What It's Like to Renovate the House Next to Obama's

Hint: It's not exactly fun

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 2, 2010 12:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Home renovations are always a pain, but never more so than when your home is right next door to the president’s. The Moynihans, who bought the house adjacent to the Obamas' place in Chicago, are going through all sorts of non-typical construction experiences, reports the New York Times in a look at the project: blockades; background checks; no food, coffee, or smoking allowed; and, of course, the Secret Service watching workers clean the Port-a-Potties.

The home was purchased in April for $1.4 million, and the Moynihans need to move in by next Labor Day. But moving quickly can be difficult when every change to the exterior of the house has to “go through layers and layers, phone calls, meetings,” says the builder. The Obamas “want their neighbors to have the home they want,” he says, but if there’s a concern—like the covered walkway the family originally wanted, aka a possible hiding place for an intruder—“we hear about it.” Click here to see how much it costs Chicago to protect Obama's home.

In this Dec. 10, 2009 file photo in Chicago, The home belonging to President Barack Obama and family, left, is pictured. The 17-room house next door, right, has been sold for $1.4 million.
In this Dec. 10, 2009 file photo in Chicago, The home belonging to President Barack Obama and family, left, is pictured. The 17-room house next door, right, has been sold for $1.4 million.   (M. Spencer Green, File)
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We don’t want the president walking up and having a Burger King wrapper flying across his yard.
- Builder Robert Berg, explaining why one worker was employed with sweeping away all leaves as soon as they hit the ground during tree trimming

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