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WFP Home and Design Weekend Features Local Businesses

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.


Vastu is one of the businesses participating in this weekends event. (Eliza French)

Just as beautiful spring weather finally comes to DC, some local businesses are offering an opportunity for DC residents to make our indoor surroundings more beautiful, as well.

The third annual WFP Home and Design Weekend, hosted by Washington Fine Properties and DC Magazine, takes place on 14th and U Streets NW this Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14.

Retail stores and local art galleries will offer giveaways and host seminars and demos from experts in design and remodeling.

Customers at any of the participating stores can enter in a drawing for free gifts from the vendors, including gift cards of up to $300.

Color of the Year

The weekend highlights the Pantone 2013 color of the year, Emerald. Window displays at some of the participating businesses (Vastu, Foundry, Timothy Paul Bedding & Home, Timothy Paul Carpets & Textiles, Miss Pixies Furnishing’s & Whatnot and Showroom 1412) are currently showcasing the color.

Seminars and Demonstrations

Seminars and demonstrations take place on Saturday, with one repeat session on Sunday at Room & Board with HGTV “Design Star” winner Danielle Colding.¬†Other program highlights include a 3 pm session on Saturday at Urban Essentials on “overcoming the challenges of small sized spaces,” which sounds promising for Borderstan residents.

For those more interested in DIY renovations than the finer points of design, Capital Carpet LLC will host a demonstration on installing hardwood floors at 11 am on Saturday.

Visit the WFP Home and Design website for a full list of the businesses, details about the giveaways and a schedule of lectures and demonstrations.


  • What:¬†WFP Home and Design Weekend.
  • When: Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14, 11 am to 6 pm both days.
  • Where: 14th Street and U Street corridors.

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Lux on 14th Adds Local Shopping Option for Bath and Tile

"Borderstan""14th Street NW"

Lux owners Amy and Don at their showroom, 1821 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos on Picplz and at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

The 14th Street corridor is getting a new bathroom, tile and accessories store. Already “partially” open, the owners of Lux at 1821 14th Street NW plan to be fully up and running by the end of January.

Owners Any Scheinman and Don Pannell are still prepping the 2,500-square foot store and adding items. For now, Lux has bathtubs and a variety of tile samples in the store. The store hours are Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm, and Saturday 10 am to 3 pm.

“We chose 1821 because there is nothing¬†like this in this area of DC. We¬†are bringing wonderful materials to¬†the design community… and to homeowners¬†who¬†would prefer to shop locally.”

Lux is in the space formerly occupied by IONdc lighting.

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Locals Dominate Washington Blade’s 2011 “Best of” Awards

Washington Blade, Best of Gay DC 2011, Borderstan

The Washington Blade’s “Best of Gay D.C. 2011″ winners were announced last Thursday. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Local businesses, organizations and people in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area dominated the voting in this year’s reader poll of Washington Blade‘s Best of Gay D.C. 2011 DC awards.

Not surprisingly, businesses on the 14th Street, 17th Street and U Street corridors brought home the most prizes, with representation from P Street and 9th Street NW as well.

  • Dining: 8 winners in the area
  • Nightlife: 7 winners in the area
  • Community: 12 winners in the area
  • People: 8 winners in the area
  • Double Winners: Level One restaurant, JR’s Bar and Grill
  • All-time Leaders: Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse and JR’s Bar and Grill, both on 17th Street NW, are the leaders for most wins in the Blade reader poll, 2001-2011.

Below is the list of local winners by category.


There were 12 different DC sub-categories in Dining. Local establishments brought home eight of them: the 17th Street corridor brought home four awards, while 14th Street got three and 9th Street had one.

  • Best Late Night: Annie‚Äôs Paramount Steak House, 17th Street NW
  • Best Coffee Shop: Caribou Coffee, 14th and Rhode Island NW
  • Best Date Restaurant: Floriana, 17th Street NW
  • Best Wine Bar: Cork, 14th Street NW
  • Best Chef: Allan Javery, Level One, 17th Street NW
  • Best Brunch: Level One, 17th Street NW
  • Best New Restaurant: El Centro, D.F. Taquileria and Taqueria, 14th Street NW
  • Best Ethnic Restaurant: Etete, 9th Street NW
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Busboys & Poets, 14th Street NW


There were eight different DC sub-categories in Nightlife category. Local establishments brought home seven of them: the 17th Street corridor brought home three awards, while U Street corridor/area won three and 18th Street NW had one winner.

  • Best Place to Meet Women: Lure/Bare at Cobalt, 17th Street NW
  • Best Dance Club: Town Danceboutique, 8th Street NW
  • Best Happy Hour: JR‚Äôs Bar and Grill, 17th Street NW
  • Best Neighborhood Bar: JR‚Äôs Bar and Grill, 17th Street NW
  • Best Place to Meet Men: Nellie‚Äôs Sports Bar, U Street NW
  • Best Live Music: 9:30 Club, V Street NW
  • Best Cocktail: Lemon Squeeze at Duplex Diner, 18th Street NW


There were 16  different DC sub-categories in the Community section of the awards. Local establishments brought home 12 of them; one is on 9th Street NW, two are on 14th Street NW, three are on 15th Street NW, one on 16th Street NW, and one on P Street NW.

  • Best Gym: VIDA Fitness, four locations (with a fifth to open) including U Street and 15th Street NW
  • Best Home Furnishings: Room and Board, 14th Street NW
  • Best Art Gallery: Long View Art Gallery, 9th Street NW
  • Best Home Improvement (tie): Logan Hardware/Sparrow Construction (Logan Hardware has five DC locations including P Street in Logan Circle)
  • Best Place of Worship: Foundry United Methodist Church, 16th Street NW
  • Best Local Blog: Borderstan (covers Dupont-Logan-U Street areas)
  • Best Sports Team (tie): Stonewall Kickball and the Washington Nationals (Stonewall Kickball plays at Stead Park Field on P Street NW)
  • Best Place to Get Married: Meridian Hill Park, 15th/16th Streets NW
  • Best Gay-Owned Business: D.C. MetroVet (housecalls)
  • Best Hotel: Hotel Palomar, P Street NW
  • Best Salon/Spa: Bang Salon, three locations including U Street and 15th Street NW
  • Best Clothing Store: Universal Gear, 14th Street NW


People from the Dupont-Logan-U Street area brought home a total of eight awards in the People category.

  • Best Actor (tie): Jeffrey Johnson and Neil Patrick Harris
  • Best Bartender: Liz Warner-Osborne of Cobalt, 17th Street NW
  • Best Musician: Tom Goss
  • Best Personal Trainer (tie): Ryan Stitt and Liz Warner-Osborne,¬†both at VIDA Fitness
  • Best Businessperson: Mark Rutstein (manger of Cobalt/Level One and owner, The Rutstein Group)
  • Best Drag Show/Best Drag Queen: Ladies of Town and Ba‚ÄôNaka
  • Local Hero: Frank Kameny (posthumous); note that 17th Street NW between Q and R Streets NW is co-named Frank Kameny Way.

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A Visit With the Olivera Brothers at Fast Gourmet


Fast Gourmet, Luis Gomez Photos, Borderstan,

Juan and Manuel Olivera at Fast Gourmet at 14th and W Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay, question for Tom? Send him an email. You can follow him on Twitter @TomOnSwann.

For our series in local business owners Borderstan sat down with brothers Manuel and Juan Olivera to find out more about Fast Gourmet, which they opened with two other investors in October of last year. A take-out/dine-in restaurant would not normally cause a stir ‚ÄĒ unless you open it in a gas station.

That’s right, the gas station/restaurant at the Southeast corner of 14th and W Streets NW has been talked about by U Street Girl, WUSA9 and BYT, so we thought we would find out more about their unique business model and the food that is getting great reviews.

Borderstan: How did you come up with the concept of a restaurant in a gas station?
Manuel Olivera: Well, sometimes things don’t always happen as you plan. We originally wanted to do delivery only, but the neighborhood was changing so fast that we added eat-in and take-out.

Borderstan: Do you own the gas station as well?
Manuel Olivera: We lease the building for Fast Gourmet and also manage the operations of the gas station for the owners.

Read the full story

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Scuba Store Opens in Dupont

From Tom Hay

Yes, you read that headline correctly. This month saw the opening of Blue Planet Scuba at 1761 S St. NW, near the intersection of 18th and S, downstairs below Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro.

Everyone I tell about this business has almost the same response: “So, do they expect you to scuba dive in the Tidal Basin?” Definitely not, but you can get certified without ever leaving D.C.

The store will have an official grand opening Saturday Nov. 6, 11 am to 5 pm. Blue Planet Scuba will offer discounts on classes, giveaways and door prizes.

The Dive Masters

The retail store is owned and operated by Heather Tallent, Matt Kavanagh and Jonas Furberg. The three have impressive credentials in their professional lives and all, of course, share a passion for diving and the environment. The owners have been involved in diving for many years but teamed up about a year ago to teach, and then came up with a vision for the retail store.

Tallent summed up the store’s philosophy for me:

The three words we try to remember are education, conservation, and adventure. We’re creating a different kind of dive operation: we are going to provide personalized attention and small, high-quality classes that we think people should expect in scuba.

Read the full story

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NYT Profiles the White House 20-Somethings in Our Midst

In case you missed it, there was another¬Ļ¬†New York Times article on DC hipsterness last week, which comes closely on the heels of the Out magazine article on gay hipsterness in DC. The title of the April 26 piece is¬†‚ÄúAll the Obama 20-Somethings‚ÄĚ and it profiles some of the young White House staffers and their DC lives.

Worth noting is where many apparently live, which is here:

The young White House staff members have formed an unofficial enclave in an area north of the White House, where many live within a 15-minute walk from one another, settling in group houses and apartments in Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, U Street and Columbia Heights. The tiny but distinct neighborhoods bleed into one another, with nightlife emanating out from the U Street corridor. The area, part of which was ravaged during the 1968 riots, is gentrifying but still has a gritty feel.

Personally, I think¬†gritty might be a bit hyperbolic; I suspect my neighbors who moved here in 1985 or so could explain gritty to the reporter. But as they say, it’s all relative. (Perhaps they were willing to take a chance on grittiness after Kal Penn led the way?)

Be sure to take a look at the map showing the favorite hangouts of¬†our White House-connected neighbors: ‚ÄúA guide to bars, restaurants, cafes and a basketball court frequented by the 20-somethings working in the Obama White House.‚ÄĚ

Included on the list are three favorites in this domicile: Java House (great lox, a nice patio and they roast beans), Rice (always very good) and Stoney’s (try the pizza). I point out these three establishments simply because we regularly patronize them. Perhaps we can attain White House-level hipsterness by osmosis or transference?

Also, don‚Äôt miss the reader comments on the article‚ÄĒthey run the gamut from adulation to bitterness at the good fortune of the staffers profiled in the piece.

There is something of a breathless quality‚ÄĒthe Vanity Fair- style staged photos are a hint‚ÄĒto the article and it is fairly lengthy.¬†Overall, though, it is a well-written and interesting read, especially if you live in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area.

¬Ļ¬†Stimulus Programs That Roll at Night

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Miss Pixie: It Has to Be “My Own Show”

Luis Gomez Photos Miss Pixie Logan Circle Borderstan

“Miss Pixie” Windsor in front of her store on 14th Street NW: Miss Pixie’s furnishings and whatnot… (Luis Gomez Photos)

For¬†Borderstan‚Äôs ongoing series¬†on¬†local entrepreneurs and retail businesses, we talked to Pixie Windsor, owner of Miss Pixie’s furnishings and whatnot… at 1626 14th Street NW.¬†Windsor first opened her store in August 1997 in Adams Morgan in a 600 square-foot space on Adams Mill Road just north of Columbia Road NW.

Her resale shop thrived there until 2006 when the building was sold and Windsor moved to 18th Street NW for two years. In March 2008 she came to Logan Circle at 1626 14th Street NW where she has 4,000 square feet.

Borderstan: How did you get into this line of business… why did you open a resale shop?

Miss Pixie: I have always been interested in interior design, the decorative arts and furniture. After years in the restaurant business, I finally decided to open a store… and what better name than “Miss Pixie’s furnishings and whatnot…”

Borderstan: How did you end up here on 14th Street?
Miss Pixie: My business partner found the space on 14th. I was very excited because of the heavy retail feeling of the area. Adams Morgan got totally taken over by bars and restaurants and retail just died on the vine there in the last few years. Read the full story

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14th Street: Well Built Furniture Stresses Sustainability

Luis Gomez Photos Borderstan Logan Circle 14th Street NW Well Built furniture

Well Built has joined a growing number of furniture and home decor stores on the 14th Street corridor between Rhode Island Avenue and U Street. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Well Built has joined the growing list of furniture and home decor stores on the 14th Street NW corridor. It is located at 1541 Q Street, former location of Candida’s World of Books; the space was vacant for two years.

Owner Ann Blackwell says of Well Built on the store’s Web site that that the new furniture store is “born from the idea that design is powerful.” Well Built’s Web site says that all furniture sold will be manufactured within 500 miles of D.C. and that its furniture “uses recycled materials or is highly recyclable” and “made using organic, natural or low-impact materials.”

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‚ÄúBest of DC‚ÄĚ Winners:¬†Local¬†Businesses¬†Dominate

"Best of DC" Washington City Paper Borderstan

TThe 2010 “Best of DC” Readers Poll winners were released Thursday. (Washington City Paper)

The Washington City Paper released the results of its 2010 “Best of DC” Readers Poll results yesterday and there are numerous retail businesses who are winners in the¬†Dupont‚ÄďLogan‚ÄďU Street area. No big surprise there: We are in the middle of one of DC’s most dynamic neighborhoods, with new businesses opening (and sometimes closing) on a regular basis.

Borderstan thanks the MidCity Business Association for compiling a list of winners and second-place finishers among their members. MidCity’s members are¬†businesses along the 14th Street and U Street corridors.¬†The list below also includes some local businesses in the Borderstan area that are not Mid City members (designated as such).

Check out the “Best of DC” site at Washington City Paper for a complete listing of the four categories: Food & Drink, Arts & Entertainment, Goods & Services and People & Places.

In addition, there are City Paper Staff Picks. For example, Logan Hardware was the staff pick for best hardware store.

Read the full story

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