Buckle your real estate safety belts, because with President Barack Obama’s eight-year residency in the White House about to come to an end, conjecture and rumor about where he and the First Lady will settle permanently have once again kicked in to high gear. Earlier this year it was widely reported the Obamas plan to set up temporary house in a rented a nine-bedroom mansion in the affluent, embassy-filled Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C. while their youngest daughter finishes high school. But where will they go from there?
They continue to own a large house in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago and his presidential library will be built there but few seem to think they have any desire to return to on a full-time basis. Over the summer of 2015 there was a wee bit of wholly unsubstantiated chatter they might like to move to New York City and there were also scads of unconfirmed reports before that they might be the ultimate beneficiary of an ocean front home in Hawaii that was purchased for $8.7 million via a corporate concern controlled by financier Marty Nesbitt, a frequent golf buddy of the outgoing president. For the record, Mister Nesbitt confirmed his purchase but said that he “did not have any partners or co-investors” and the White House denied any connection between the president and the property, which was featured in the 1980s television series “Magnum P.I.”
Over the summer of 2014, after they spent a long weekend there, rumors began to circulate and then went hog wild the First Couple was on the hunt for a getaway in the affluent and golf-centric California desert community of Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs. Unsubstantiated rumors have persisted since and today comes word courtesy of unidentified “sources” in the New York Post that their long speculated about potential desert home purchase is now “a done deal.” It should be noted not a single detail of the home they allegedly bought was provided and Coachella Valley real estate agents and community leaders contacted by the local paper, The Desert Sun, expressed skepticism about the veracity of the latest post-presidential desert home purchase rumors.
The Post went on to report that the Obamas are “also said to have bought a holiday getaway” in his native state of Hawaii — again with no specifics about the home — and that “Folks in the know believe” the soon to be former first couple will engage the expensive decorating and design services of Michael S. Smith to overhaul both homes. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the way of actual evidence of a property purchase yet but if the Obamas were to buy a house in Rancho Mirage and/or Hawaii and/or anywhere else it wouldn’t be such a stretch they’d hire Mister Smith to do them up. Not only did the celebrated decorator, known for his approachably luxurious style, spruce up the Oval Office for the president, he and his longtime domestic partner, James Costos, the Obama-appointed ambassador to Spain and Andorra, are personal friends of the Obamas and own a huge home in the guard-gated Thunderbird Heights enclave in Rancho Mirage where both the President and the First Lady have visited on several occasions.
Rancho Mirage may or may not be the future permanent home or wintertime getaway of Barack and Michelle Obama but either way the hot as Hades desert community is certainly no stranger to presidential power or former White House residents. Sunnylands, a 200-acre estate custom-built by media tycoon and diplomat Walter Annenberg and often referred to as the Camp David of the West, has over the years hosted a veritable army world leaders — Obama has several times met with international power brokers there — and former president Gerald Ford retired to a 6,300-square-foot custom-built home inside the guarded gates of the Thunderbird Country Club.