Framers' Workroom - A Brick and Mortar Treasure

photos via Framers' Workroom

Artist collectives and locals love Framers’ Workroom! It is a neighborhood treasure. A photo gallery wall, a painting just dried or a found piece of art is welcomed by experienced framers who love the challenge of finding the perfect complementary mat and frame. DIYers are given free rein to explore and design, leaving the shop with framed pieces in hand. In a virtual world, these are the businesses with souls worth supporting. Hop on Instagram, be inspired, and then stop by to showcase your inspirations!

Gana Browning loves her neighbors and offers talent and advice so we can feather our nests. Investing in the spaces where we are spending ALL of our time these days is worth every penny! 

Gana shares the story behind her business with BlueBird City:

Framers' Workroom opened in 1981, co-managed by Sue Kaul and Gana Browning. The idea for the store came from three of Sue's friends who had experience with picture framing shops in the Philadelphia area. We offered both custom and do-it-yourself framing, as we still do now, and were self-sufficient after about six months. In the beginning, we hardly knew what we were doing--it was pretty much on-the-job training--but gradually we came into our own. Our primary goals were and are to treat every piece of artwork with great care and respect and to educate our customers as to the best ways to preserve their art now and into the future. Our staff is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of framing, and most have been here for many years.

In the beginning, our next-door neighbor was Baker’s Photo. Abe and Rulene warmly welcomed us to Tenleytown and were wonderfully supportive of our fledgling enterprise. Today, we enjoy relationships with the Washington Trophy Center, Mayflower Chinese Food, Subway, and many others.

In almost 40 years, we have done several exciting projects for a variety of entities: the White House, the Smithsonian, many embassies, as well as members of the judiciary and the legislative branches of our government. We once framed 300 pieces of student art for display in the Juvenile Court of DC--that was a challenge!

While we certainly pride ourselves on the quality of custom framing that we do, the do-it-yourself aspect of Framers' Workroom is what keeps us on our toes and sets us apart from other frame stores! We thought from the beginning that affording people the opportunity to be hands-on participants in the framing process (while saving money) would be appealing, and that proved to be the case. We wanted people to be able to come into the store and leave the same day with a tangible product--something to show for their labors. Our process has evolved over the years to the point where it is as easy for the customer as we can make it. 

My favorite part of the job, and I suspect my staff would agree, is that moment when you know the framing suggestions you make to a customer are absolutely the right ones for the piece because the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts. To this day, I still get goosebumps when I get it right!

We have been very lucky in our 39 years (with a few bumps along the way) and have grown and evolved into a successful and effective business. The unprecedented occurrence of Covid-19 is forcing us to rethink many aspects of our operation and is presenting us with the kind of challenge we faced when we first opened in 1981. As much as I would like to be able to consult my crystal ball to determine our future, I cannot. Small businesses all over the world are in perilous positions, and all we can do is hope that the changes we have made as well as the support of our loyal customers will see us through.

Framers’ Workroom is located at 4431 Wisconsin Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016.

202-363-1970 |

Current hours are M-F 10-5:30 pm, preferably by appointment.