The move was announced Thursday in a tweet from Symone Sanders, senior adviser and chief spokeswoman for the vice president, after a moving truck appeared outside Blair House.
“The Vice President and Second Gentleman will move in to the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory residence next week. The move was initially delayed to allow for repairs to the home that are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.”
The repairs, Sanders tweeted, included “maintenance on the HVAC system, replacing the liners in the chimneys and refurbishing of some of the hardwood floors” in the 33-room house.
Many other repairs and improvements have been made in previous administrations, including a swimming pool added during the Quayle years, landscaping work during the Gore years and an upstairs kitchen renovation during the Cheney years. The Bidens created the Family Heritage Garden of the Vice President, with a fountain in the middle. The Pences had a basketball court installed, with a (removable) logo from the 1986 movie “Hoosiers.”
Although CNN reported a few days earlier that Harris was getting frustrated at living out of a suitcase, a White House aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Thursday: “They have really enjoyed their stay at Blair House. The team made it feel like home, and they were extremely appreciative of all they did.”
As temporary residents of Blair House, Harris and Emhoff have had access to 120 historic antique-filled rooms and the amenities that the guesthouse extends to visiting heads of state. The vice president’s residence has a less formal, more airy feel inside with a cozy library and a bright sunroom, plus a welcoming wraparound porch that looks onto the woodsy property.
The move will result in a longer commute. Instead of just crossing the street to her office, Harris will have about a two-mile drive from the Victorian mansion on the wooded grounds of the Naval Observatory. The house was built in 1893 to house superintendents of the Naval Observatory and in 1928 became the residence of the chief of naval operations. In 1974, it was designated by Congress as the official residence of the vice president.
Large banners with the messages “Welcome Vice President Harris” and “Welcome Home” have been hanging on Massachusetts Avenue near the residence for several months.
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