As President Obama’s time in office neared its last months in 2016, their future home outside the White House was a frequent guessing game in celebrity real estate media. Most of the rumors were that the Obamas were buying a new family home in Hawaii, Palm Springs, New York City, Washington, D.C., or would be going back to their former home in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. They ended up buying for $8.1 million the home they had been renting – an 8,200-square-foot home in Washington, D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood.
Whether the Obamas stay in Washington after their youngest daughter, Sasha, graduates from high school is uncertain but one thing is likely. The former First Family’s favorite interior decorator has portable skills and will most likely follow them from home to home well into the future. With Michelle’s penchant for taupes and beiges, it’s likely the Kalorama home will be next on the list for Michael S. Smith, decorator to the stars.
Now close friends, in 2008 Smith was called upon to redecorate the new President’s private quarters in the White House, and after he and Smith’s partner James Costos raised millions for Barack Obama’s re-election, Costos was named the Ambassador to Spain. The Obamas visited the couple in Spain and also stayed with them at their home in Rancho Mirage’s Thunderbird Heights. It was this visit that sparked baseless rumors that the Obamas were house shopping in Palm Springs.
Presidents aren’t the only celebrity clients in Michael S. Smith’s client inventory. He has also designed for Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, Dustin Hoffman and Harrison Ford. Smith is known for his talent at blending historic elements with contemporary and has met with much praise for his work at the White House.
Recently a marvelous beach house came on the market in Newport Beach, California, also decorated by Smith. Opening directly onto the dunes with the Pacific Ocean lapping on the sand and exposed to some of the world’s most striking sunsets, the house was built in 1988 by Marmol Radziner in collaboration with Michael Smith Interiors. The 2,814-square-foot, two-story house optimizes the sweeping views of dunes, sand and ocean. Consisting of four bedrooms and four baths split between the two floors, the upper master suite also has a large private sun deck with panoramic views of the coastline to Catalina Island. Ideal for entertaining and stay-over guests, the open floor plan invites conversation and the oceanside glass doors that vanish into the walls give seamless access to the terrace and well-outfitted outdoor kitchen. The indoor kitchen, which includes Viking and SubZero, has a large island overlooking the living room with its high ceilings and fireplace with the dining room and another fireplace to the right including a wine and coffee bar. The two downstairs bedrooms can also be closed off and turned into a private suite for extended guest stays. Priced at $6.35 million, Tim Carr of Villa Real Estate in Newport Beach, California is the listing agent.