The home of Washington power couple Vernon and Ann Jordan in the Woodland Normanstone neighborhood of Northwest Washington is for sale for $5.9 million, down from $6.9 million.
Ann Dibble Jordan, who married Vernon in 1986, is a former professor of social work at the University of Chicago. She also served on the boards of several companies and nonprofit groups, including Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, Sasha Bruce Youthwork and WETA. She is an honorary trustee of the University of Chicago and the Brookings Institution and former chairman of the National Symphony Orchestra and co-chair of the Kennedy Center Honors. In 1996, she co-chaired President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration, becoming the first African American to chair a presidential inauguration.
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The red brick Colonial was built in 1995 by developer Marshall Coyne, who owned and operated the Madison hotel at 15th and M streets NW. Coyne never lived in the house. Instead, the Jordans bought it shortly after it was completed. According to Toni Bush, global head of government affairs at News Corp, her mother and stepfather were attracted to the house for a couple reasons.
“I know that my mother was enamored with the entertaining space,” Bush said. “It has fabulous entertaining space. That was one thing because they entertain a lot. The second was the convenience. Vernon’s office was in Dupont Circle. Mom was very active in the Kennedy Center.”
Plus, Bush said, the house accommodated their blended families for the holidays.
“The holidays were a big to-do,” Bush said. “My mother decorated the house to the nines. There would be a huge Christmas tree in the front hall.”
The family, including Ann Jordan’s siblings who lived in the area, would gather for Christmas Eve dinner in the dining room, which can accommodate 40 people. Later that evening, they invited friends for dessert and caroling, hiring a piano player to accompany the singing.
“When the Clintons were [in Washington], they would come over for Christmas Eve dinner,” Bush said. “That was special. … It is a beautiful house, but it is spectacularly beautiful at night during parties.”
One of Bush’s fond memories is of her mother making fried oysters and grits for breakfast on Christmas morning.
The Jordans loved to host not only large family gatherings but also elegant parties and intimate dinners in the house. Vernon Jordan’s annual lunch at the home before the Alfalfa Club dinner was a highly sought-after invitation. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos (who owns The Post) were among those who attended. President Barack Obama came one year.
The lunch “started in the dining room and then it got to be 100 [guests], and so they would cover the pool and put a tent in the backyard,” Bush said. “You’d have cocktails in the house and then you’d go outside for lunch. The other thing that was important to him about that lunch was it was always bipartisan. There were always Republicans and Democrats.”
Not all the Jordans’ entertaining was on a large scale.
“Vernon liked to have what he called Sunday supper in the kitchen, where they just had one or two couples and then they would sit in the kitchen and eat,” Bush said.
Bush said the library is where Vernon Jordan liked to have quiet conversations with Washington power brokers, while Ann Jordan preferred to work in the sitting room off their bedroom.
“She did take a lot of care with the decoration” of the house, Bush said. “She always wanted a style that was elegant but comfortable.”
Bush, who lives in Washington, was grateful to have her children’s grandparents nearby.
The house “was always the center of attention for us,” she said. “There were a lot of lazy afternoons where we’d take the kids over and we’d be in the pool. Vernon liked to sit in the hot tub.”
The six-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 8,417-square-foot house has an elevator that serves three of the four levels. The owner’s suite has two dressing rooms, two bathrooms and a sitting room with a fireplace and a balcony. The attached garage has room for two cars.
- Bedrooms/bathrooms: 6/8
- Approximate square-footage: 8,400
- Lot size: 0.18 acre
- Features: The four-level house has a two-story foyer, a dining room that can seat 40, a wood-paneled library, five fireplaces and an elevator that runs to three floors. The lower level has a rec room, a wine cellar and a bedroom with an en suite bathroom. The large private terrace at the back of the house is well suited to outdoor entertaining. There’s also a swimming pool and a hot tub. The two-car garage is attached.
- Listing agents: Anne Hatfield Weir, Heidi Hatfield, Andrea Hatfield and Tammy Gale, Washington Fine Properties
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