Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Senator Edward Kennedy's Kalorama Mansion Up For Grabs

SELLER: Victoria Kennedy
LOCATION: Washington, D.C.
PRICE: Your Mama don't know
SIZE: 8,996 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In honor of today's special election in Massachusetts, in which long-time, legendary and recently deceased Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy's seat is up for grabs, Your Mama thought it might be a good time to have a wee look-see at Le Grand Fromage's big house in Washington, D.C. that his widow Victoria recently hoisted on the market for an undisclosed–but somewhere Your Mama recalls reading that it's rumored to be listed for around $8,000,000. We can barely remember last night nor can we remember where we might have read that figure so don't none of you children go around quoting it like you know something because you, like Your Mama, just might be wrong about that eight million dollar number.

Mister Kennedy, often called the "liberal lion of the senate," lorded over his seat for a staggering 46 years. He died in August of 2009 after a battle with cancer. He was 77 years old. His passing on to meet the Great Majority Leader in the Sky left his long-held senate seat vacant. Your Mama will not get on our soap box or devolve into the nitty gritty details of the matter but should the once presumed Democrat shoe-in Martha Coakley lose today's special election to Republican state senator Scott Brown, the Republicans would have the crucial and lusted after 41st vote that would give them the power to filibuster and kill, kill, kill any remaining signs of life in President Obama's health care plan. Not that there was much life left in it anyway, but that's another story for another blog...

Anyhoo, moving on the the real estate matter at hand. Property records show that Mister Kennedy and his wife Vicki scooped up their colossal colonial and Tracey Place, NW in March of 1998 for $2,775,000. The stately and distinguished mansion sits smack dab in the center of the chi-chi Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood, which is quite possibly the most affluent section of Washington, D.C.. Tracy Place ranks at the tippy top of real estate desirability in Washington, D.C.'s and as such several foreign governments including Portugal, Egypt and Guyana maintain embassies on the swank street, which means, of course, that security in the area is in-sane. If any of you people decide to get in your hoopdies and high-tail it over to Kalorama to have a peek at all the dignified architecture, Your Mama suggests you keep them tires rolling because just slowing down is likely to catch the eye of snipers in trees and sharp shooters on the roof. Okay, we don't really know if there are snipers and sharp shooters securing the situation on Tracy Place, but we would certainly not be surprised if that were the case.

Behind the perfectly symmetrical front facade that includes a columned portico and a fan light window over the front door, Mister and Missus Kennedy's manse includes, according to listing information, 6 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half poopers. The decorative tone of the bulky 8,996 square foot mansion is set in the grand entrance hall which includes an impressively high ceiling, intricate moldings, a lattice pattern marble floor and equally complicated, almost modern looking balusters. A few steps lead up to a gallery that runs like a spine through the center of the house and acts as the homes primary traffic conductor. Straight ahead, the large living room has wood floors, heaps of dentil molding, and one of the home's three fireplaces. The impressive–but too fussy for our particular taste–architectural details continue into the formal dining room where just about everyone who is anyone in Washington, D.C. probably ate and drank and hashed out public policy.

A sunny looking sun room with high ceilings, French doors and a ceiling fan that looks like it came from the Home Despot is right off the dining room and somewhere in there on the ground floor is Mister Kennedy's paneled library that is wrapped in built-in bookshelves filled with actual books. Your Mama does not care for the rather lackluster day-core in the library, which includes floral drapery, matchstick blinds, and a very government-issue looking periwinkle colored sofa, but we start to sweat like a hooker in church thinking about all the political shit that probably went down in that room.

The eat-in kitchen, which looks to Your Mama a week bit claustrophobic for an almost 9,000 square foot house, has wood floors, a large work island with a breakfast counter, a Sub-Zero fridge, a deeply disturbing floral valance thing above the windows behind the sink, and about 49,000 pot lights in the ceiling. A large stone terrace with intrusive looking white railings runs along the back of the house and over looks a wee patch o' grass. Other amenities, according to listing information, include a home gym set up with an indoor lap pool and, it has been reported, equipment chosen by California's Golden Globe attending governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Widow Kennedy has reportedly already snatched up a new, more modestly sized home in the Kalorama neighborhood that records show she bought from socialite Charles "Chick" T. Cudlip for $1,650,000. Property records show the 3,150 square foot brick-built beauty on Wyoming Avenue was built in 1959 and includes 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms.

Records also show that Missus Kennedy owns a house on Nantucket Island that she bought way back in 1998 for just $270,000. We're sure there are any number of East Coasters who wish they could still buy a house on Nantucket for under three hundred thousand buckaroos.

The Kennedy clan are relative parvenus compared to the Van Rensselaers, Van Cortlands, Livingstons, and Schuylers as well as all those damn DuPonts, but in the 100 years or so that they've been a wildly rich and politically powerful they've acquired much of the taste and trappings of so-called "old money" families. These things include imposing houses filled with lots of oil paintings depicting bucolic landscapes dead people, closets full of wrinkled khaki pants, and family compounds in pricey seaside locations on the Eastern seaboard.

The Kennedys are among that set. Mister Teddy Kennedy–and his family–have long had a multi-parcel compound overlooking Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port, MA where the clan has gathered for decades to play touch football on the back lawn and other such physical endeavors. As far as Your Mama knows, Mister and Missus have been using the big house, the one owned by his now-passed parents Joe and Rose, as their base at the compound. However, now that Mister Kennedy has passed, the fate of the 6-ish acre compound is up in the air. It's presumed and widely reported that the compound will likely become a museum of some sort.

YOUR MAMAS UPDATE (Later Same Day): Thanks to a Boston Brahmin who blabbed to Your Mama, we've learned that Mister and Missus Kennedy's petite condo in Boston's Back Bay is not only on the market with an asking price of $1,050,000, but it's under contract for purchase after, according to the listing, only 21 days on the open market.

The full floor Marlborough Street condo is located in a lovely 5-unit brownstone building built in 1870 (above). Do they call them brownstones in Boston? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? The picayune pied a terre, presumably kept primarily so that Mister Kennedy could claim residency in Massachusetts, measures just 1,107 square feet and includes 1 bedroom, 1.5 poopers, 2 fireplaces and a study.

41 comments:

Chris said...

I suspect the Kennedys are still a notch or two below the top of the aristocratic East coast heap in spite of their fame and money (not so much anymore). The only "Kennedy" who was born upper class was Jackie who was not a real Kennedy and she had no money. Whether her daughter is at the tippy top I cannot guess.

Anonymous said...

In that neighborhood the sound you hear at night is not crickets; it's money folding.

WrteStufLA said...

That's not a lap pool. It's what's known as an "endless pool," with an artificial current. More like a "swimmer's treadmill."

Anonymous said...

Here ya go, a nice little picture of the rooftop courtesy of google maps. I live near there though NOT in the tony part. :-)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Tracey+Place,+NW,+Washington,+dc&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=50.956929,79.013672&ie=UTF8&hq=Tracey+Place,+NW,&hnear=Washington,+DC&ll=38.916137,-77.054031&spn=0.001542,0.002411&t=k&z=19

WrteStufLA said...

The home is listed with the local Sotheby's for $10 million. Here's a link to the listing:

http://www.ttrsir.com/detail/Washington/2425 Tracy Pl NW/4080031

Anonymous said...

Nice size bathtub in the lower left pic.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful stately home.
Very nice.

Anonymous said...

Mama
lose the apostrophe in the word Kennedys in the final paragraph.
Not the slightest reason in the world for it!

Anonymous said...

I drive through that area a lot looking for parking and have never noticed any security presence.

Anonymous said...

It seems a little sad to think about Teddy's seat being won by another today and the house looking a little like the White House, which he never was able to inhabit.
RIP

Anonymous said...

Mary Jo Kopechne says hi.

Anonymous said...

WrteStufLA....that doesn't look like the same house to me.

Anonymous said...

Mary Jo was swept under the rug rather quickly and there she remains. I think quite a bit of money made her ghost go away, did it not?

WrteStufLA said...

Anonymous, you're right -- I must have copied the wrong link. Here is the correct link, complete with virtual tours of some key rooms:

http://www.ttrsir.com/detail/Washington/KALORAMA/4212133

Anonymous said...

It's not that house; the address of the Kennedy house is 2416 Tracy Place.

MarkyMark said...

Interesting place; the sun room is charming. I love how the myth of Jackie O being "born upper-class" keeps perpetuating; somewhere she's smiling...

Anonymous said...

Yes. Buildings in Boston are often referred to as Brownstones. :)

Anonymous said...

Sure, it's beautiful... but it's cold and formal and there isn't a single place I'd feel comfortable in any of the shots you have in the composite pic. :(

Baskerwil said...

AD did a feature on the Kennedy home a while back:

http://www.architecturaldigest.com/homes/features/2009/09/edward_kennedy_article

WinstonC said...

"The eat-in kitchen, which looks to Your Mama a week bit claustrophobic for an almost 9,000 square foot house"

Isn't this simply because houses of a certain vintage haven't all been converted into that we-eat-in-our-huge-family-oriented-kitchen style? A large amount of large-ish houses (at least, where I live) have huge reception rooms, huge bedrooms and enormous hallways but quite often small, even galley kitchens. Mostly because the 'help' would be the only people who would experience such small spaces as the owners would never venture in themselves to select a cold refreshing lemonade on a warm afternoon - they would simply command that it be brought to them. A neighbour of mine has a large Georgian family townhouse of four bedrooms but, due to the fact that the owner before was elderly and maintained a staff of three until the day he left, the kitchen is one that belongs in a one bedroom flat.

W

Tally said...

As much as I enjoy your witty commentary, mama darling, it's obvious that you wouldn't recognize old money when you saw it. The pictures of the Kennedy house shows nothing more than upscale versions of Ethan Allan. All new, all shiny, all reproduction.

The other post was correct in that Jackie Kennedy was the Kennedy who came closest to coming from old money.

Do you want a taste of actual, genuine old money?

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/0--Hammersmith-Rd_Newport_RI_02840_1106543767

bentley said...

Just because I'm feeling a little pissed off and snarky this morning, Tally, do tell, because your link sure doesn't...

Montebello said...

Tally,
If you want old money this is a far better example compared to the home you posted that is in desperate need of some TLC.

http://www.ttrsir.com/detail/Charlottesville/Albemarle+House/4206342

Anonymous said...

Isn't Back Bay where lots of gays congregate in the Boston area? Mama don't listen to the haters. My verification words are "old money."

Anonymous said...

Listen, I think Tally is being a bit snotty considering that Mama never said the Kennedys were ond money, only that they acquired some of the trappings of old money. But albermarle house, as beautiful as it may be, is not old money. def. new money mimicking the owner's idea (and ideal) of English aristocracy or some such thing.

Anonymous said...

Montebello,
That place deserves a big "wow"...Dare I say I can see why it's listed for $100mm?

Also -before someone else points it out-because it says "21-30 years old" does that mean it's only masqerading as 'old money' or shall I assume it's an old family estate and the house has been rebuilt?

sandman said...

jackie o just might have been our first retahded 1st lady.
she was a big dummy & its funny that after all these years, we found out how dumb her daughter was.

WrteStufLA said...

Albermarle House was built for billionaire John Kluge and his (then) wife, Patricia. She supposedly received the estate as part of their very amicable divorce settlement, and is now downsizing. She's already further developed some of the estate and started a vineyard and winery. Mr. Kluge kept their NYC, Palm Beach and Scotland residences, and the yacht "Virginian." He's now well into his 90s. Ironically, Jackie O once owned an equestrian estate in the area -- Charlottsville VA is major "horse country."

Anonymous said...

Mama as always I thank you for all of your hardwork, let the others be damned with those nasty comments.
I am fascinated with this family and thought while reading what a terrific idea it would be to do a Stalking on the Kennedys Real Estate holdings. I do know that Ted's son got possesion of one of the houses in the compound and trust me those neighbors would never allow a museum but between what Jackie owned and now her daughter and the other siblings I am sure it would make a great read! Just a thought!

Sylvia Fowler said...

Do you want an actual taste of old money? What a great pick up line!

Anonymous said...

Where the hell is this house in Nantucket for under 300,000 in the late 90s? A crappy 2 bedroom
apt cost 500,000 then.

Home Equity Refinance said...

Such a beautiful home this is. Specially the reading area is looking awesome. I really like the idea behind its design. Thanks for sharing a master piece.

Anonymous said...

f@@k the kennedys. really.

Anonymous said...

Mama,

You need a geography lesson. Why would Ted need to own his Back Bay home in order to claim residency in MA? Hyannisport was his voting residence, not Boston.

Anonymous said...

Jackie was not old money, that was a myth she created. Her family were Irish potato farming immigrants, her parents divorced and her mother was the ultimate gold digger. She married Hugh Auchincloss whose family was very wealthy and owned Hammersmith Farm and Merrywood in Virginia. Jackie's father was a broke drunk who couldn't even sober up for her wedding to JFK.
After JFK's death she had nothing as all his money was in a trust for his kids so that's why she married Onassis and then fought for $25 million upon his death. She then hooked up with Maurice Templesman(head of DeBeers) and he helped turn her fortune to $250 Million. She was just an ordinary American who happened to marry a future president.

Anonymous said...

Quit the sniveling about "Old Money" because in this country there isn't any. All the big money families - except the du Ponts - made their serious money since the the Civil War.
Count as Old Money any family that has three generations educated at Harvard or Yale. There is a difference between having money (new or old) and being a Gentleman or Lady
At least our "Old Money" isn't like England where they live in grand estate, but have to rent out the place to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

Mama this comment is just a bit off the radar but is slightly related to your topic. Have you seen the Cosmo centerfold for Scott Brown? Wishing I had known him when he was in his 20s. wink wink. For a middle-aged guy he still looks pretty good. TTFN---Ta Ta For Now. My verification words are "au naturel."

Anonymous said...

By the way, this house was sold to the Kennedys by Paul and Elisabeth Nitze. I used to live down the street (in a grand condo, not a grand house) and often visited a friend's house on Tracy Place. Fine neighborhood in the District. The French Ambassador's residence is nearby (now that is a really grand structure - but has a serious insulation problem).

Washington's "old money" or rather "old families" are the Cavedwellers. The top of the order would be the "out-of-sighters." Outsiders might have trouble distinguishing this group due to their low-key style. Also they often tend to not hire decorators.

Thanks for this post, Mama. Very nice.

Essingvier

Anonymous said...

By the way, this house was sold to the Kennedys by Paul and Elisabeth Nitze. I used to live down the street (in a grand condo, not a grand house) and often visited a friend's house on Tracy Place. Fine neighborhood in the District. The French Ambassador's residence is nearby (now that is a really grand structure - but has a serious insulation problem).

Washington's "old money" or rather "old families" are the Cavedwellers. The top of the order would be the "out-of-sighters." Outsiders might have trouble distinguishing this group due to their low-key style. Also they often tend to not hire decorators.

Thanks. Very nice post, Mama.

Esslingvier

Anonymous said...

MAMA! Boston had Brownstones before NYC!

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