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Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 | 2 comments

The Making of a French Café: Part 2

The Making of a French Café: Part 2

Every time I walk by the Del Ray Café location these days, the 1925 home at 205 East Howell is looking more and more like the Virginia farmhouse we wrote about in The Making of a French Café: Part 1.


These were the plans Margaret showed me back when they first started working onsite.


And here’s how far they’ve come. Just like in the design, bikers can park right out front.


I recently toured the space again with owner Margaret Janowsky while an architect from Larson Koenig Architects, builders from Harry Braswell, Inc., and many construction workers were busy at work. I’ve never seen more saws and drills in one place in my life.



After gutting the entire first and second floors, they’ve open up the second floor all the way to the rafters.



Margaret is pleased that they were able to stay true to their intention of making the design as green as possible. The bathrooms have low-flow sinks and there will be no inefficient hand dryers that are prone to breaking. Instead, she will use all-cotton linens and wash them onsite. They’ll have a compost bin out back so that the only trash that goes to the landfill will be tin foil, rubber gloves, and saran wrap. All of the plants are drought-tolerant.

And what a surprise to me to find rain barrels at the foot of every downspout; I counted five in all.


Open your calendar, for very soon, Del Ray Cafe will serve breakfast, brunch (weekends), lunch, and dinner seven days a week. If you live nearby, you’ll be able to stop in and buy a rotisserie chicken and baguette to take home or carry off to a nearby park for a French country picnic. And on any given weekday morning, what could be better than sitting on their wrap-around porch with a croissant and latte. Any day now, that’s where I plan to be.


  1. Thanks for sharing the progress! I am extra excited to check it out! Especially the interiors…it looks like it would have been a great project to design!

  2. And I’ll be right there with you. I can’t wait for this to open and the place looks beautiful. An amazing transformation from its prior look.

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