In 1883, Nikolai Igumnov, a famous industrialist decided to build his mansion on the Bolshaya Yakimanka. This choice surprised everyone as it was not among the most prestigious places. Этот выбор был обоснован им тем, что он вырос в тех местах (he justified his choice by the fact that he grew up here).
For the making of the fantastic mosaic of the palace, the owner of the Yaroslavl manufactory Nikolai Igumnov employed an architect from Yaroslavl, Nikolai Pozdeeva. Особняк был возведён в “псевдорусском стиле” (the mansion was built in a “pseudo-Russian” style).
The financial position of the owner allowed him to order the bricks from Netherlands, and the tiles were made by the Kyznetsov porcelain factory.
The architect sough for glory and was able to bring a general unity with every single decorative detail. Однако архитектурное сообщество резко раскритиковало его детище (however, the architectural community sharply criticised his work). Unable to bear it, the architect committed suicide.
Immediately after these events, rumours and legends took place around the mansion. According to one of them, Igumnov got himself a young a beautiful mistress, a dancer. When he found her with another man, he was so enraged that he had her and her jewels cemented into the wall of the mansion. После смерти красавицы в доме появился призрак, который не давал спокойно жить обитателям дома (after the death of the beautiful girl, a ghost appeared in the house, leaving no peace to its occupants).
Another legend pretends that Igumnov, решив удивить своих гостей, Игумнов выложил пол гостиной золотыми монетами, на которых был изображён профиль царя (wishing to impress his guests, paved his dinning hall with gold coins bearing the image of the Tsar Nicholas II). The guests had to walk on him. The news reached St. Petersburg and Igumnov was send to exile in Kolkhida, a swampy place along the Black Sea coast.
After the revolution in 1925, the Brain Research Institute occupied the building. The first brain they had to study was the one of V. I. Lenin.
Since 1938, the mansion host the French Embassy.