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Climate House Hunting: Jackie O. Edition

On the climate risks of Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ famous homes.

Jackie Onassis.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Glued to real estate posts on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, or Architectural Digest and wondering how those gorgeous homes will hold up in the next decades? I have you covered.

Heatmap has partnered with my new climate risk platform, Habitable. Every Friday, we add a climate risk score to the real estate listings featured in the news this week and ask: Could you live here as the climate changes?

Using a model developed by a team of Berkeley data scientists at Climate Check, Habitable scores each property for heat, flood, drought, and fire risk on a scale of 1-10. One represents the lowest risk and 10 is the highest. Our rating for each hazard is based on climate change projections through 2050. (You can check your own home’s climate risk here.)

For today’s column, I applied the Habitable Index to Jackie O.’s collection of homes after reading about them in the WSJ. Throughout her life, Jaccqueline Kennedy Onassis lived in some of the most tasteful estates in the most coveted locations on the East Coast. All of these properties have increased in value and what’s more, the fact she lived there — the Jackie Factor — commands an additional 10% premium on the house price. I couldn’t help but wonder how her radar for real estate gems translated to longterm habitability since several of her previous homes sit on spectacular coastlines? Read on for the verdict to see which of Jackie O.’s homes are most Habitable from best to worst:

1. Lasata, East Hampton

White summer home surrounded by green lawn in East Hampton, New YorkCompass

In the case of Lasata, one of Jackie O.’s childhood summer homes in the Hamptons, the Jackie factor is definitely at play. The stunningly renovated house is now for sale for $55 million. Given the Further Lane, East Hampton, address and proximity to the ocean, Lasata is a true gem: It will not be under water any time soon and should continue to be a haven for summers to come.

Featured in WSJ and listed for $55 million.




2. Wildmoore, East Hampton

Multi-storied brick building with white pillars and railingSothebys

When she wasn’t at Lasata in the summer, Jackie (with her parents) spent time at Wildmoor, an East Hampton home owned by her paternal grandfather. Wildmoor is a few houses down from Grey Gardens (where her crazy cousins lived) and further inland. And like Lasata, this property is also blessed with very little climate risk.




3. Red Gate Farm, Martha’s Vineyard

Christies International RealtyChristies International Realty

Since 1978, Jackie O. summered at Red Gate Farm, a shingled house on more than 300 acres in Aquinnah, on the very tip of Martha’s Vineyard overlooking Squibnocket Pond. The property went up for sale in 2020 for $65 million (Jackie O. factor strikes again). In the end, the family sold 336 acres to two conservation groups — the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission and Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. Renamed Squibnocket Pond Reservation, the property will be open to the public in summer 2024. The land is set far back from the ocean and has a high elevation and remarkably little immediate flood risk. While it will be windy, the Squibnocket Pond Reservation will be a recreation spot for decades to come.




4. Hammersmith Farm, Newport

Library of CongressWhite mansion with floral landscaping outside

Jackie and John Kennedy’s wedding took place at this coastal mansion overlooking Narragansett Bay in Newport Rhode Island. The house sits on the most bucolic hillside and Hammersmith Farm was “the summer White House” in the early 1960s. It is now a working farm with horses, llamas, and peacocks and represents yet another example where Jackie’s lucky streak holds — an oceanfront home with remarkably low climate risk. She knew how to pick ‘em.




5. Merrywood, Virginia

Brick mansion with white pillars and gray roofSothebys

Jackie lived at Merrywood in the 1940s after her mother married Standard Oil heir Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jr. The Georgian-style mansion is only eight miles from downtown D.C. on the banks of the Potomac River and, thanks to the Jackie magic, remains a valuable real estate asset. AOL cofounder Steve Case paid $24.5 million for the house in 2005 and sold it 13 years later to the Kingdom Saudi Arabia for $43 million. She really should take a commission (or at least a bow) because she scored another Habitable house with little climate risk— only a very hot future like the rest of DC.




6. N Street, D.C.

Multi-storied brick building with staircase in front

The former Georgetown mansion owned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis recently hit the market for $26.5 million. The property is now three homes combined into one and shares the same conservative climate risk as Merrywood (above). Jackie, who paid $175,000 for the house, has great instincts for property, because other than heat, she chose (again) a very safe and habitable spot.

Featured in Southern Living and was originally listed for $26.5 million (the most expensive in DC) and now reduced to $19.5 million.




7. The White House

The White HouseGetty Images

Jackie Kennedy lived in the White House from 1961 to 1963. In less than three years, she redesigned the Rose Garden, supported the arts, became a fashion icon, and restored the White House to reflect its architectural history. With minimal climate risk, other than heat, three is a charm for her — The White House has relatively low climate risk.




8. The Kennedy Compound, Hyannis Port

Kennedy CompoundGetty Images

About three years after getting married, Jackie and John Kennedy bought their own house in Hyannis Port, Massachussets, next to Rose and Jack Kennedy, which became part of the famous Kennedy Compound. This house and compound are an aberration of Jackie’s very un-risky portfolio of homes: Extreme climate risks abound.


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Ann Marie Gardner

Ann Marie Gardner is an award-winning editor and entrepreneur. She writes about design and climate and just launched Habitable, a newsletter and tool to assess your home's risk from climate change. You can read it here: http://www.habitableliving.com/ Read More

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