House Design

Inside Blair House: Kamala Harris’s historic temporary home in Washington DC

Blair House, which has hosted many dignitaries over the years, is now home to Vice President Kamala Harris

Blair house
(Image credit: Getty / Dmitry Kirsanov / Contributor)

Labelled as 'the world's most exclusive hotel', Blair House has already welcomed heads of state and royalty from across the world, from Charles De Gaulle and Justin Trudeau to Queen Elizabeth II, and its current tenant is certainly no exception. 

Located on Pennsylvania Avenue, just moments away from the entrance to the White House, there seems to be no more fitting choice for Kamala Harris's temporary home than this nineteenth-century capsule of American history. 

Though the Vice President, and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, currently have the keys to Blair House, Joe Biden had stayed in the property on the evening before his inauguration ceremony. This has been the tradition for Presidents-Elect since the 1970s. 

It is easy to understand how the interior of the President's Guest House has charmed the most prestigious of individuals over history. This acclaimed home is a treasure trove of Tiffany silverware, painted portraits, and antique furnishings. 

Esteemed interior designers Mario Buatta and Mark Hampton are primarily responsible for the elegant grandeur of this Presidentially approved paradise. Meaning, therefore, that Blair House is even more sought-after by world leaders than any luxury hotel in the country. 

This classic Washington Townhouse is notably different from her sun-kissed home in The Golden State. All of the 119 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 14 luxury bedrooms in Blair House subtly combine traditional interior styles with the necessary amenities of the contemporary day – meaning the Vice President can revel in the majesty of the past without parting with her music system. 

Blair House also has a golden and ivory Library – an unearthly haven to literature lovers – which boasts some 1,500 books. 

The library has a time-honored reputation as the place where the president-elect's work on their speeches before their inauguration the following day. 

  • See: Joe Biden's houses – see the impressive property portfolio of the 46th President of the United States

The President's Guest House sweeps across 70,000 square feet of property, meaning it is, surprisingly, even bigger than the White House. Though some of this vast opulence is constructed of 'Blair House,' the entire property is an adjoining collection of three other homes, Peter Parker House, Lee House, and 704 Jackson Place.

 Can you visit Blair House?

Only invited guests have permission to visit Blair House. Many of them indulge in the Lee Dining Room, which hosts official luncheons and dinner parties. Its porcelain originates from China, while the Georgian English pine decor was donated by Congressman Peter Frelinghuysen Jr. from his house in New Jersey. 

Why is Blair House only Kamala Harris's temporary residence?  

In aligning with tradition, the Vice President will move into the Number One Observatory Circle shortly. This Queen Anne style mansion is in the northeast of the US Naval Observatory grounds and is the official residence of the Vice President. 

However, the home is currently undergoing repairs, meaning Kamala Harris and her husband have the rare opportunity to briefly reside in one of the most exquisite addresses in the entire country.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.