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.