What's Hot: Washington Spirit Owner Michele Kang Lists DC Home for $14.5 Million | The Smallest Home on the Market in DC
Unique Spaces: The Bank that Became a Home
The old City Bank.
This article was published in June 2010 as part of UrbanTurf's Unique Spaces series, where we take a look at properties that could be considered “one-of-a-kind” in the DC area. If you have a home that you think fits the bill, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See all of our past Unique Spaces articles here.
In 1993, Dr. Gary Mintz made an unusual home purchase: He bought an old bank in Capitol Hill and set about renovating it. After it was finished, the home, formerly a branch of The City Bank, received dozens of published accolades for its architecture and gardens surrounding it.
Dr. Mintz's home today, courtesy of Google Maps.
It’s been about seven years since the house was featured in a print publication, yet to tour it today, you’d never know the renovation took place 17 years ago, aside from the fact that the fully mature gardens nestle it so well that you might miss it passing by.
When Mintz moved to DC from Philadelphia, he initially rented an apartment in Dupont Circle, but his eyes were always set on searching for an old commercial property that he could convert. Philadelphia has a history of adaptive re-use as developers have taken hospitals, old YMCA’s, foundries, factories of all kinds, and schools, and turned them into apartments.
“It didn’t have to be a bank,” Mintz told UrbanTurf, noting that he had previously lived in a former candy store.
The agent who rented him his Dupont Circle apartment tipped Mintz off about the bank. It had languished on the market (and was trashed, according to Mintz), and the bank parking lot was now row houses.
“It seemed to be the right size to make into a small house,” he remembers. “And it had space outside for a garden.”
The bank’s old night deposit box now serves as the mailbox. When the regular postman is on vacation, Mintz says the substitutes sometimes don’t know where to put the mail.
It must have been fate that the landscape firm he chose -- the nationally renowned Oehme van Sweden Landscape Architects -- has its offices in the former City Bank headquarters at 800 G Street SE.
“When I discovered that their offices and my house were related, it became almost obligatory," Mintz said.
Mintz was intent that the remodel not change any of the exterior walls or architecture, so he hired his friend Philadelphia architect Michael Hauptman and Glass Construction, which specializes in historic restoration, to execute the project.
The result is a thoroughly modern interior that hides behind the old bank’s neoclassic façade. What used to be the bank lobby is now the living room and the dining room is the former bank vault. The main area of the second floor was constructed within the bank’s original walls, with a floor made of perforated metal. It contrasts with the historic window trim and moldings at the ceiling (see photo below). For the fireplace in the living room, Mintz and Hauptman made several drawings, inspired by the designs of noted Swiss architect Mario Botta.
Mintz’s modern art collection, which includes works by Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella, is displayed throughout the house.
Mintz has opened the doors for house tours twice – in 1995 and 2005 – but probably won’t do so again, because visitors were disrespectful of his belongs, picking up valuable ceramics and sitting on the furniture. Despite that, Mintz relishes living on Capitol Hill, where there is a strong sense of community, and the novelty of his project has evolved into a comfortable existence.
Looking down on the dining room. The colorful squares are a series by Josef Albers.
“People ask me if I am going to do anything else," Mintz said. "I don’t think I can do any better than this!”
UrbanTurf contributor Jennifer Sergent is the brains behind the DC By Design blog. She was most recently the senior editor at Washington Spaces magazine.
See other articles related to: capitol hill, dclofts, unique spaces
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/unique_spaces_the_bank_that_became_a_home/2193.
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
Sales for The Arbor at Takoma, a boutique property boasting just 36 condominiums, are... read »
Our guide for amateur landlords who don't really know what they're doing.... read »
Whole Foods announced yesterday that the 47,000 square foot store will open on June 2... read »
The Massachusetts Avenue Heights home was previously owned by the former chief execut... read »
A large new apartment and townhouse project has been pitched for the growing pipeline... read »
Virginia's homebuyer assistance programs can seem complex. This edition of First-Time... read »
The residential projects that have sprouted up on the Maryland and DC sides of the Fr... read »
With a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, the redevelopment of the Georgetown Wes... read »
The 23,600 square-foot mansion just hit the market, and would set a record if it fetc... read »
The immaculately kept 100-year-old house features six bedrooms and four-and-a-half ba... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
- A Look Inside Takoma's First New Condominium in More Than a Decade
- The Essential Guide to Being an Amateur Landlord in DC
- Whole Foods at Walter Reed to Open at End of June
- Washington Spirit Owner Michele Kang Lists DC Home for $14.5 Million
- A Two-Phase, 370-Unit Development Pitched For Columbia Pike Gas Station Site
- First-Timer Primer: Virginia's Home Buyer Assistance Programs
- Mall Conversions, Trader Joes? The 1,500 Units in the Friendship Heights Pipeline
- The Four Seasons Private Residences in Georgetown Break Ground
- DC's Blaine Mansion Lists For $30 Million, A Potentially Record-Setting Price in the City
- Now Selling: A 16th Street Heights Victorian on an Island of Its Own
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro