(Photo by BTW Images) The rustic pine beams are left over from when the house was a stable. The balcony is from when it was an organ factory.

Built as a horse stable in 1878, this unusual Capitol Hill house also spent time as an organ factory before becoming a private residence. Through all its transformations, its winsome details have been maintained.

Samuel S. Waters bought the stable in 1897 and converted it to an organ factory. He built organs there until his death in 1963; many of them were sold to local churches and theaters.

William E. Richards acquired the property in 1963. The Capitol Hill developer was known for taking old buildings and turning them into private homes. He won the Capitol Hill Society’s Restoration of the Year award that year for transforming another Capitol Hill property — a meatpacking plant known as the Smokehouse — into a residence.

Richards wanted the house to serve as a backdrop for his antique furnishings and Spanish art objects. He retained the rustic pine beams in the ceiling and the thick brick walls left over from the building’s days as a stable and the balcony from its time as an organ factory.

The additions he made were in keeping with his fondness for Old World elegance. The heavy, dark-wood, hand-carved entrance door and other doors throughout the house were specially made in Madrid. The wrought-iron chandelier in the living room and two smaller chandeliers above the balcony were reclaimed from the Valencia Theater in Baltimore. He used the property’s wrought-iron fence to create the balcony off the second-floor bedroom.

He also added the brick courtyard in front of the house and what is believed to be the first residential swimming pool on Capitol Hill.


(Photo by BTW Images) The balcony over looks the living room, which has 26-foot ceilings.

Williams Richards lived there until 1967, when he sold the house to Loren Ghiglione, who bought it for himself and his grandfather. Ghiglione, a congressional fellow at the time, had received a PhD in American studies from George Washington University and was a student of American architecture.

“I loved the painted brick, the high living room ceiling,” he wrote in an email. “The house had a first-floor bedroom and bath for Grandpa, and I slept in the upstairs bedroom.”

After his grandfather died, Ghiglione — a veteran journalist, Pulitzer Prize juror and former dean of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism — lived there with his wife until leaving Washington in 1969 to run the Southbridge (Mass.) Evening News. He didn’t sell the house immediately, instead renting it out to college friends.


(Photo by BTW Images) The trap door in the kitchen leads to a large basement that could be turned into a wine cellar and tasting room.

The house then passed through several owners until current owner David W. Sanford bought it in 2007. Sanford, chairman and co-founder of Sanford Heisler, a national law firm, restored the building, preserving its period charm. He also updated the kitchen and bathrooms and added a powder room.

“It is country-quiet, offering a sense of solitude unmatched by other urban homes,” Sanford said. “It is reminiscent of the French Quarter, peaceful like Middleburg and vibrant with the energy of Eastern Market.”

The two-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,800-square-foot home is listed at $2.3 million. An open house is scheduled for Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Listing: 111 10th St. SE, Washington, D.C.

Listing agent: Sheila Hansen, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

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