Known for his brash attitude and flashy designer suits, super-lobbyist Tony Podesta’s Washington, D.C., mansion, which just sold for $8.2 million, exhibits the same sort of eye-catching brio. While the sale price is considerably below the not quite $10 million originally asked for, it’s still more than twice the $3.9 million the former super-lobbyist paid for the property just over 16 years ago.
The 9,200-square-foot mansion was built in 1929 and was re-designed for Podesta by architect Olvia Demetriou of HapstakDemetriou+, who was tapped to inject the stately house with a contemporary flamboyance that could serve as a worthy container to entertain some of the world’s most powerful political figures—Nancy Pelosi, Henry Reid, and Queen Rania of Jorden have all been entertained here—and to showcase an extensive collection of contemporary artwork that includes pieces by Olafour Eliasson, Louise Bourgeois, and Petrina Hicks.
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Enveloped in greenery, the dour Georgian stone exterior hides committed, if unexpectedly minimalistic spaces that incorporate a steel helix staircase in the foyer, a commercial-grade elevator that services all floors (perfect for moving heavy sculpture), museum-quality lighting throughout, and a geothermal heating and cooling system. Given the dazzling value of the artwork that was showcased here, not to mention that the property is two doors down from Barak and Michelle Obama’s D.C. digs, the security system is unsurprisingly comprehensive.
A vast reception room adorned with an elaborately carved 15th-century marble fireplace and a Palladian window is large enough to be converted to a dining room that will comfortably seat sixty. In the less formal, open-plan great room, the kitchen is clean-lined with sleek white lacquer cabinets. Gone, however, is the sinuous, 16-foot-long Ingo Maurer red ribbon chandelier that once hung over the island. A 20-foot-wide expanse of glass slides open to the limestone terraced backyard, where there’s a mysterious, black-shard water feature. The yard, conceived as a sculpture garden by landscape architect Richard Arentz, also includes a wood-fired pizza oven and a built-in gas grill.
The main bedroom is a suite of rooms with a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass that artfully frames a dense wall of trees and greenery. There’s also an open marble bathroom, a hidden morning/midnight bar, and a huge dressing room large enough to park a car or two in. French doors open the dressing room to a private deck set in the treetops overlooking the backyard.
There are two more bedrooms, an exercise room, and a spacious TV lounge, along with ample storage on the third floor, while the basement level includes an in-law or staff suite, a fully equipped catering kitchen, and a humidity-controlled wine cellar. There’s also a two-car garage behind an electric driveway gate.
Podesta has long been one of Washington’s most insidery insiders, with the ear of presidents and important members of Congress. Starting in 2012, he and the Podesta Group, which he founded with his brother John Podesta, came under federal investigation for compliance with the Foreign Agent Registration Act. The investigation was closed in 2019 without any charges being brought.
Tax records indicate Podesta and his partner Trisja Malisoff aren’t leaving D.C., at least not entirely; last year they shelled out a total of about $3.1 million for a pair of loft-style condos (and several parking spots) in the bustling Logan Square neighborhood.
Click here for more photos of Tony Podesta’s former home in D.C.
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