Casey's Crisp & Contemporary DC Digs

Casey's Crisp & Contemporary DC Digs

Natalie Grasso
Jul 2, 2013

Name: Casey Patten, co-owner of Taylor Gourmet
Location: Chinatown - Washington, DC
Size: 880 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years; owned

Casey Patten is the co-owner of Washington, DC's award-winning and wildly popular Philly-style sandwich shops, Taylor Gourmet. Known for their painstaking dedication to re-creating Philadelphia's famous hoagies miles away from home, Taylor Gourmet has served everyone from an approving President Obama on down to this girl, whose favorite sandwich is the Schuylkill Expressway (prosciutto, red peppers and sharp provolone... mmm). General consensus in the District is that they've got the sandwich-making down pat.

But this excruciating attention to detail doesn't stop at hoagies. Casey also has an eye for spatial detail and design, plainly apparent at each Taylor Gourmet location and now, in his own apartment. With the help of the team at Grupo7 Architecture + Interiors, he has just completed construction on a crisp and stylishly masculine space in what might have otherwise been just another cookie cutter condo in Chinatown. Materials like the back-lit pine slats on the bedroom wall and the hot rolled steel that trims the floor give the place a sort of raw and industrial grit, while other touches (gorgeous light washing the white vinyl wallpaper in the living room and some seriously covetable kitchen appliances) add an urban polish that makes it all feel finished.

Outside, a (deceptively large) terrace is the site of a lot of late nights and grilling out. Orange furniture and accents pop from the stone and the stacks of truck tires which have been cleverly re-purposed as vegetable planters. Cleverly acquired, too — he bartered with a local car dealership to bring them home. The chosen form of currency? Hoagies.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Clean and contemporary.  

Inspiration: My inspiration was to create a space that was comfortable yet stylish, inviting without being cold.

Favorite Element: I think what makes this space so unique is the large outdoor terrace that is enclosed between two buildings, rather than open to the city.  It's somewhat of an escape from the very busy Chinatown neighborhood because it's quiet and you don't even feel like you're in the city. I tried to make it a unique space by adding elements such as tomato plants in recycled car tires and other fruits and vegetables, such a jalapenos and strawberries.  It's a great place to have friends over in the spring and summer where we grill and just hang out.  The bright orange accent pieces tied with the colorful plants and flowers make for a fun; yet zen-like space. The two Boxers especially love it. It makes having two dogs in the city a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Another favorite from the recent redesign is the white vinyl wallpaper in the living room. We railroaded this wallpaper (turned the wallpaper the opposite way it was supposed to be laid) so it catches all of the lights and the shadows from the LED lights above.  Also, the handmade metal baseboards that were made by our iron worker, who does all the commercial work for Taylor Gourmet.

Biggest Challenge: The lighting. This unit is located on the 7th floor on the courtyard, so the light is only strong during the early half of the day. We wanted to come up with a way to create a feel of natural light when there was none available. Jim and Audrey at Grupo7 came up with great suggestions for lighting in the living room and bedroom. In the living room, we created a small drop ceiling off the concrete slab to allow for cove lighting to run the perimeter of the space. We used LED rope lights that give off great, intense white light. We installed a lighting track hidden in the ceiling and chose low profile, high wattage track heads to light the space. For accent lighting, we installed a pine wood piece that "houses" the bed and is back-lit, with a bright orange color painted behind the wood to give the bedroom a color pop.

What Friends Say: My place is often a hangout for our friends due to its central downtown location and the contemporary feel. I love to cook and grill, so I often have people over for barbecues and dinner parties where everyone enjoys the outdoor terrace.

Biggest Embarrassment: Probably the amount of time it took to complete this project (roughly a year!). Once the main construction had been done, the smaller pieces were tough finds. For example, I just installed the door pulls on the kitchen cabinets. No, really.

Proudest DIY: Probably elements of the outdoor space - more specifically, the tire planters I planted tomatoes in. Well, actually I have to give my girlfriend most of the credit for the planting outside (I hate dirt and a woman's touch always helps). We found the idea in a magazine to use recycled tires of different sizes to plant large vegetable plants. I picked up the tires from a car dealership and spray painted them grey to match the rest of the furniture. They've been awesome for producing enormous tomato plants with lots of fruit. I'm really not that handy; hence, "helping" with the planting was my proudest moment.

Biggest Indulgence: I tried my best to be as frugal as possible, but the Viking kitchen appliances were probably my biggest splurge.

Best Advice:  Create a space that you're excited to come home to and where your friends and family want to come hang out. I can say I've created this environment for me, to the point where it's hard to get me away on vacation to stay in other places for too long a period.

Dream Sources: Dwell Magazine,,, Modern Residential Design and of course, Apartment Therapy.

Resources of Note:


  • Door - Overlaid with hot rolled steel, made by a local iron worker who does all of the iron work in the Taylor Gourmet stores
  • Floor trim (throughout) - All hand made steel, by that same local iron worker
  • Painting - J. Howard Staby, well known local artist
  • Table under painting - Crate and Barrel
  • Floors - Pro Source, Mountain Smoke


  • Sofa - Room and Board
  • Coffee table - Room and Board
  • Chest under TV - Alchemy Collections, Seattle
  • Chair - Gus Modern Design
  • Track lighting - WAC (we tucked it away into the drywall so it was seamless)
  • Cove lighting - It had been a popcorn ceiling, so we laid 2x4s on their side, ran electric and put up LED ropes to illuminate and wash the walls with light.
  • Floor lamp - Illuminations, Artemide Tolomeo Mega Floor Lamp
  • Magazine stand - Home Goods


  • Backsplash/wallcovering - 2x10 white subway tile found while traveling
  • Refrigerator - Viking
  • Range - Viking
  • Counter - Hot rolled steel by the local iron worker who does the iron work for the Taylor Gourmet stores
  • Bar stools - Vastu


  • Bed - Room and Board
  • Bedding - Bloomingdales Home
  • Wood slats - Pine  
  • Bedside tables - Storehouse
  • Painting - J. Howard Staby, local artist
  • Chest under TV - Room and Board


  • Tile - Daltile Artic White 4x8
  • Wallcovering - Porcelanosa, Gold Tissue (17x26)
  • Light fixtures - Tod Von Mertens
  • Shower fixtures - Kohler
  • Sink - LaCava
  • Shower Floor Tile - Daltile Urban Putty (2x2)


  • Table - Crate and Barrel
  • Umbrella - Room and Board
  • Orange chairs - Crate and Barrel
  • Lounge chairs - Room and Board
  • Pillows - Pier 1
  • Lanterns - TJ Maxx

Thanks, Casey!

(Images: Natalie Grasso)

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