Here is The Evening Star article about the house, which was built by the real estate development firm McConihe-Whelan. The building permit for it was issued the week ending March 3, 1928. The cost of construction was $50,000, or about $700,000 in 2016 dollars. It sold in September 1929 for $90,000 or about $1.26 million in 2016 dollars.
Architect John Joseph Whelan was born in Philadelphia on April 5, 1902, and grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., where his father was a builder. He graduated from Princeton University with a B. Arch. in 1925. In 1926, he established McConihe-Whelan Inc. in Washington, D.C., in partnership with builder and Princeton classmate F. Moran McConihe. By 1928-1929, he had established his own architectural practice. Whelan specialized in large, luxurious homes for the wealthy, and embassies and consultantes. Projects include the Turkish Embassy and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
During World War II, Whelan was a design engineer for the U.S. Navy, serving at bases in New York and New Jersey. Whelan began experimenting in low-cost, prefabricated houses in 1930. His patented houses arrived already furnished and, much like diners of his day, were ready to move in upon delivery. In 1948, two years after working on a project of prefabricated houses in Oregon, he moved his architectural practice there. Whelan died in Portland, Ore., on April 18, 1961.
Interestingly, Obama will be the first president since Woodrow Wilson to live in the District of Columbia. William Howard Taft lived in D.C. after leaving the presidency (he was Chief Justice, after all), but Wilson came after Taft. True, Taft outlived Wilson, but... As for the others?
Harding died in office.
Coolidge retired to Vermont.
Hoover retired to California.
Roosevelt died in office.
Truman retired to Missouri.
Eisenhower retired to Pennsylvania.
Kennedy died in office.
Johnson retired to Texas.
Nixon retired to California.
Carter retired to Georgia.
Reagan retired to California.
Bush I retired to Texas.
Clinton retired to New York City.
Bush II retired to Texas.