for communications.
A friend of mine who has been at the Lockhart home on Belmont Road said it was stunning.
The house was sold for $5.295 million on May 12, 2014.
The Washington Fine Properties listing for the mansion describes it as “Historic 1920s residence situated on an oversized home site. This 2011 meticulous renovation & substantial addition features gracious public rooms, 8-9BR/8.5 spa baths w/exquisite finishes, fully finished lower level w/au-pair suite, and approx. 8200 finished sq.ft. Stunning oversized terrace/formal gardens, 2 car gar parking & gated courtyard for 8-10 vehicles.”
The Obamas are staying in town until Sasha, who turns 15 in June, finishes high school.
They own a mansion in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood — not as sprawling as the Kalorama place — though they have rarely visited it during the seven plus years of the Obama presidency.
Sasha is a freshman at Sidwell Friends, the private school her sister Malia, who turns 18 in July, is graduating from.
Last month, the White House announced that Malia was admitted to Harvard University but will first take off a gap year.
If the reports are right, then Obama will be the first former president since Woodrow Wilson left office in 1921 to maintain a main residence in Washington. Wilson bought a home in Kalorama, at 2340 S Street NW.
The Wilson home, now a museum, is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary, then a newly elected senator from New York, bought a home close to Kalorama after they left the White House in 2000, with another home in suburban New York.
The National Park Service described the various buildings in Kalorama, which started being developed in the late 1890s, as “English Arts and Crafts, Georgian Revival and Mediterranean (including both Italian and Spanish derivatives.)”
Together they “present a visually rich medium composed of picturesque streets lined with rows of three-and four-story dwellings and anchored by solid blocks of multi-family apartments. Together, the form, size, scale, and the ornament materialize into a significant period piece.”