What started as a personal quest for “appropriately scaled and eco-friendly furniture” in his Rosemont bungalow, has turned into a sleek new home decor shop on Del Ray’s Mt. Vernon Avenue for Daryl Wakeley. After years as a magazine designer, Daryl’s finely honed aesthetic is now focused on building a collection of decidedly interesting and luxurious home goods.
Located in the center bay of a long vacant commercial building renovated to accommodate three shops, Bungalow Homewares Gallery is a perfect addition to the neighborhood. Bungalow juxtaposes industrial chic with , among other things, sheets and towels made of organic cotton in sweat shop free conditions, Ethiopian bed covers made by a women’s cooperative; cork branch votive holders; and vintage rice winnowing baskets.
One of my favorite items was a set of tumblers made from the bottom half of recycled wine bottles. After the cut edge is polished to a rolling smoothness, each tumbler is filled with soy wax and topped with a paper collar embedded with wildflower seeds that can later be planted. There are a variety of scents but the lemon grass was special.
Most of the items have a “back story” and Daryl is happy to share the origins of both the product and the artisans. For instance, just inside the front door (and in front of a sofa I have my eye on) is a coffee table made from re-cycled iron and Honduran pine. As part of the coffee industry in Honduras, pine trees are planted to shade the young coffee plants. When the trees become too large they are harvested and recycled into furniture and other items.
Another story involves the blankets made from a woman-owned business in Ethiopia. The blankets are woven on traditional looms which are quite narrow, so for larger pieces – like the very American king size bed – the pieces have to be stitched together by hand. The stitching adds yet another dimension to these one of a kind pieces.
When asked about prices Daryl offered this considered reply: while indeed he has things that might be bought without hesitation, other pieces are what he calls “aspirational.” Water-based or soy emulsion paints in 12 colors are also part of Daryl’s design offerings and large, 18 x 18 panels are available as samples for interested customers.
Open just two weeks, Daryl is already in sync with the rhythm’s of Del Ray and will celebrate this year’s First Thursday with a reception for Jill Saxton Smith. Her exquisite woodblock prints are the first of what will be a series of rotating gallery exhibits. The exhibit runs from May 1 to July 31.
Now that you’ve read about Bungalow, go visit for yourself at 1901 Mt. Vernon Avenue. You’ll be glad you did.
Thanks to my spouse and managing partner who does all our shopping. Michael