It was originally built as a horse stable in 1878. It was then purchased by Samuel S. Waters in 1897, who used the space until 1963 to build organs which he sold to to local churches and theaters.
The home became a private residence when it was bought by William E. Richards in 1963, a prominent Capitol Hill developer who was known for taking old buildings and turning them into private homes. Richards wanted the home to showcase his antique furnishings and Spanish art objects, which influenced the design.
As Orton writes,
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.