- Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff have not yet moved into their official Washington, DC, residence.
- Sources told CNN that Harris was “getting frustrated” at the pace of renovations at the home.
- According to two administration staffers, Harris asked for work to be completed in the kitchen.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
When Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath of office in January, she became the first female, first Black, and first Asian American vice president in US history.
But while President Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, were quickly able to settle in at the White House on Inauguration Day, Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, would have to stay in temporary housing at the historic Blair House while the vice president’s residence was undergoing renovations.
Harris and Emhoff are still residing at Blair House, the official residence of White House guests located across from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, according to CNN.
An administration official told CNN it was “unclear” why the renovations were taking longer than expected, but several people told the network that Harris was becoming uneasy with the situation.
“She is getting frustrated,” another official said of Harris’ situation of seemingly living out of suitcases more than two months after Inauguration Day.
The official also said Harris’ desire to move into the residence had become more pronounced with each passing day.
Number One Observatory Circle, where Harris and Emhoff will eventually live, is a stately Queen Anne-style mansion that dates to 1893 and is located on the grounds of the US Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington.
The Biden administration has not indicated the reason for any delays, and Harris did not respond to the CNN report regarding the matter.
According to CNN, the 128-year-old residence has required foundational work over the past few years, along with a myriad of other repairs and updates, including a $US3.8 ($5) million contract for “plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors” that’s still in progress, according to an official US government spending report.
The CNN report indicated that the existing contracts didn’t indicate why Harris and Emhoff had been unable to move into the residence.
The network reported that Harris had been seen at the residence, most recently for an hour-long visit several weeks ago.
According to two administration staffers, Harris, who enjoys cooking, asked for the kitchen to be updated.
Elizabeth Haenle, the vice president residence manager and social secretary for Vice President Dick Cheney, said it wasn’t uncommon for there to be a few weeks in between residents living at the home.
“From time to time, the Navy will ask the vice president and their respective families to delay moving in so that they have time for maintenance and upgrades that are not easy to perform once the vice president takes up residence,” she told CNN.
After the inauguration, an aide to Harris told the network that the vice president and second gentleman would not move into the Naval Observatory residence that day, saying repairs were needed “that are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.”
An administration official told CNN that the residence’s chimneys were being renovated, along with other unspecified updates.
There was no official move-in date announced in January.
While Blair House doesn’t hurt in the luxury department, with its ornate accommodations and a private hair salon, Harris and Emhoff prefer a more relaxed, California-esque vibe.
The residence at the Naval Observatory is much different from the White House, with fewer residence staff members and a location farther from the city center.
“The White House is office and home to the president, so there is that feeling of living above the ‘shop’ at the White House,” Haenle told CNN. “For the vice president and his or her family, the vice president’s residence is calm in the midst of a stormy Washington, both politically and logistically. At the end of the day, the vice president can travel a short distance northwest and find respite in a country-like setting.”
Biden, who lived in the home as vice president from 2009 to 2017, praised its amenities on CNN last month.
“You’re … overlooking the rest of the city,” he said of the property. “You can walk out, and there’s a swimming pool. You can ride a bicycle around and never leave the property, and work out.”
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