The stunning vignette in the window display at Bungalow Homewares encapsulates the mission and feel of the entire store: stylish, eco-friendly design. The table is made of recycled aluminum, the chair is reclaimed wood from old packing crates, and the textiles are natural fibers handwoven in fair trade enterprises from around the world. The lovely display and the soothing colors draw in even casual passers-by...
Entering the store itself is a pleasure to the senses. There is a faint aroma of lavender from the organic soaps and lotions and of vetiver from the woven bathmats on display. The space is long and narrow, and the merchandise displays create a wandering path to draw shoppers deep into the store. One long side wall is devoted to picture ledges that form the Gallery where you will find local artwork on display.
The soothing color palette draws its inspiration from nature while highlighting the eco-friendly nature of the merchandise. The walls are painted with Green Planet Paints; Bungalow Homewares is the only local source for these 0% VOC clay paints. There are sample pots and swatch boards available in every color, and joining the Bungalow@Home program allows you to check out those swatch boards to see the colors in your home (you also get advance notice of Gallery openings and floor model sales as well as a gift certificate on your birthday).
Owner Daryl Wakeley is quick to answer any questions (I learned, for example, that vetiver is a fragrant grass often planted in Southeast Asia to combat water erosion), and he knows the history and makeup of every product in the store. Though Bungalow Homewares only opened in April, the idea for the store came years earlier when Daryl moved into a bungalow in the area and had a hard time locating appropriately scaled furniture in the DC area. When he decided to open a store to address that need, Daryl decided it also needed to reflect his eco-friendly values. Despite the difficulty involved in locating appropriate sources, Daryl has managed to fill his store with stylish, high-quality merchandise from eco-friendly vendors.
Almost everything in the store is eco-friendly or available in eco-friendly options. We loved the rock salt lamps and votives, the drinking glasses made from the bottoms of beer and wine bottles, the picture frames made of scraps of wood, the cork bowls, and the soy wax candles - all at reasonable prices. The furniture in the store is exquisite and shows that responsible manufacturing doesn't have to be damaging to the environment. The bones of the store also reflect responsible design - Daryl built the display shelves himself from sorghum and scaffolding parts, and the halogen lights were scavenged from another store that was closing.
Bungalow Homewares is located in the DelRay area of Alexandria and we found parking to be plentiful during our visit. If you interested in stylish eco-friendly housewares, Bungalow Homewares should be a must-see on your list. When we first reached out about our visit, Daryl told us Apartment Therapy was actually one of the websites that pushed him along the road that led to opening the store, so if you drop by, please let him know you read about it here!
>>To All AT Washington Posts