Dennis and Michelle Carroll knew the moment they walked through the front door that this Capitol Hill house was for them.

“We were standing in the hallway, and we both looked at each other and went, ‘We’re buying this house,’ ” Michelle said.

“It was just so open and spacious,” Dennis added. “We’d been looking at a lot of houses. This one just immediately resonated.”

The house, which had been a rental, needed significant work, but the Carrolls saw potential in its high ceilings and period features. As they renovated, they sought to preserve its unusual history.

Irish immigrants, Michael and Kathrine Barry and Michael’s brother Phillip, built the semidetached rowhouse in 1888 with two entrances — one for their living quarters and one for a bar that they ran in the house.

Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region

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Capitol Hill house | The 1888 semidetached rowhouse a few blocks east of Eastern Market and south of Lincoln Park was built to be a bar with living quarters. It is listed at $1.4 million. (HomeVisit)

The next owners, Rubin and Medda Genderson, continued to operate the bar, serving beer brewed down the street at the National Brewing Co. When prohibition arrived, they used the bathtub upstairs for brewing. Rubin’s son Abe later went into partnership with his father-in-law, Max Schneider, and opened Schneider’s, a liquor store that’s operated on Capitol Hill for more than 60 years.

Samuel and Bertha Wertleb bought the house in 1920. Samuel ran the bar, and Bertha taught piano lessons. The Wertleb family remained in the house for more than 60 years.

Before the Carrolls bought the house in 1998, the previous owners had converted the space that had housed the bar into an apartment. But the room retained many of its original features including the tin ceiling, tiled floor and light fixture.

The Carrolls preserved those features and took advantage of other usual aspects when creating a living space. An opening in the floor that once led to the basement, where ice was kept, now goes to a wine cellar.

Someone had saved the marble from the bar, but it had broken into pieces. The Carrolls had their contractor cut it and use it for the floor in the wine cellar. Other pieces were used around the fireplace in the dining room.

“I really wanted to put it back into the house,” Michelle said.

The door that leads from the wine cellar to the rest of the basement is original. One of the containers that held beer is still attached to a wall.

The Carrolls turned the apartment’s kitchen into a wet bar, a nod to its history. The bathroom became a sauna.

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,012-square-foot house is listed at $1.4 million. An open house is scheduled for Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Listing agents: Delia McCormick, John Gregory and James Gregory, Washington Fine Properties