Room & Board Finally Arrives on 14th Street

by Mark Wellborn


Handcrafted furniture store Room & Board opened the doors of its new 14th Street location on Thursday night for a sneak preview that has been years in the making. About 200 people were in attendance when UrbanTurf arrived early in the evening, a crowd that was already keeping the valet crew, bartenders and wait staff busy. Drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres were plentiful, and there was a definite buzz as people finally got to see inside the long-anticipated addition to the neighborhood. UrbanTurf took a lot of photos, displayed below.

Located at 1840 14 Street NW (map), the store is only Room & Board’s second location on the East Coast, and its largest.

The Minneapolis-based chain made news back in 2008 when it announced that it was looking for space in DC. A commissioned study of the local market identified the stretch of 14th between P and U Streets as an area where many residents already shopped for furniture (Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Vastu and others are located there), but protests from historical preservationists and Logan Circle residents who did not want a chain furniture store in the neighborhood held up Room & Board’s decision for several months.

Roof deck overlooking 14th and T

The company ultimately purchased the former R.L. Taylor and Herbert Smith Ford dealership in June 2009. To date, the company has always acquired its real estate rather than leasing, even at its SoHo store in New York, though that store has considerably less space than the 36,586 square feet interior space at this store.

The price for the old dealership was $6.5 million, and Room & Board spent another $6 million on renovations. In an effort to maintain the historical charm and integrity of the building, the company hired local architect Eric Colbert & Associates to handle the renovation and design. The firm, known for designing residential projects like The Floridian and Rainbow Lofts, did an impressive job of opening up the interior while keeping the bones of the original building intact.

They also added another floor to the building, setting it back from the existing structure’s edge. This setback allowed space for a roof deck that wraps around the building and overlooks 14th and T Streets, with longer views into the surrounding neighborhood. The roof deck will serve as a common area for shoppers to relax and enjoy a great view. There is another common area at ground level, where a patio along T Street also offers outdoor seating.

The store will employee 18 people and expects to reach annual sales in the $16 to $18 million range. Free parking will be offered at a lot half a block from the store.

Those antsy to get in to look at the store’s wares will have to wait a few more days: The store officially opens to the public this Monday the 14th at 11am.

“We are excited to be part of such a great neighborhood,” retail market manager Lisa Lightfoot said. “This area has amazing restaurants, unique boutiques and a rich culture of arts. We look forward to being an active part of the community.”


This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/room_board_finally_arrives_on_14th_street/2150


  1. DG-rad said at 9:20 pm on Thursday June 10, 2010:

    how much more life-giving is it that this store is on a real street in a real city. When you look out the windows there isn’t just a big parking lot!

  1. Vicki said at 10:09 pm on Thursday June 10, 2010:

    The pictures are great!  I used to live at the Nolando near 14th & T NW, and I watched as Room & Board revamped the dealership.  From the pictures, it appears they did a great job!  I’d love to check it out, but I’ve since left the area, but DC has become such a wonderful city!

  1. Nia said at 11:39 pm on Thursday June 10, 2010:

    Yes! I love the Room & Board store in Soho and this place looks about a million times bigger. Now it is time to get my boyfriend to buy me a nice sectional…

  1. AP said at 9:56 am on Friday June 11, 2010:

    I walked by the store yesterday evening on my way home and it looks amazing!  Such a big improvement from what was there before.  We are very lucky to see retailers wanting to invest in our neighborhoods, whether they are chains or non-chains.  I can’t wait to see the interior.

  1. Beth said at 10:13 am on Friday June 11, 2010:

    Awesome! No knock on Vastu or Mitchell Gold as every furniture store has different stuff, but I will be at the front door 11:01 on Monday!

  1. scott said at 11:47 am on Friday June 11, 2010:

    Great building renovation, but it’s still a low-end chain store full of knock-offs, bringing the neighborhood one step closer to suburbia.

  1. Citi said at 11:54 am on Friday June 11, 2010:

    I recently purchased a bed online from Room & Board and am absolutuely thrilled with the quality and simple beauty of the bed. The customer service,delivery and installation was top-notch for a minimal delivery fee.  I am so happy this store finally opened and is within walking distance to my home.  I just can’t say enough good things.  Fantastic!

  1. Vivian said at 12:02 pm on Friday June 11, 2010:

    Thanks for the pretty building, R & B, but I’d rather give my money to the local businesses who took a chance on the neighborhood years ago and not an out of town chain store trying to cash in on their hard work.

  1. LoganLifer said at 12:21 pm on Friday June 11, 2010:

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

  1. w said at 3:02 pm on Friday June 11, 2010:


    I’d rather have a local store that could even remotely compete with RnB on quality and service.

  1. w said at 3:06 pm on Friday June 11, 2010:


    a low end chain store full of knock-offs

    How do you figure? They sell licensed reproductions like many manufacturers (ie DWR) according to the designers’ specification.  They sell lots of their own designs as well.

  1. Scott said at 5:01 pm on Friday June 11, 2010:

    R & B sells unlicensed knock-offs.  They try to mislead you but it’s true.  Their Saarinens are fakes, their Barcelonas are fakes.  DWR also has gone back to selling “inspired by” reproductions that aren’t authorized.

  1. Scott said at 5:03 pm on Friday June 11, 2010:

    Article about DWR selling knockoffs:

    Link to R & B’s “inspired by” unauthorized knockoffs:

  1. shelly said at 10:21 pm on Saturday June 12, 2010:

    I am so glad to see a great furniture store come to the city. I am such a furniture wh**e and I really hated spending all that money outside the city

  1. Dan said at 11:35 am on Sunday June 13, 2010:

    Scott- they do sell some licensed pieces as
    well. Note all the Herman Miller (Noguchi table,
    Eames products, Nelson products, etc.) and Hans Wegner pieces. So to characterize the store as
    “full of knock-offs” is perhaps a bit harsh. In
    fact, I only count 4 reproductions (Eileen Gray table, Saarinen tables, Seville chairs,and the Pierre chairs). There seem to be many more licensed pieces than reproductions.

  1. Scott said at 4:25 pm on Sunday June 13, 2010:

    Add to that list the Brno chair and the Wassily chair.  Ok, maybe “full of knockoffs” is too strong, but I’m sure the companies holding the authorized licenses to those products think that one trademark violation is too many.  It’s either wrong and illegal or it’s not.  I think it’s theft pure and simple.

  1. David said at 9:37 am on Thursday June 17, 2010:

    ...low-end chain store full of knock-offs…
    My, aren’t we cranky! Who cares? The store and the product are beautiful, bringing yet another contemporary furniture option to stuffy DC! Is your home full of to-the-trade-only one-of-a-kind furniture? Good for you! I wouldn’t call R&B low-end from either the style perspective or the price point. Guess the only good news is that we won’t have to run into you in the store. Thanks!

  1. Rachel said at 6:04 pm on Tuesday July 20, 2010:

    RE: “I’d rather have a local store that could even remotely compete with RnB on quality and service.”

    Check out Creative Classics! 100% of our furniture is made in the United States. We’re family owned and operated and have been in Alexandria, VA for 10 years. http://www.creativeclassics.com

  1. Bossi said at 9:12 pm on Thursday September 2, 2010:

    I can’t help but think that the rooftop would be a spectacular location for a restaurant, bar, or really anything drawing folk up there on the evenings.  The stairwell on the south end of the building appears to be separate from the main showroom & might go up to the top…

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