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Then and Now and Future: Taylor Motors to Room and Board

Click on an image to enlarge.

Then (left): The building at the corner of 14th and T Streets, NW, served as a showroom, auto supply store, and repair shop. It was built in two stages. The first, the larger three-story portion, was designed in 1919 by DC architect B. Stanley Simmons for a Ford dealership, the Taylor-Tolley Sales Company.

By 1922, the company was called the R.L. Taylor Motor Company, and added the 46-foot high portion to the south of the original building. The company also switched from Fort to Chevrolet in 1926, when it had 65 employees.

Now (right): The building eventually became the Pentecostal "Church of the Rapture," which has been closed and on the market for some time. The Room and Board furniture company purchased the building earlier this year, beating out a local group of business owners hoping to house a restaurant, comedy club, yoga studio and dance company in the building. The entire first floor facade, including the large showroom windows and awning, is gone, replaced by blank walls temporarily filled with art projects.

Click on an image to enlarge.

Left: A design for Rapture Lofts, which planned to convert the building to housing in 2005 and add a three-story addition on top. The Board of Zoning Adjustment and Historic Preservation Review Board ultimately approved this design, but it was never built.

Right: Representing Room and Board, architectural firm of Eric Colbert & Associates plans to restore the first floor to nearly its original condition. Glass bays will again fill most of the first floor, though columns will interrupt the bays at the corner and at points along the side, compared to the original glass bays which in front of the columns and wrapped around the corner. The new entrance will sport a curved awning, similar to the original, though it has moved to the center of the building's front.

Room and Board also hopes to extend the fourth floor to cover most the three-story portion, but set back from the edges. The furniture showroom will occupy all four floors. A column of large vertical windows will stretch up and down along the three floors of the original portion in the rear for a large "monumental staircase" topped by a skylight.

Customers will order furniture at the store, but Room and Board will then ship it from a suburban warehouse, minimizing loading impacts and allowing people to walk, bike or take Metro to the store. They are also considering a green roof or solar panels for the large, flat roof of the addition.

On the T Street side, Room and Board plans to fence off the garden space and create a planted area where customers can relax while shopping for furniture.

All photos courtesy of Eric Colbert & Associates Architects.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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Sooo much better than that heap'n pile of neo-Meisian office building as apartment that was originally proposed. Love the restoration of the crown feature also. Too bad it won't add more density though to a neighborhood that only seems to get more vital.

by Thayer-D on Jul 16, 2009 3:33 pm • linkreport

Really? Neither architecture seems much better than the other, although I'd like to see a view of the rapture's front.

by цarьchitect on Jul 16, 2009 5:08 pm • linkreport

any idea when the r&b is slated to open?

by sadie on Jul 16, 2009 5:17 pm • linkreport

I prefer the first version, at least from the renderings. Of course, both are far preferable to an empty building.

by Daniel on Jul 16, 2009 5:28 pm • linkreport

You can find a front view of the former proposal of condos at this site:

Note that while it was being touted as "Rapture Lofts" during the approval process (which I think was prior to the finalization of the sale of the building from the Church of the Rapture), that the project quickly got renamed 'T Street Flats" for the marketing phase.

Personally, I think in that proposal they did a much better job than the current proposal in regards to retaining the original look of the upper stories 'floating' over the transparent 1st floor with only white columns holding the building up. Maybe R&B will consider revising their design concept to do the same?

by Lance on Jul 16, 2009 5:53 pm • linkreport

Thank you for the link. The two views posted above are not the same elevations being presented.

by spookiness on Jul 16, 2009 6:39 pm • linkreport

spookiness, correct. I'm sure that was accidental on David's part. (Or maybe he wanted to show us the upper stories addition ... which isn't really visible in the front elevation drawing.)

by Lance on Jul 16, 2009 11:07 pm • linkreport

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