The original late Ottoman house was owned by retired general Jamal Afandi. In 1955, it was bought for 240 IQD by Rauf Mohamed Abdulrahman, a money-trader in Silemani.
His wife Sabriyah Ahmed request a modern home, so that same year it was modernised under the leadership of local architect Karim Chawshin. It took four to five months.
Bought by the Silemani Museum in 2006, it was sold for 265k USD in 2008 to the Governorate on the condition it is not destroyed nor remodelled, and keeps the Rauf Saraf name. It was renovated in 2012.
"Saraf" is a Kurdish word meaning someone who exchanges money. The Saraf family is one of the most important families in Slemani
Rauf was so pleased with the result that he gave Karim a gold pocketwatch, now with the architect's daughter.
The structure is made of red mudbricks. The house is now made up of the following building materials:
1. blue stone: the surrounding walls are made of this material, collected from the mountains around Slemani. The material is so hard that it doesn’t change either its composition or color for hundreds of years.
2. gypsum and red firebricks: collected from the ovens in Diyala and Baghdad, South Iraq.
3. Ground tiles: the ground is made of tiles, and painted on in different flowery motives that are still there as of today. These tiles came from Basra.
Except from the outer walls, cement has not been used at all for the house.
The area of the house is 275 m, and two buildings are connected to each other with a lawn in the middle. The lower part of the house is comprised of two bedrooms and a bathroom, and the bedroom roofs are made up of wood. The upper part of the house has two floors. The upper floor contains four bedrooms, a lobby and a big living room. The floors are all covered in tiles. The lower floor is comprised of two bedrooms and a living room. The reason behind the big size of the house was for the siblings to live there together, even after their marriages. Rauf Saraf wanted everyone in the family to live together under one roof.