“That’s kind of typical of our lives,” Tracy says. “Every time everything seems to be coming together and completely organized, something new comes up.”
The couple and their three children, twins Grace and Henry, 5, and Riley, 4, now split their time between their seven-bedroom, four-level D.C. home and an apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. Before the New York move, Tracy was set to begin a complete demolition and remodeling of his kitchen, but that project is momentarily on hold while the family settles into its new routines. The whole family enjoys experiencing life in two cities, but Grace Tracy says she loves the D.C. house more because of its huge playroom. The playroom extends across the entire attic level of the house and includes two dormer windows, built-in cabinets and a guest bedroom for slumber parties.
Geoff Tracy says his favorite part of their home extends across three rooms on the main level. At the front of the house is a circular music room with marble fireplace and a grand piano, where all three children practice. Just beyond this room is O’Donnell’s elegant office, with cream-colored walls, a desk nestled into a box bay window and another marble fireplace. Her office opens into a dazzling cream-and-white sunroom with floor-to-ceiling windows with transoms and a glass door to an expansive deck.
From the music room to the sunroom, all three rooms are light-filled and share a view of the poplar trees that provide a natural privacy fence for eight months of the year.
“My favorite part of the house is my office and the adjoining rooms,” O’Donnell says. “It’s great in the morning to sit at my desk with the sun warming my back, a fire in the fireplace and the kids lounging and reading in the sunroom.”
The Tracy-O’Donnell home, built in 2004 and rented to the South African Embassy and the Australian Embassy as temporary residences for their ambassadors during renovations, appealed to O’Donnell not only for the space for their children but also to allow the family to entertain.
“The big appeal of this house is the layout, with large, gracious rooms on the first floor that are great for cocktail parties and intimate dinner parties,” O’Donnell says. “We wanted our house to be the gathering place for our friends and family. A house is meant for being lived in, for getting dirty and for being filled with people.”
One of her favorite evenings was a 75th-birthday party for Bob Schieffer of CBS News, with dinner served in the dining room and other spaces.