Project: Mi Vida, 14th Street
Owner: KNEAD Hospitality + Design
Interior Design and Architecture: KNEAD Hospitality + Design in collaboration with //3877
Address: 1901 14th Street NW Washington DC 20009
Neighborhood: Logan Circle
Total Square Footage: 12,300 square feet
Seat Count: 287
KNEAD Hospitality + Design in collaboration with //3877 transformed a 1900s-era building into Mi Vida’s newest location on 14th Street in Washington D.C.'s bustling Logan Circle neighborhood. The most recent restaurant remodel of many successful collaborations between the two firms, Mi Vida brings a modern perspective on south-of-the-border dining with a design that celebrates the vibrant heritage of Mexican culture.
Previously a Matchbox Restaurant, this location stirs up a sense of nostalgia for the //3877 team as it was the firm’s first-ever undertaking as a company over a decade ago. The history of the space doesn’t stop there––originally built in 1907, the property has a storied past as a bowling and billiards destination, live music venue, and a jazz club. Steeped in history and character, Mi Vida immerses patrons in the livelihood of 14th Street, with dynamic seating arrangements and a new exterior closure that has been added to the original property’s patio. The 1,000-square-foot exterior boasts a seasonal dining area with heaters for cooler months and fans for the warmer ones.
The two-story restaurant draws the attention of passersby with a vivid painting using eclectic colors, shapes and patterns that cover the entirety of the exterior––the painting is accentuated by curvaceous, visually intriguing architecture with bright orange double doors at the entrance. Inside, its interiors nod to memorable design elements found in Mi Vida’s location at The Wharf with dramatic, bright pink fin-like panels that line the ceiling of the entryway, a custom-wood and concrete host stand, and KNEAD Hospitality + Design’s signature black and white slate tile floors. Rose gold metal screens, a component sprinkled throughout the restaurant, add a lustrous touch of elegance to the left with an entry bench to the right for those waiting for the rest of their party to arrive. The ground floor host stand area provides patrons with a unique, cavernous moment, while the bar, just to the left of the stand, invites guests deeper into the illuminous space. Dining areas are tucked away in private, little nooks and can be rented out for a la carte dining, birthdays, and other special, more intimate events.
The bar features a black concrete top with a pink ombré back bar, custom wallcoverings, and a striking, textured concrete edge to complement the black and white flooring. Across the bar, a hand-painted palm leaf mural lines the wall alongside the windows of the restaurant, catching natural light during the day and glimpses of the lively Logan Circle nightlife after dark.
Towards the back of the restaurant, a striking “Tree of Life” installation from TreeScapes plays with the two-story component of the space––a signature element of KNEAD Hospitality + Design, the artisan-crafted tree creates a beautiful, eye-catching focal point within the restaurant. The two firms worked in tandem to restore all of the existing architecture on the second floor, implementing a unique wooden dowel canopy that creates a light and textured juxtaposition against the brick walls. Adding to the second floor’s design scheme and exclusive vibe, two skyboxes overlook the first-floor bar with chic dining tables and banquette and booth-style seating set alongside a Hacienda room that serves as a private event space.
KNEAD Hospitality + Design and //3877’s approach for Mi Vida’s second location powerfully captures the vibrancy of Mexican cuisine through design and perfectly coincides with acclaimed Chef Roberto Santibañez’s vision for the next step in his decades-long culinary journey.
*Featured Image Courtesy: //3877