The Clintons may have left a certain Washington address almost 20 years ago, but — unlike most of their presidential predecessors — the family has kept a home in the US capital since leaving the White House. Now, Hillary is offering a rare glimpse into the pair’s urban retreat, after she opened the doors of the neo-Georgian residence to Architectural Digest.
A series of exclusive photographs for Architectural Digest’s site show off the property’s airy conservatory and sizable swimming pool. An accompanying interview also sees the former secretary of state recalling her first encounter with the home in 2000, the last full year Bill Clinton served as President. “It was an emotional reaction,” she’s quoted as saying. “When I was elected to the Senate in 2000, I knew that I needed a place to live while we were in session during the year. So I began looking. And, I had an experience in this house, which was just emotional.”
Known simply as Whitehaven, the residence is located on Whitehaven Street, a quiet cul-de-sac just over three kilometers from the White House. At the time, the pair paid a reported $2.85 million for the 5,500-square-foot property, which is close to a section of Massachusetts Avenue dubbed “Embassy Row.”
“I had gone up to the third floor and looked out over the trees — to the back of the British Embassy — and I just felt like I was in old-time London or New York,” Clinton continued. “The gardens were just the most amazing that I had seen anywhere in my real-estate tour.” While the Clintons maintain their primary residence in Chappaqua, New York, the DC house served as a getaway and — at the time — a “very nice refuge from my life in the Senate,” Hillary is reported as saying.
After acquiring the red-brick house, built in 1951, Clinton embarked on an extensive renovation project. Between 2003 and 2006, she worked with interior designer Rosemarie Howe to revamp the property. “The mandate was to bring more light and to create more physical space for sitting and relaxing,” Howe told Architectural Digest. “We also wanted to open the house and all of its interior rooms to this beautiful back garden.”
Howe, who collaborated with Clinton on her New York guesthouse and State Department office, helped create an expanded, sun-filled conservatory, decorated in shades of red and tan. Images released by the magazine show a table featuring various mementos, including a teapot reportedly gifted to the Clintons by Nelson Mandela, and a personalized photo of Jordan’s former monarch, King Hussein, with his widow Queen Noor.
Howe also re-fitted the bathrooms and kitchen, in addition to selecting furniture for the home. Clinton’s mother Dorothy Rodham, meanwhile, helped choose furnishings, paint and patterns. Rodham went on to live in the residence before passing away in 2011. “The Clintons have a lovely connection to their past,” Howe continued. “But it’s all with a total lack of pretense … A key part for (Clinton) is that she wants people to come in the door and not feel intimidated. She wants a comfortable place for everyone to sit.” Clinton told Architectural Digest that she uses the expansive outdoor area — which features a swimming pool, pool house and landscaped garden — to host events (for “hundreds and hundreds of people sometimes,” she is quoted as saying). “I spend every bit of time that I can (out here),” she added. CNN