August 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm EDT | by Mark Lee
Pedini envy
Pedini, gay news, Washington Blade

Austin Rooke is celebrating seven years as co-owner of Pedini D.C. (Washington Blade Photo by Michael Key)

For those who prefer “living in the kitchen,” one local D.C. firm is a standout source of custom-crafted inspiration and envy-invoking dream home fulfillment.

House and condo owners, along with architect-driven residential boutique-project developers in the District, Virginia and Maryland, have two long-time friends to thank for offering a distinctive regional resource for those seeking the best in high-end kitchen design.

Business partners Austin Rooke and Roy Wellman, this month celebrating seven years as co-owners of Pedini D.C., are the exclusive regional licensed dealer for the Italian kitchen design and technology company of the same name. The duo also provides bathroom and closet design, additionally offering storage cabinetry and case goods for adjacent living areas flowing from the culinary-and-socializing center common to the open floor plans of today’s popular living environments.

Now a global enterprise with more than 300 showrooms in more than 25 countries, high-quality Pedini products have been winning the affection of both design professionals and discriminating consumers since the company’s founding in 1957. Noted for style innovation and developing new fabrication techniques, Pedini is recognized for its trend-setting modern design and exacting commitment to quality.

Wellman and Rooke operate out of a warehouse-style showroom studio at 3340 Cady’s Alley, N.W., in the design haven near Key Bridge nestled between Georgetown’s M Street thoroughfare and the C&O Canal. Aficionados of the elegantly functional and exquisitely streamlined contemporary cabinetry with integrated appliances on display might be tempted to drool while strolling through the space.

The expansive layout features half-a-dozen kitchen installation vignettes representing Pedini product lines, some set against floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the waterway. Stark white walls under 12-foot industrial ceilings above dark steel flooring are accented with displays of finish, texture and color options. The business partners knew that this prominent pocket of specialized purveyors was “the only and best place to be” when deciding where to locate.

Wellman, who handles client project design and coordinates on-site installations, has had a life-long interest in component design. Raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, the graduate of Cornell University School of Hotel Administration managed several restaurants in D.C. before transitioning to his current career. The Capitol Hill resident, married to husband Juan Rivera with whom he has shared his life for 15 years, credits his spouse with being of great assistance to he and Rooke in getting the business off the ground. Rivera, trained as an architect and now a financial management analyst, assisted the pair in setting up accounting and data systems.

Also a former farm boy, the Alabama-born Rooke graduated with an MBA from the University of Texas before studying law, later serving in U.S. Army intelligence following a move to D.C. Now living in the LeDroit Park neighborhood, Rooke handles general management duties. Both partners consult with clients and share business development planning.

Wellman and Rooke, both 43, attest to welcoming opportunities “to create something beautiful.” “That’s super exciting to us,” explains Rooke, “we like design challenges and complicated projects, whether large or small.”

The co-owners point out the significant enhancement a well-designed kitchen contributes to a residence, noting that an improvement investment can add as much as “five times its cost to the value of a home.” Interest in European-influenced kitchens by “a sophisticated, well-traveled and affluent Washington market” is strong, they add.

It is quickly apparent that both partners derive great enjoyment and satisfaction from their work. What they cook up for clients has created their success.

The Pedini showroom is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are available for personalized consultations. Product collections and project portfolio are available online at

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at

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