The home of every u.s.president except george washington , the white house recognized as the symbol of american democracy is the oldest federal building in the nation’s capital and has been remodeled and restored many times over the years . It was designed by the Irish american architect james hoban over a site selected in 1791 . President john adams first moved into the unfinished house in 1800 after eight years of construction in 1792 . Known earlier by various names president theodore roosevelt officially gave the white house its current name in 1901 . From the ground floor corridor rooms transformed from their early use as service areas to the state floor rooms the white house is both the home of the president of united states and his family and a museum of american history . Spread over 55,000 sq feet there are 132 rooms 35 bathrooms and 6 levels of residence . The most famous room is the oval office where the president conducts business and meets with his advisors.