Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gourmet Renovation

Dwell (yes Dwell!) had a great little spread this month about a couple of guys who came together to renovate a former crack-house in a run down area of Washington DC. Casey Patten (28) and David Mazza (30) are best friends and they were determined to open the best deli in the area. Isn't the exterior great? Photos by Joao Canziani.

So the story goes that these two who had attended middle school and high school together, attended Penn State together, worked together on a couple of house flipping projects, and at the time owned a residential property together so they figured they were good business partners. Their passion was to open a Philadelphia (Represent!) style deli and Italian (Represent!) gourmet market. Their location would be 1116 H Street NE in DC, an area riddled with abandoned real estate and check to cash storefronts as well as a good example for all the ways the District has failed its citizens. In realtor talk, Up and Coming!

But David and Casey would muddle through and turn the ground floor into their restaurant space and the upper levels into bachelor pads fitting enough for them to live in. The original floodplan of the residence made little sense and the friends called in architects Grupo 7 to lend a hand. They did the majority of the demo together and the results were industrial chic yet light and airy.

The kitchen consists of Ikea which Dwell praises as did the architects. Not so much for me. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Ikea, but there is something really brash about their unseemed kitchens. I like the back splash and even the stainless steel counter top but the cabinet legs and the individual unit piping are a dead giveaway of cheap, not chic. If you're going to do it, do it Bulthaup.

See? From the waist up it looks great to me but the kick box is missing. Don't they always say to invest your money in the kitchen? Yeah, they do. Sorry David, the rest of the place does look smashing though!

The brick wall was original to the unit and I love that they kept it. The flooring really brings the colors of the brick and the new walls and finishes together.

The gem downstairs is the main attraction of this article and it is easy to see why. Despite the current state of the neighborhood, it looks as though Taylor Gourmet Deli is bringing in the customers. David and Casey met with Adrienne Spahr of Green Living Consulting to help reduce the carbon footprint of the renovation process. They didn't know much about going green but they knew this was important and they knew they wanted to incorporate inexpensive materials.

The roll-up door was installed with the help of a private investment grant from the city looking to jump start growth in the area. The facade really sets Taylor Gourmet apart from the surrounding businesses.

Recycled steel, recycled insulation, recycled wood, and low VOC paints were all incorporated. Deconstructed shipping pallets were picked up from alleys around town and treated with a soy sealant to line the walls and counters.

Chain link fence poles were used as shelving supports and lighting beams. This picture is making me hungry and it isn't even lunchtime yet.

An incandescent bulb bouquet hangs over a larger dining table in the back of the space. The chef's table I presume?

David and Casey are proud of their new bustling business on H Street NE. As others in the area start to notice the design changes it is only a matter of time before other businesses spring up.

1 comment:

Laura [What I Like] said...

The retail space is indeed very cool! Reminds me a bit of the style of Baked, a bakery in Brooklyn what with the horizontal grain wood and all.