Art Gallery a Homey Masterpiece: D.C. Building Could Return to a Residence

By Pinkerton, Jennifer | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

Art Gallery a Homey Masterpiece: D.C. Building Could Return to a Residence


Pinkerton, Jennifer, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Across the street from the Phillips Gallery on 21st Street is the Kimberly Gallery, a former residence that has been used as an art gallery since 1988. Its brick facade is punctuated by ornamental ironwork that surrounds windows and balconies.

Built in the 1890s, it is now on the market for $629,000.

A large stone carving ornaments the front lawn - virtually the only signal to passers-by that the building has been a commercial venue.

Built as a personal residence, the building was renovated to accommodate the needs of a gallery - more wall space, fewer small rooms, no kitchen - but the integrity of the original architecture has been retained, and the place could be returned to a residence.

Bounded by an alley to the north, the house is in the Dupont Circle area. It is well-lit on three sides, unusual for a city neighborhood.

Commercial track lighting is installed throughout the gallery space, but is attached only to a suspended ceiling and not permanently to the original cedar ceiling that remains under the suspended panels.

The building's entrance is a marble vestibule, an elegant way to greet commercial visitors or personal friends to the property.

Once inside, you see both the commercial and residential aspects of the building. The main room on this floor measures 37 feet by 15 feet, and the walls are painted white, the better to display artwork. But details such as four lovely rose-colored stained-glass windows set in a front bay serve as a reminder that few fundamentals have been changed since the house's beginnings.

Pocket doors separate the huge front room from the second large room on the main floor. This second room is probably where a purchaser of the house for a residence would build a kitchen. The listing agent surmises that when the home was built at the turn of the century, the kitchen was most likely downstairs in the basement.

Two of the house's five fireplaces are in these first-floor rooms.

Up to the second level of the home and the idea is much the same. Everything in the home has been adapted to suit the gallery's needs; walls and ceilings are white and track lighting is installed in every room. The stairs are narrower and not a focal point as they are in some other homes.

On the second level, it is easier to visualize residential space. The main room on this floor, most recently used as gallery display space, could be a large bedroom. Several windows bring in plenty of natural light, and a wide sunny bay overlooking the street is a perfect spot for a comfy chair and a book. Out one streetside window is a small ledge surrounded by pretty wrought-iron railings, a good place for a big pot of geraniums in the summer.

A newly added wall at one end of the room divides the space into two, creating a smaller room at that end. …

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