Harris exchanged forest green wallpaper for fuchsia, one of many ways the official Vice President’s Residence has evolved during her term
Kamala Harris is rethinking pink.
The first female vice president in U.S. history has transformed the “other” People’s House — the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, D.C. — in significant ways.
The home’s library, for example, now features pink-hued walls, an intentional choice by Harris, 59.
“This room, for many years, had a very dark forest green and then a lime green striped wallpaper,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “And I decided to change it up a bit. I think that this color, which is almost a fuchsia pink, is also a color of power and it’s also warm. And so, in some ways, I guess we’ve been challenging notions about what power looks like.”
Harris, of course, has been challenging long-established, deeply entrenched power structures throughout her ceiling-shattering career.
Her marriage of nine years to Doug Emhoff, 59, marks another set of firsts: Emhoff is the first-ever second gentleman and the first Jewish person among the “Big Four” in the White House. (A small silver mezuzah, a symbol of the Jewish faith, is affixed on the doorpost of the residence for the first time ever.)
Standing in the library, Harris points to a book called Our Vice-Presidents and Second Ladies, noting that now “there will not just be a new addition to that book. There will be a new book.”
One of Harris’ goals, she says, has been to make the historic house — which is located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory — and those who visit feel welcome and included.
“I have been very purposeful about bringing a real variety of American art with a lot of young artists,” she says. “So that we’re not only having art from the 1800s, but contemporary art [too].”
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She and the second gentleman — who have hosted everything from world leaders to local school children to Pride events and Diwali celebrations — “feel that it is important to make this house reflective of who we are as America,” she says, “and that we make it accessible to the variety of people that we are.”
On a personal note, she says that she and Emhoff and their blended family enjoy gathering in the home’s library: “It really is one of my favorite rooms. My family, we play cards here, we play games here. So it’s nice when the family’s here.”
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