The Queen Anne-style home provides privacy and a respite from the bustle of Washington that is not available at the White House, which is “lovely and beautiful, but you kind of live above the store,” Mr. Dufour said.
The seven vice presidents who lived at Number One Observatory Circle before Ms. Harris cherished the expansive grounds, and the ability to make the house their own. When the Bidens lived there, they painted the dining room the same shade of blue as their home in Delaware, and hung pieces on loan from the National Gallery of Art.
It has also become somewhat of a tradition for each new tenant to preside over improvements to the 128-year-old house. The Cheneys remodeled the kitchenette, for instance. The Pences added a beehive. (On Tuesday, an official with Ms. Harris’s office said the bees would “absolutely” be staying.) And the Bidens added a small garden that features the names of past occupants, and their pets, etched in stones surrounding a fountain.
“Each person has added something to make the home better for the next family,” Jill Biden told The Washington Post as the Bidens, then vice president and second lady, prepared to depart the residence in 2017. Most residents hired a designer to help, but Ms. Harris and Mr. Emhoff have not done so yet.
On Tuesday, an official in Ms. Harris’s office said that the vice president and Mr. Emhoff would be “discussing long-term projects” that would incorporate elements of California, where she served as attorney general and as a senator, and her cultural heritage as the first woman of color to hold the job.
Ms Harris’s predecessors often hosted personal or official events at the home, and have often interacted with people from the neighborhood, who have to contend with the daily clog of motorcades and the noise of Marine Two flying overhead.
“You have to be conscious when you put on an event,” Mr. Dufour said. “People in the neighborhood feel a lot of traffic.”