- 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.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In 1977, Walter Mondale, who served under President Jimmy Carter, became the first vice president to move into Number One Observatory Circle.
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.
Mondale decorated the house’s ground floor with paintings, sculptures, and floral arrangements.
In 1978, the Mondales displayed works of art by Joseph Cornell.
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.
“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 Mondales’ sculptures and large vases were replaced with smaller flowerpots.
The beige motif continued in the dining area.
The Bushes upholstered dining chairs with red fabric.
In the living room, the Bushes added a patterned rug, floral chairs, and green drapes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
Hagan transformed the library from neutral colors to a vibrant space with green striped wallpaper and a plush leather couch.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.