Where Does the Vice President Live? An Inside Look

Where Does The Vice President Live?

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Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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While it’s common knowledge that the president of the United States resides in the White House, fewer people may be aware that the vice president has his own, smaller white brick house, that’s still stunning. So, where does the vice president live?

The vice president’s official residence in Washington, DC, sits on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory, where astronomers gather data for precise navigation. Before it was designated as the official vice presidential residence in 1974, the house belonged to the superintendent of the Naval Observatory and afterward to its chief of naval operations.

Vice presidents used to reside in their own homes until Congress allocated funds to renovate the home for vice presidential use. Walter Mondale moved into the home at the Naval Observatory in 1977, becoming the first vice president to do this.

Check out the Vice President’s Mansion and read up on its rich history.

Where Does the Vice President Live?

Since Walter Mondale, every vice president has resided at the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) in Washington, D.C., while serving as the vice president’s and their family’s home.

It also serves as a fully operational workspace for scientists to watch and measure the motion of planets, the moon, and the sun in other astronomical data required for research.

The Naval Observatory has been used by several vice presidents, notably former vice president Al Gore, to welcome ambassadors and guests from abroad.

Vice President’s House in Washington, D.C.

The Naval Observatory is still one of the oldest U.S. scientific bodies. Its mission is to offer the Navy and the Department of Defense precise positioning, navigation, and timing using data gathered through the study of planetary and stellar motion.

Number One Observatory Circle official residence of the US vice president

Image Source: insider.com

The small residence, roughly two miles from the White House and close to several embassies, is situated on a 72-acre parcel of land known as the United States Naval Observatory.

No one knows the house’s precise number of rooms because the information is kept private for security reasons, and the public isn’t allowed inside.

Outside View

The magnificent Queen Anne property was built in 1893 and stands in a peaceful forest-like environment, filled with lush foliage, wildlife, and the sounds of nature, yet is only a few feet from the heavy traffic on Massachusetts Avenue.

Vice president official residence in Washington DC

Image Source: apnews.com

Washington architect Leon E. Dessez was responsible for designing the 9,000-square home with different rooms, including a library, an underground kitchen, and multiple bedrooms.

Vice president official residence in Washington DC

Image Source: apnews.com

Any vice president is free to make aesthetic changes to the residence. The Vice President’s Residence Foundation was established in 1991 and uses private cash and donations to maintain the home and make any necessary renovations or additions.

Number One Observatory Circle pictured in 1977

Image Source: insider.com

Both Dick and Lynne Cheney opted for neutral color palettes while furnishing their home. According to the Washington Post, they hired interior designer Frank Babb Randolph to assist with the remodeling.

The home is built in Queen Anne architecture and includes a large veranda that encloses the front corner.

A wrap-around porch at the vice president's residence

Image Source: washingtonpost.com

Over the years, vice presidents have added a variety of amenities, including a jogging track, a workout facility, and a horseshoe pit.

President George H.W. Bush jogs at the vice president's residence in 1992

Image Source: newsroom.ap.org

George H.W. Bush enjoyed running on the quarter-mile jogging track he built at the residence so much that he kept using it even after he had left office.

In addition, the residence has a pool that Dan Quayle added.

The pool at the vice president's residence

Image Source: washingtonpost.com

The Family Heritage Garden, which Joe Biden built, contains stones honoring all of the house’s prior owners and their family members, including pets. A bronze statue of the Bidens’ dog Champ, who passed away at the age of 13, is also present in the garden.

The Family Heritage Garden

Image Source: washingtonpost.com

Karen Pence set up a beehive when the Pences moved in to draw attention to the dwindling honeybee population. Twenty thousand bees are housed in the hive she added to the vice presidential mansion in 2017.

The residence pictured in 2000

Image Source: washingtonpost.com

The property is said to have a safe subterranean bunker that might be able to resist nuclear explosions, although the specifics of Number One’s security are yet unknown. The house’s terra cotta bricks were kept unpainted on the exterior until 1960 when they were painted the white we see today.

Inside View

The Solarium was the Bidens’ favorite space in the house. Under large windows is a white sectional with green pillows. They had lunch or dinner at the round table they frequently set up there.

The Solarium

Image Source: washingtonpost.com

Compared to the President’s White House, which is more than 5,000 square meters in size, the dwelling is a three-story brick house with 850 square meters of floor space.

Vice president's official residence

Image Source: washingtonpost.com

The first floor of the house comes with a garage and a variety of living and entertaining spaces, including a dining room with a fireplace, a reception hall with a fireplace, a pantry kitchen renovated by Vice President Dick Cheney’s family, a living room with a rounded end, a sitting room, two lounges, and a garden room.

Vice president's official residence

Image Source: washingtonpost.com

The master bedroom, a second bedroom, a den, and a study are all located on the second story. The third floor offers four additional bedrooms, while the second floor has two bedrooms, an office, and a den.

Vice President George H.W. Bush answers a phone call in the Vice President's Residence circa 1983

Image Source: apnews.com

The attic, which originally housed the servants’ quarters, has been transformed into four bedrooms, while the basement houses a sizable kitchen.

On the basement level are the staff quarters and the kitchen. Charles Denyer’s book “Number One Observatory Circle” is also reported to feature a bunker.

House of the Vice President

Image Source: apnews.com

The hallways of the vice president’s mansion are lined with well-known works of art. Since the 1970s, the residence has undergone renovations thanks to the families of former vice presidents.

Where Had Vice Presidents Lived Before?

Vice presidents historically paid for their own housing before Congress decided to renovate the Naval Observatory in 1974. However, the vice president’s yearly pay is $235,100, and the price of a private home in the Washington, D.C., region has increased recently.

The families of vice presidents Mondale, George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, Mike Pence, and Kamala Harris have all resided in the Naval Observatory.


Vice President Kamala Harris and her spouse Doug Emhoff moved into Number One Observatory Circle after their official inauguration on January 20, 2021. There is more than enough space for their blended family. They will definitely add their unique touches to this large, white presidential house.

Featured Image Source: inews.co.uk

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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