Camera Ready CNN’s chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash knows how to prepare for a photo shoot. Breezing down the stairs of her house, she is perfectly made up and coiffed with a welcoming smile on her face. Of course, Home & Design’s camera crew is not the only one she’ll be facing on this day. She will soon be on her way to CNN to cover the latest political maneuverings in the House and Senate. It’s a job she’s been doing for nine years and it definitely keeps her busy.
As does her four-year-old boy, whose father is her former husband, CNN anchor and chief national correspondent John King. Bash lives with her son in the house she purchased in 2007 on a sleepy block in Northwest DC. Built in 2001, it combines clean lines and modern amenities with traditional elements like wainscoting and a stone fireplace. It also offers plenty of space for a very active child to run around.
Though Bash loves the house, she was originally drawn to the land, which accommodates a patio, swimming pool, and lawn, plus blooming shrubs and brimming flowerpots. “I wanted to live in DC but still have the benefits of suburbia,” she says. “I’m very much an outside person, so the garden was important to me.”
Bash lived in the house for a number of years before deciding to decorate. She had purchased it from a designer who also sold her the classic Niermann Weeks chandelier and massive mirror that still occupy the living room and front hall, respectively. “There was enough there that I liked, so I just left it alone and didn’t add a lot of ‘me’ into it,” she says.
When she was finally ready, she hired designer Melissa Broffman, whom she knew because Broffman had worked at CNN in a previous career. Together, they tackled the house in stages. “Dana’s very decisive. She could do it all by herself; she just doesn’t have the time,” Broffman observes.
Bash characterizes her taste as “classically contemporary with a little bit of glam.” Broffman helped her choose pieces that fit her style, including a Donghia sofa paired with a gilt wall sculpture by Christopher Guy for the living room. A plush chaise in her bedroom conveys a chic but understated vibe. While Bash didn’t relinquish all the decision-making, she explains that she was confident that “Melissa knows me and would understand what I wanted.”
Throughout the house, artwork picked up during her travels clearly reflects Bash’s aesthetic—as well as a sense of whimsy and playfulness. A vibrant painting of a flower by her boyfriend, L.A.-based actor Spencer Garrett, stands front and center in the dining room, while a series of celebrity portraits by artist Richard Zarzi recently acquired in London, hangs in the living room. Numbered prints by Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) add punches of vibrant color. A Jonathan Adler pillow depicting Jackie Onassis sits on the living room sofa, and a poster of Audrey Hepburn as Coco Chanel graces the upstairs landing. “I like empowered women who are classy and chic,” Bash says. “I like to be inspired by them.”
The daughter of Stuart Schwartz, a longtime producer at ABC, the New Jersey-born Bash moved to DC to attend George Washington University and never left. “It wasn’t about politics at the time,” she recalls. “My dad likes to joke that I graduated from college without knowing there were three branches of government! But I caught the bug pretty fast. My whole childhood, I said ‘I’ll never go into TV news—you have vacations taken away, you work crazy hours.’ Then I stopped fighting my DNA and went with it.”
Bash joined CNN right after college and has been there ever since. As a top political correspondent, she will soon be on the road covering the 2016 election. “My favorite part of the job is witnessing what will soon be history up close and personal, being part of the action,” she comments.
For Bash, downtime these days means relaxing at home with her son, who, she says, has pretty much taken over. Minutes before the camera crew arrived, “we had a rollercoaster going through the living room under the Niermann Weeks chandelier,” she laughs. “That’s why there’s no rug. My son likes it better that way! “This house makes me so happy,” she continues. “It’s the most rewarding thing for me these days, just being at home with my son.”