The former Qing dynasty diplomatic residence in Adams Morgan now houses 13 condo owners. The building, on 19th Street NW near the Washington Hilton, is among many former diplomatic offices or residences that have been converted for private use.

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The former Qing dynasty diplomatic residence in Adams Morgan now houses 13 condo owners. The building, on 19th Street NW near the Washington Hilton, is among many former diplomatic offices or residences that have been converted for private use.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Audrey Bender, one of the unit owners in the former Qing legation building, says the condo \

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Audrey Bender, one of the unit owners in the former Qing legation building, says the condo "just took hold of me." She paid $900,000 for it.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The residence's former reception room is now part of Bender's condo. It was designed at the turn of the century for the envoy from China's Qing dynasty, and retains original elements including a built-in credenza (under the red lantern) and the glass doors.

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The residence's former reception room is now part of Bender's condo. It was designed at the turn of the century for the envoy from China's Qing dynasty, and retains original elements including a built-in credenza (under the red lantern) and the glass doors.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Bender's unit off the main lobby had been \

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Bender's unit off the main lobby had been "party central" for renters. But, says Bender, "the idea that nobody painted the wood, nobody removed the fire screen, nobody took the cushions -- it was extraordinary to me."

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Bender, a retired creative crafts editor for Family Circle magazine, displays a lifetime's worth of art objects.

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Bender, a retired creative crafts editor for Family Circle magazine, displays a lifetime's worth of art objects.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Bender believes that some of her displays would have delighted the envoy's daughters.

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Bender believes that some of her displays would have delighted the envoy's daughters.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Bender says she feels an almost mystical connection to her apartment.

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Bender says she feels an almost mystical connection to her apartment.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Michael Mooney and Eileen Ritter also own a condo in the former Qing legation building. A large fiddle-leaf fig tree soaks up sun from the south-facing windows.

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Michael Mooney and Eileen Ritter also own a condo in the former Qing legation building. A large fiddle-leaf fig tree soaks up sun from the south-facing windows.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

A glass door in Mooney and Ritter's living room leads to a balcony. Their condo and the others in the building are assessed at between $476,000 and $797,000.

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A glass door in Mooney and Ritter's living room leads to a balcony. Their condo and the others in the building are assessed at between $476,000 and $797,000.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Ritter, a designer, and Mooney, an e-marketer, live in the space where Envoy Extraordinary Wu Ting-fang once slept and relaxed.

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Ritter, a designer, and Mooney, an e-marketer, live in the space where Envoy Extraordinary Wu Ting-fang once slept and relaxed.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Duncan House, at one time the Taiwanese chancery, sits at 18th and R streets NW. Among its features are a two-story stained-glass window in a concert hall the original owner designed to house a massive organ.

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Duncan House, at one time the Taiwanese chancery, sits at 18th and R streets NW. Among its features are a two-story stained-glass window in a concert hall the original owner designed to house a massive organ.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Anne Maxwell Dellinger and Waler Dellinger bought their condo in the former Taiwanese chancery because of this large window in the dining area that overlooks 18th Street.

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Anne Maxwell Dellinger and Waler Dellinger bought their condo in the former Taiwanese chancery because of this large window in the dining area that overlooks 18th Street.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Walter, a lawyer, and Anne, a retired law professor, were the first buyers, in 2006, when the building's nine units were selling for between $575,000 and $1.5 million.

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Walter, a lawyer, and Anne, a retired law professor, were the first buyers, in 2006, when the building's nine units were selling for between $575,000 and $1.5 million.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The exterior of the former Omani chancery on Massachusetts Avenue NW, off Sheridan Circle.

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The exterior of the former Omani chancery on Massachusetts Avenue NW, off Sheridan Circle.

Matt McClain/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Designer Darryl Carter, in his master bedroom with his dog Otis, has been refining the former Omani chancery since he bought it in 1999 for about $500,000. The four-story 1914 mansion has almost 6,000 square feet.

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Designer Darryl Carter, in his master bedroom with his dog Otis, has been refining the former Omani chancery since he bought it in 1999 for about $500,000. The four-story 1914 mansion has almost 6,000 square feet.

Patricia Lyons

The Embassy Circle Guest House, ar 2224 R. St. NW, was formerly the offices of the Taiwanese military attache.

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The Embassy Circle Guest House, ar 2224 R. St. NW, was formerly the offices of the Taiwanese military attache.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Laura and Raymond Saba paid $1 million for the property in 2003, renovated it and opened it as Embassy Circle Guest House in 2007. The bed-and-breakfast commands $190 to $290 a night.

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Laura and Raymond Saba paid $1 million for the property in 2003, renovated it and opened it as Embassy Circle Guest House in 2007. The bed-and-breakfast commands $190 to $290 a night.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The 8,250-square-foot property was built in 1902 for a French architect and antiques collector. After the Taiwanese government sold it to a Taiwan interest group in 1878, the Georgian-style manison deteriorated before the Sabas bought it.

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The 8,250-square-foot property was built in 1902 for a French architect and antiques collector. After the Taiwanese government sold it to a Taiwan interest group in 1878, the Georgian-style manison deteriorated before the Sabas bought it.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The former residence of the Ghanaian ambassador was once the home of Col. Robert McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune and, briefly, of the old Washington Times-Herald.

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The former residence of the Ghanaian ambassador was once the home of Col. Robert McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune and, briefly, of the old Washington Times-Herald.

Mark Finkenstaedt/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Jim and Mai Abdo bought their 1920s home in 2002 for $2.25 million. The renovation of the 9,000-square-foot structure was \

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Jim and Mai Abdo bought their 1920s home in 2002 for $2.25 million. The renovation of the 9,000-square-foot structure was "a total gut job."

Mark Finkenstaedt/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The Abdos' dining room seats 10.

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The Abdos' dining room seats 10.

Mark Finkenstaedt/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The Abdos' home, off Embassy Row, comfortably accommodates them and their two children.

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The Abdos' home, off Embassy Row, comfortably accommodates them and their two children.

Mark Finkenstaedt/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The Abdos' kitchen. Jim Abdo specializes in adaptive reuse of historical structures.

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The Abdos' kitchen. Jim Abdo specializes in adaptive reuse of historical structures.

Mark Finkenstaedt/MARK FINKENSTAEDT

Jim Abdo says that when he first toured the former Ghanaian ambassador's residence, \

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Jim Abdo says that when he first toured the former Ghanaian ambassador's residence, "I saw waterfalls pouring in the house," which had been vacant about a year.

Mark Finkenstaedt/MARK FINKENSTAEDT

Even so, he says: \

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Even so, he says: "Water can't hurt that building. It's all concrete, steel and terra cotta brick; there isn't a wood joist in the place."

Mark Finkenstaedt/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

The Abdos' home also boasts a rear patio and pool.

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The Abdos' home also boasts a rear patio and pool.

Mark Finkenstaedt/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

This former Costa Rican chancery in Dupont Circle is now apartments.

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This former Costa Rican chancery in Dupont Circle is now apartments.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Designer Patrick J. Baglino Jr. lives in a parlor-floor unit.

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Designer Patrick J. Baglino Jr. lives in a parlor-floor unit.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Baglino has blond wood cabinetry and a fireplace in the living room, with French doors leading to a dining room/office.

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Baglino has blond wood cabinetry and a fireplace in the living room, with French doors leading to a dining room/office.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

Baglino has lived in diplomatic spaces before. In 2010, this was the foyer of his home in the former residence of the ambassador from Papua New Guinea.

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Baglino has lived in diplomatic spaces before. In 2010, this was the foyer of his home in the former residence of the ambassador from Papua New Guinea.

Steven A. Henry

In 2010, this was the living room of that same penthouse in the building that also had been used by the president of the Pacific island nation of Nauru. The interior design received attention in D.C. Modern Luxury magazine.

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In 2010, this was the living room of that same penthouse in the building that also had been used by the president of the Pacific island nation of Nauru. The interior design received attention in D.C. Modern Luxury magazine.

Steven A. Henry