Jeff Bezos has been quietly jetting into Washington over the past few years, becoming quite the hobnobber around town (for all the details of his local life, click here). Soon, Washingtonians may see even more of him. In 2016, the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner paid $23 million in cash for the former Textile Museum in Kalorama (yes, his neighbors are the Obamas and Kushner-Trumps). At 27,000 square feet, the mansion was already the biggest home in Washington before he began a $12 million renovation and expansion last year.
Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, plan to use the home for A-level socializing. And we’re not talking your cozy Washington dinner party, although presumably there’ll be plenty of those, too. Washingtonian filed a public-records request with the city’s zoning office to get copies of the blueprints for the renovations. They reveal a party pad of epic proportions.
Overseen by the Barnes Vanze architecture firm, the reno project covers 191 doors (many either custom mahogany or bronze), 25 bathrooms, 11 bedrooms, five living rooms/lounges, five staircases, three kitchens, two libraries/studies, two workout rooms, two elevators—and a huge ballroom. Read on for the highlights.
The mansion actually comprises two homes, the Pope and the Wood, which date back to the early 1900s and are joined by a connecting walkway. Below, the original footprints for the Pope and Wood houses are on the left; to the right are the proposed renovations for both homes. Note the new “garden-room” addition to the Wood house — one designer tells us that judging from the drawings, this solarium will be “fabulous.”
The Pope house was designed by John Russell Pope, the architect responsible for the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. According to the documents, the Pope’s four stories will serve primarily as the family’s residence, with all the essentials for a tech-titan billionaire. The lower level (pictured below) has the main living quarters. Note the big whiskey cellar with plentiful drying racks (upper left) and the walk-in wine room (center). There’s also a large lounge complete with a bar, a family kitchen, and an elevator.
The upper floors (not pictured) house multiple bedrooms and a couple large dressing rooms, one of which has its own fireplace. No one will be fighting over the bathroom—there are 10 in the Pope house. An exercise room, a TV room, and a family kitchenette (that’s in addition to the large kitchen on the lower level) are among the other rooms upstairs.
Next door, the larger Wood house (below) will serve as the Bezos’s headquarters for Washington entertaining. Besides the rooms that guests will see (more on those in a minute), the property has all the infrastructure needed for large affairs: an area for grilling, furniture storage, staff changing rooms and offices, a kitchen just for catering parties, a coat room, and multiple bathroom stalls.
An enormous slab marble staircase greets guests in the main vestibule before they move into the ballroom (below, right). At almost 1,500 square feet, it has a bar, floor-to-ceiling Ionic fluted columns, a limestone fireplace, and a balconied promenade with iron guardrails that overlooks the space from the second floor. A 36-foot-long gallery, a solarium (“garden room”), two terraces, and a living room round out the floor.
Upstairs, there are four guest bedrooms and bathrooms, plus housing for staff (below). And what would a multi-million-dollar estate be without another elevator?
Behind the homes are extensive grounds, with a landscaped yard stretching toward Decatur Street, Northwest (below, to the right). Newly planted trees and stone paths cut through the space, which also has two fountains, a garden pavilion, and a pergola.
The garden pavilion (below) is made of stucco, brick, and limestone with a cupola and a copper roof and gutters. It will have gas lighting, a fireplace, and a chimney.
Such expansive grounds need upkeep—a one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath carriage house (below) at the back of the property will house a caretaker. A rooftop garden stretches over the top, and restored, historic police-globe light fixtures line the outside. The house has a two-car garage off Decatur Street, Northwest.
Besides DC, the world’s richest man owns homes in Washington state, Beverly Hills, Texas, and New York. Bezos’s architecture firm predicts the Kalorama estate will be finished by December—perhaps just in time for an HQ2 reveal?
Ben Wofford contributed reporting.