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Gavin Newsom will skip living in the governor’s mansion [Update]

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The historic 30-room Italianate Victorian—once the home of Ronald Reagan—was built in 1877

exterior shot of the governor’s mansion
The California Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento.
Photo by AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Update: After less than three weeks inside the governor’s mansion, Gavin Newsom and his family announced plans to move to the suburbs of Sacramento. According to the Sacramento Bee, the Newsoms purchased a $3.7 million, 12,000 square-foot, 6-bedroom house in the Fair Oaks neighborhood in December.

As soon as the home’s renovation is finished, which should take no less than a couple of weeks, the Newsoms will move into the property with their two dogs and one rabbit.

According to a statement from spokesperson Nathan Click, Newsom and his family “love” being a permanent part of Sacramento now.


It’s official. Gavin Newsom and his family will move into the historic mansion after he takes office, reports the Sacramento Bee. According to spokesman Nathan Click, the family will reside in the mammoth Victorian “for the immediate future.”

From 1903 to 1967, the historic governor’s mansion of California, a 30-room, three-story Italianate Victorian built in 1877, housed 13 governors. Although the home was avoided for two decades, former governor Jerry Brown, who had shunned the large home in favor of a small apartment during his first two terms (1975 to 1983), finally moved into the historic property in 2015 with his wife, Anne Gust Brown, and their two dogs, Cali and Colusa Brown, after a $1.6 million renovation.

Currently the lieutenant governor, Newsom lives in Marin County with his wife, documentarian Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and their four children. The family will make an address change once Newsom steps into his new role. The former San Francisco mayor and onetime District Two supervisor is accustomed to living in the Bay Area. A move to Sacramento, a decidedly more landlocked lifestyle, is a hard pill for any coastal dweller to swallow—more for the state’s blue-blooded new leader. (Which isn’t to suggest that Sacramento is a podunk town. Quite the contrary. It’s hot with new high-rises and nice restaurants, a world class arena, and beautiful neighborhoods.)

Carpenter Stephen Jacobsen touches up work on one main entry doors at the Governor’s Mansion in 2015.
Photo by AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

“We’re going to discuss that the next nine months and see how things are with the kids where they are right now,” Siebel Newsom once explained to the Sacramento Bee in November, following a press conference.

California’s governor-elect said last year that the position “is not a desk job,” adding that “the old construct that you’re stuck in some office in a state Capitol is rather absurd.” (Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted by private plane from his Brentwood home in Los Angeles and stayed in a hotel suite at the Hyatt Regency when needed.)

Although Brown did at one time live inside the Victorian home as a child—Jerry’s father, Pat Brown, was also governor from (1951 to 1959)—Ronald Reagan was the last governor to live inside the downtown mansion prior to Jerry’s return. An alternative governor’s residence, a late-midcentury affair, was built in the tony Sacramento suburb of Carmichael at the behest of the Republican lawmaker, though Reagan and his wife, Nancy, actually moved into a beautiful home in the Fabulous Forties enclave of east Sacramento, a location most recently seen in Ladybird.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, pose outside the governor’s mansion in 2017.
Photo by AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Prior to winning the election, Brown famously dubbed the Carmichael home “Taj Mahal” and criticized Reagan for constructing a lavish estate during a recession when many Californians couldn’t find adequate housing.

Seemingly kind words from Brown compared to Sacramento-born writer Joan Didion, who called the mansion, “an enlarged version of a very common kind of California tract house.” But Didion’s words might not have been a diss at the Carmichael house.

The writer has always had a thing about Sacramento being ordinary. In fact, a Didion quote from a 1979 New York Times profile written by Michiko Kakutani was used as the epigraph in Ladybird: “Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.”

You can’t tell if Didion loves or hates it, which is how many denizens feel about California on any given day.