Photos show how the decor at the vice president’s official residence has changed through the years

The vice presidential residence then and now
The library of the vice president’s official residence in 2006 (left) and 2016. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images, Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Vice presidents live at Number One Observatory Circle on the grounds of the US Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.
  • Different vice presidents have decorated the 9,150-square-foot home according to their tastes.
  • The Cheneys decorated in neutral tones, the Bidens preferred colorful walls, and the Pences added personal touches.
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In 1977, Walter Mondale, who served under President Jimmy Carter, became the first vice president to move into Number One Observatory Circle.
Joan Mondale at the vice president's official residence
Joan Mondale in the official residence of the vice presidential family in 1977. AP
Charles Denyer, author of “Number One Observatory Circle,” wrote that the home was still in need of upgrades when the Mondales moved in. Part of the basement floor was still dirt, faucets would spout rust-colored water, and the vice president’s first shower at the residence turned cold halfway through.
Upon moving in, second lady Joan Mondale offered a tour of the official residence to members of the press.
Joan Mondale gives a tour of the vice president's official residence
Joan Mondale in the official residence of the vice presidential family in 1977. AP
Mondale decorated the house’s ground floor with paintings, sculptures, and floral arrangements.
In 1978, the Mondales displayed works of art by Joseph Cornell.
Joan Mondale at the vice president's official residence
Joan Mondale and Harry Parker, director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, in the vice presidential residence in 1978. Jeff Taylor/AP
The pieces of art were loaned to the Mondales from the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts.
Walter Mondale made a Thanksgiving turkey in the home’s kitchen.
Walter Mondale prepares a Thanksgiving turkey at the vice president's official residence
Vice President Walter Mondale in the kitchen at the vice president’s residence in 1977. AP
“Every Thanksgiving, I make the turkey and let my wife sleep,” Mondale said, according to AP.
Vice President George H.W. and Barbara Bush added a beige rug to the entryway in the 1980s.
The Reagans and Bushes in the vice president's official residence
Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, President Ronald Reagan, and Vice President George H.W. Bush gather at the vice president’s residence in 1981. David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
The Mondales’ sculptures and large vases were replaced with smaller flowerpots.
The beige motif continued in the dining area.
The Bushes and Reagans dine in the vice president's official residence
Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, President Ronald Reagan, and Vice President George H.W. Bush at the vice president’s residence in 1981. David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
The Bushes upholstered dining chairs with red fabric.
In the living room, the Bushes added a patterned rug, floral chairs, and green drapes.
George and Barbara Bush in VP residence
George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush at the vice president’s residence in 1983. David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
The Bushes posed in the living room for a portrait in 1983.
Bush took a call in a sitting room furnished with beige walls, a rich colored rug, and a neutral patterned chair.
Vp residence
Vice President George H.W. Bush answers a phone call in the vice president’s residence circa 1983. David Hume Kennerly/Getty
Money for maintenance of the home, as well as additions or renovations, comes from private funds or donations to the Vice President’s Residence Foundation, which was founded in 1991.
Vice President Al Gore opted for burgundy curtains and rugs.
Al Gore sits across the table from Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers at the vice president's official residence
Vice President Al Gore meets with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers in the dining room of his official residence. TIM SLOAN/AFP via Getty Images
Like when the Bushes lived at the home, the dining chairs featured red cushions.
In the living room, Gore swapped out the Bushes’ green curtains for white, and he put down beige carpeting instead of a rug.
Al Gore speaks at the vice president's official residence
Vice President Al Gore speaks from his residence in 2000. Pool Photo/Newsmakers/Getty Images
Gore gave a televised address from the vice presidential residence announcing he would contest the results of Florida’s presidential vote in 2000.
Dick and Lynne Cheney decorated the residence in neutral colors.
Cheney and Biden at Vice President's Residence
Dick Cheney bidding farewell to Joe Biden following their visit at the vice president’s residence in 2008. David Bohrer/White House/AP Photo
They enlisted interior designer Frank Babb Randolph to help with the transformation, according to the Washington Post.
The library, where Cheney often held meetings, featured cream furniture, walls, and rugs.
Dick Cheney in the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory
Vice President Dick Cheney meets with former chief of staff to the vice president David Addington in the library of the vice presidential residence in 2006. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Cheney’s dogs Jackson and Dave also made themselves at home.
Upstairs in the private quarters, the neutral furniture was offset with dark green walls and floral curtains.
Vp residence
Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife Lynne, and their daughter Mary tour the private quarters of the vice president’s residence in 2001. M. Spencer Green/AP
The Cheneys have two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth.
Interior designer Victoria Hagan helped Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden redecorate the official residence when they moved in.
The entryway of the vice president's residence
The entryway of the vice president’s residence in 2016. Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
“It wasn’t necessarily about the decorating, it was about helping them feel comfortable and putting the bits and pieces together so they could entertain in a public, formal way, as well as have their own private moments,” Hagan told the Washington Post in 2017. “It’s a very welcoming home and not pretentious.”
The living room was painted a brighter yellow, and the furniture and artwork were swapped out to feel more homey.
The living room in the vice presidential residence in 2016
The living room of the vice president’s residence in 2016. Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
“We chose a palette that reflected them: a strong sapphire blue in the dining room, deep forest green in the library and daffodil yellow in the living room,” Hagan told the Washington Post.
The Bidens brought a pop of color to the dining room, painting it “Biden blue.”
The dining room in the vice president's official residence
The dining room of the vice presidential residence photographed in 2016. Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Hagan transformed the library from neutral colors to a vibrant space with green striped wallpaper and a plush leather couch.
The library in the vice president's residence
The library of the vice president’s residence in 2016. Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
A colorful rug, light green drapes, and dark lampshades added dimension to the space.
The Bidens’ favorite room in the home was the Solarium, decorated with a cream couch accented with green pillows and plants.
The Solarium in the vice president's official residence. A white sectional decorated with green pillows set under large windows.
The Solarium in the vice presidential residence. Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
“I love to go in that room and sit on the couch and grade papers or have meetings,” Jill Biden told the Washington Post in 2017. “Often they put a round table in there and we would have dinner or lunch.”
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence removed the green accent pillows, but they kept the Solarium’s white furniture.
Vp residence
Second Lady Karen Pence meets the wife of Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. @SecondLady
Karen Pence met with the wife of Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, in the Solarium in 2017.
The dining room remained Biden blue, but the Pences added their own personal touches.
Mike Pence at the vice president's official residence at the Naval Observatory
Vice President Mike Pence in the dining room of the vice presidential residence in 2017. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
Pence added a photo of his grandfather’s home in Ireland to the mantle of the fireplace in the dining room.
The Pences also incorporated artwork that paid tribute to their home state of Indiana.
Vp residence
Karen Pence with artist Douglas David. @SecondLady
Artist Douglas David gifted the second family with a painting of peonies, the Indiana state flower.
In the living room, the Pences put down a different rug and swapped the colorful artwork for a large mirror.
The vice president's official residence decorated for Christmas in 2020
The vice president’s official residence living room decorated for Christmas in 2020. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
The Pences went all-out decorating the residence for Christmas in 2020.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff moved into Number One Observatory Circle in April after it underwent renovations.
A screenshot of Senator Lisa Murkowski's tweet about a dinner for women senators held at the vice president's residence
Senator Lisa Murkowski’s photos from a dinner at the vice presidential residence posted to Twitter. @lisamurkowski/Twitter
There aren’t many photos of the revamped residence yet, but Senator Lisa Murkowski shared snapshots from a dinner for female senators that Harris hosted showing the dining room had been painted a lighter grey-blue color.