U.S. presidents have a sweet deal when their home address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. No trips to Home Depot to compare paint swatches for the living room, no having to call a plumber in the middle of the night to fix busted pipes in the basement, and no mortgage payments.
But sooner or later, our presidents have to leave the White House and find a new place to write their memoirs. And the most recent occupants of that venerable mansion have proven themselves to be astute buyers, choosing comfortable, secluded homes of classic design, if not returning to long-held family homesteads.
With President’s Day just around the corner, Pacific Union decided to take a look at the private homes of our five living presidents.
Jimmy Carter is the country’s earliest surviving president (No. 39), and when he left office in January 1981, he returned to the only home he has ever owned: a modest ranch-style home at 209 Woodland Drive in Plains, Ga. that he and his wife Rosalynn bought new in 1961. The one-story house with wood siding sits on a 2.4-acre lot and includes three bedrooms, four bathrooms, two offices (one for Jimmy and one for Rosalyn), a dining room, a kitchen, a family room, and a sun room. A two-car garage was added in 1974. The Carters divide their time between their home in Plains and an apartment at the Carter Center in Atlanta.
George H.W. Bush (No. 41), built a home at 9 West Oak Lane South, in Houston’s West Oaks subdivision, shortly after leaving the White House in January 1993, but he and his wife Barbara spend much of their time at his family’s summer home and retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine. The Bush compound is located on a promontory called Walkers Point, which juts into the Atlantic Ocean. The main house is more than a century old and is clad in wood shingles, with nine bedrooms, four sitting rooms, an office, a den, a library, a dining room, and a kitchen. Nearby are a four-car garage, a pool, a tennis court, a dock, a boathouse, and a guesthouse.
Bill Clinton (No. 42) goes home to a 126-year-old Dutch Colonial at 15 Old House Lane in Chappaqua, N.Y. The home covers 5,200 square feet — with five bedrooms and four bathrooms — and sits on a carefully manicured lot at the end of a gravel driveway on a quiet cul-de-sac in what is reported to be a heavily Democratic community in Republican-dominated Westchester County. Bill and Hillary Clinton paid $1.7 million for the property in 1999, just before he left the White House. A local real estate professional once described the home as “just a lovely living space,” with a living room that flows into a library and a family room connected to the kitchen and a screened porch.
Barack Obama (No. 44) has another couple of years in the White House, but his home in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood will be waiting for him when he’s through with Washington, D.C. Barack and Michelle Obama bought the Georgian Revival mansion at 5046 South Greenwood Ave. in 2005, shortly after Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate. The price tag: $1.65 million. The 6,199-square-foot home was built in 1917 and has six bedrooms and four fireplaces, plus a four-car garage.
(Photo: Flickr/Angela N.)