Monday, January 18, 2010

The Kennedy estates: on the market and recently sold

The Washington, DC area has been home to the Kennedy clan through the years, but perhaps signifying the end of an era, the last three grand DC area estates from JFK’s generation have recently been on the real estate block – two have sold, and one was recently listed.
First up – Hickory Hill, the McLean, Virginia home of Robert Kennedy; it was originally owned by JFK, who sold it to his brother in 1956. The real estate listing notes that this home was built in the late 1800s, and sits on almost 6 acres. It has 12 bedrooms, 10.5 bathrooms, and is only 12 minutes from Georgetown. The home was on the market for over 5 years; it originally listed for $25 million; it was later reduced to $16 million, then again to $12.5 million. The Washington Fine Homes website notes that it sold in January 2010 for $8.25 million; inside sources say that a technology mogul is the new owner. (I snapped the picture above, when on a trip to DC last year)
Cote de Texas did an extensive post on this home and the Robert Kennedy family. Zillow notes the home as 7,332 square feet, which of course is quite large; somehow, based on the exterior, I thought it would be even larger than that!
The family dining room, which has probably hosted its fair share of family dinners and other noteworthy events. If only the walls could talk!
The blue room, which serves as the home’s library; Joni of Cote de Texas notes that this is to the right of the front door.
The pink sitting room, which Joni notes is to the left of the entry. (All images via Washington Fine Homes)
Next, the home of Eunice and Sargent Shriver (Eunice, who died in August on ‘09, was John Kennedy’s sister and founder of the Special Olympics). Built in 1986, the 16,000 square foot home in Potomac, Maryland sits on 7 acres, and has 10 bedrooms, 11 1/2 bathrooms. It was originally listed for $11.8 million, and sold recently for $7.81 million; an international humanitarian organization purchased the property. All images via Washington Fine Homes and the WSJ.
This hall reportedly spans the entire width of the house! This truly looks like a family home that has been decorated for living; the home is filled with the pictures and furniture that the family loves, and does not seem to be designed solely to be impressive or magazine worthy.
As this home was built in the 1980s, it does not have the aged feel of Hickory Hill, but the decor does feels a bit fresher. Clearly the Shrivers were big fans of art and framed items, no doubt all meaningful in some way or another. I am intrigued by the large painting on the wall to the left of the door – perhaps it is a modern portrait of Maria Shriver.
A large formal dining room – something that all of the Kennedy homes seem to have in common. Based on the size of the rug, and the extra chairs in the room, this table was probably expanded on a regular basis to accommodate larger groups.
A music room that is decorated a bit more casually, again filled with portraits and meaningful framed items. Note the presidential seal on the wall to the left of the door, and the framed items that are hung on the inside of the door.
The back view of the Shrivers’ home – truly bucolic. Interesting that there is very little hardscape other than a small flagstone patio; it reminds me of something from a movie based on a Jane Austen book. I can only imagine what it must cost to keep this lawn mowed!
Finally, the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s house was recently listed for sale. The price is upon request, although I have heard speculation that the home is in the $8 million range. Senator Kennedy purchased this property in 1998 for $2.8 million; there are 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, an indoor lap pool, and a total of 8900 square feet. All of this in one of the most prime urban areas of Washington DC, Kalorama. Kennedy_1
Given that this is right in Washington DC, the home is not on a large piece of land like the other two. It bears a striking resemblance to another famous Washington DC home, doesn’t it? The real estate listing notes that the location is the best block of one of the best neighborhoods in DC.
The front door has a beautiful fanlight above.
The foyer is unusual, but probably very well suited for greeting the many guests that graced these halls during diplomatic dinners, fundraisers, and family gatherings. It looks like the floor is made out of stone. Image via listing.
Ted Kennedy’s home was featured in the November 1999 issue of Architectural Digest, one year after he moved in. The picture on the top is the real estate listing picture; on the bottom is the Architectural Digest picture (photo credit Bruce Katz). The room has remained remarkably unchanged in the 11 years since the photo shoot. The painting above the fireplace has changed, and the piano has been rotated (although, these things could have been changed just for the AD photo shoot). The AD article noted that this room functions beautifully when accommodating both large crowds and small groups. Interior design by Josepha Faley, ASID, of Chatsworth Design.
The room from a different angle.
A peek at the room beyond the living room, from the AD article – I love those jardinieres.
Here is a longer view of the same room, in the real estate listing. The painted floors are beautiful; it looks like there is a subtle nautical theme, with the compass and boat wheel.
The dining room as seen in the AD article.
The dining room on the real estate listing. The perspective of the real estate picture gives a sense for the size of this room. It is truly a dining room made for entertaining!
The library as seen in the AD article – a cozy little nook in the large home.
The library, as seen in the real estate listing. I preferred the chairs around the fire – seemed cozier!
Another view of the library, as seen in the real estate listing. Based on the view in the hall, this is at the top of the stairs of the entry hall.
A view of the master bedroom from the real estate listing looks as if time has stood still at this house! The AD article noted that the bed is by Julia Gray. I love the sculptural quality of the chandelier. Image via real estate listing.
Another perspective of the master bedroom shows that this is a room filled with natural light. Image via real estate listing.
The real estate listing has given us a peek into the kitchen of the home. Interesting cut out above the sink. I always love a bank of windows in a kitchen!
The house has an indoor lap pool – based on the tree line, I wonder if this is on the second floor?
As well as a lovely terrace off the back of the house.
Ted Kennedy’s home is listed by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information on this listing, please see the website for the listing - http://www.ttrsir.com/detail/Washington/KALORAMA/4212133. The contact information for the house and the realtors can be found on this page.
So, the end of an era in Washington DC – but based on insider information about who has purchased these homes, the beginning of a new era. I hope you enjoyed the tour - what a rare thing to get to see inside three Kennedy homes! Which home is your favorite? I would have to say that Ted Kennedy’s home appeals to me from a location perspective.

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  1. Great tour! Hickory Hill is my favorite - just a little bit of updating and renovation and it would be amazing!

  2. Thanks so much, what a great read. I liked Mr Ted Kennedy's decor the best...hands down. Well, it looks as though he is the only one who retained a professional. Although, I do love the Shriver's artwork...but in terms of decor, their house seem to lack cohesiveness. Anyway, that's my deep thought of the day;) Have a lovely weekend!


  3. What a great piece of history and the pics are gorgeous. thanks for posting!

  4. Thanks for this wonderful tour! Loved seeing how the decor differed between the Kennedy homes! Quite impressed how Sen. Ted Kennedy's house was almost the same as it was in the AD shoot. Take care.

  5. Fascinating! You can tell so much about people from their artwork. Great post.

  6. Beautiful homes and so much history. Thanks for the tour. Hugs, Marty

  7. I like that they are all unfussy. They look lived in and homey rather than like showrooms. The photos make the rooms seem so bright.

    As busy politicians they probably spent all too little time enjoying these homes.

  8. Funny that Ted Kennedy's house looks like a mini White House, even down to the hanging lantern detail!

  9. Great idea for a post! So interesting to get a glimpse into the private side of such a public family. I am intrigued that the Robert Kennedy home (my favorite for reason of mystic and shear history) decreased so much in value while the Ted Kenned home so sharply increased.

  10. Thanks for the tour. It makes me sad to think that it is an end of an era. RFK's home to me is the most appealing, but not from a design standpoint. I just think of the history--all those children. But Ted Kennedy's home is certainly decorated more appealingly. --Delores

  11. I live in this area and understand how marvelous it is to live in the city, as Ted did. I would have loved to have seen a picture of the house he and Joan designed...overlooking the Potomac in Va...The Kennedy family truly "lived" in their homes. Thanks for a great article. Suzanne

  12. I'd take the Shriver home - I appreciate the more casual nature. The collection of art is also a big selling point - although I DOUBT it is included in the sale! It helps give me a sense of the home's "energy," which for me, is important.

    Would love to see what the new owners keep or change!

    Great post!

  13. Very sad end of an era indeed around our area. Even with all the history of the fantastic homes, I would say Ted Kennedy's home appeals to me the most. It just has a fresh, modern sense to it that even a "regular" person could feel comfortable living in it.

  14. The Kennedy Era and their fabulous homes are always of interest to most of us. I like Ted's Home! Thank you for sharing with us!!

  15. One thing I've always loved about the Kennedy homes... they are all family places. Not really "done up" to impress. It's rather sad to see that the time has come for them all to be sold. I do wonder about the Hyannis compound.

  16. Keep in mind that Ted Kennedy's home has not sold yet - who knows what the sales price will actually be. The other two homes sold recently, after being on the market for a while, and a house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

    I thought I heard that there is a serious prospect for Ted's house.

  17. There is a casual elegance to Ted's house. Although as I saw in a comment above I can picture kids running in all of them, even the most fussy. No matter what your politics you have to admit that loyalty to country and family exemplified in the Kennedy family.

    Hopefully all the new owners will leave as much alone as possible. These homes are historically very important.

  18. I forgot to mention in the post that I thought it was interesting that the Shrivers built a 16,000 sf home with 10 bedrooms when they were empty nesters - and yet, it speaks to the fact that they were building a home where they expected their children and grandchildren to come and stay with them. It definitely reinforces the idea of a family compound, a place where the family can gather.

  19. thank you for the tour! that was very fun! j

  20. Having lived in Georgetown, I remember Kalorama being "the posh address" The house is really beautiful as everyone that you feature. Thank you for the tour! Quite a few years ago, I was selling real Estate in Marshfield , Massachusetts (near Boston) and I pitched and got the listing for Joe Kennedy. The house was also a beautiful country house but the interiors definitely referred to as well lived in.....

  21. Absolutely fascinating. Fancy a room that has remained unchanged for 11 years... I suppose they were too busy to 'foof' cushions, and play around with furniture!... a bit sad really. Thanks for a wonderful tour. A-M xx

  22. Wonderful post! To showcase all three homes was wonderful. It's obvious that all the Kennedy's had a real classical design sense, with Eunice's being the most contemporary (i.m.o.). It's also astounding to me that the prices had dropped so much. Not initial great investments on two of the homes... Regardless, I'd love to have any one of those homes!

  23. Terribly interesting post. It was very informative.
    All unique in their own way.
    The Kennedy's have always been fasinating.

  24. What a wonderful post! All beautiful homes. Love Hickory Hills.


  25. Great entry!

    I have always been interested in how people lives. This is a fantastic tour of the Kennedy's estates. You need to find a way to publish this piece in Architectural Digest.

  26. What a tour? Hickory Hill is my favorite. It is absolutely beautiful and I'm sure the grounds are equally as pretty. I know this took a lot of work pulling it together so thank you.

  27. You can tell so much about people from their artwork. Great post.

    Work from home India

  28. woweeeee
    this is some big and fascinating post.
    thank you for all the info and great images.


  29. amazing. I am reading his book right now. i wonder why vickie is selling it? it's so beautiful. you should read that book if you haven't - it's fascinating. he is such a sweet man - I had no idea!

  30. Thanks for the tour of homes. Such interesting history, and so fun to get to peek inside. All were beautiful and uniquely personalized.

  31. Fabulous post.Very interesting to know and see the way of life of the public prominent figures in USA. All are really wonderful and full of history.
    Thanks you for showing,

  32. Love Hickory Hill. I had no idea that it sold recently. I'll be putting soft window treatments like those in my next home.

  33. I like the idea of having a larger home when empty nesters so there is plenty of room for whomever wants to come.

    I agree with the general consensus of your readers, Ted Kennedy's has the most 'style' of all but not at all what I would consider for a person of wealth. The others have great structure but lack in substantial decor. They were/are a great family of philanthropy and that speaks well of character and where they put the importance of their wealth.

    As always, you find 'good stuff'!!


  34. i just read the sarah bradford bio of jackie kennedy and hickory hill is mentioned many times, as jackie was the one who had originally asked jack to purchase it. thank you for posting these lovely pictures!!

  35. That was such a great tour. And I forgot about the linen colour that your blog is and I think it's the only other possible option other than white! It's a signature look for you anyway, no changing it now :)

  36. Hi! What a great post! I actually got to photograph Ted Kennedy when I was a student at BU. He was fascinating to see in person. I wish the person photographing his home had not used a flash :( The AD photos are much better. I adored the post, as always! P.S. I kind of like the personal framed objects in the second home... makes it seem like more of a home and less of a showplace.

  37. I think I like the Shrivers' home best -- there's just something very homey about it, despite it's imposing size. I also love the grounds. That said, Ted Kennedy's home has some gorgeous flooring and the railing to the sunken living room is spectacular! It also feels the most modern/up-to-date to me.

  38. What a great tour of the Kennedy estates -- so much of us have a fondness for the Kennedys.

  39. wow, great tour. thank you! I loved reading that post and thinking about the history behind all of it.

  40. You can tell the lap pool is on the second by the skylights.


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