Scott Stewart was about to accept an offer on a home. Then a pal sent him a Washington Post article in early February about a new listing on Q Street NW that changed everything.
This particular home had something that dozens of other homes didn’t — a story of its own to tell. As a history buff with a particular fondness for the Kennedy clan, Stewart knew he couldn’t pass up the house where John F. Kennedy met Jacqueline Bouvier, his future wife, while attending a small garden party in May 1951 held by the home’s renters at the time, Charles and Martha Bartlett. Stewart, a managing partner of a senior living investment and development firm, placed an offer the same morning the home hit the market.
“I like to think that the first couple … talked longingly about their first date and the house,” Stewart said. “It’s neat to be woven into that fabric.”
According to Stewart, the previous owners, who had owned the home since 1987, were looking for a buyer who would be a steward for the home’s antiquity. Stewart, a longtime admirer of the Kennedy family, certainly fits the bill.
“My mom had a deep appreciation for the Kennedys and that certainly rubbed off on me,” Stewart said. “The ideals of Kennedy himself are ones that I stand for.”
Stewart’s life has channeled his idol’s in many ways: Stewart rented a property in the Brookline area of Massachusetts, where the former president was born; went to the same church a young JFK used to frequent; and attended Harvard, as Kennedy did. Stewart also owns a home on Martha’s Vineyard, “a place filled with the Kennedy mystique.”
While Stewart says these parallels are more coincidental than anything, he’s embracing the serendipitous nature that connects him to his new home. The empty-nester, who is downsizing from his McLean residence, already has plans for his new home. He’ll incorporate a mid-century motif for decor and embrace historic elements, including an old dial-up phone he plans to display by the entry. Stewart also hopes to raise the ceilings to modernize the place a bit — and to accommodate his 6-foot-4 frame.
The focus of the home will stay on the patio area, where the fateful meeting between the future first couple occurred over cocktails.
“I envision having a lot of Rob Roys and Old Fashioned’s out there,” Stewart said.