The Alice Pike Barney Studio House, built in 1902 as the second building on Sheridan Circle and designed by one of Washington’s premiere architects Waddy B. Wood, was the home of philanthropist and socialite Alice Pike Barney (1857-1931), who is best remembered for her efforts to transform Washington, D.C. into the nation's cultural capital.
In the early 20th century the building was used for musical performances, theatrical productions. Among the many guests entertained by Alice Pike Barney were reknowned artists, actors, diplomats and politicians – among them U.S. presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.
After the death of Alice Pike Barney in 1931 in California, her daughters inherited the building – it has housed the Embassy of Peru, the Colombian Legation, a British Officers’ Club. In 1960 the building was given to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Association of Museums. It was sold by the Smithsonian in 1999 to a private buyer; the property was purchased for use by the Embassy of Latvia in November 2001. While preserving the historic interior of the main two levels, the house underwent an extensive renovation process. At the end of 2005, the Embassy moved to this building from its historic location at 4325 17th Street, N.W.
Built in the Spanish Mission style, the building has been designated a historic landmark on Embassy Row. The interior reflects elements of Gothic, Renaissance, Medieval design elements.
The entire site (the Barney Studio House and the adjacent 1 ½ story stucco carriage house built in 1911) is listed in the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places.
Smithsonian Institution information on Alice Pike Barney Studio House, Interior.