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2006 Great Home Design: Traditional Furniture
Your taste runs more traditional? Here are 13 great places to buy beds, sofas, tables, and more.
Comments () | Published March 1, 2006

BAKER
$$$-$$$$

Baker Georgetown is as haute as it gets. This 22,000-square-foot showroom offers meticulous reproductions of American and British antiques along with exclusive collections by Billy Baldwins in training: Thomas Pheasant, Barbara Barry, Bill Sofield, and Jacques Garcia.

This is furniture you keep for decades, reupholstering as necessary. Like Barbara Barry’s distinctive X-backed dining chairs, with their ebony frames and dressmaker details—at $1,900 each, you wouldn’t replace them lightly.

Though the staff will assist customers with a room or two, they suggest interior designers for more ambitious projects.

Baker, 3330 M St., Georgetown; 202-342-7080; kohlerinteriors.com.

BLOOMINGDALE'S
$$-$$$$

White Flint is the larger of Bloomingdale’s two local furniture galleries.

Split evenly between traditional and contemporary, the collection includes high-end case goods and upholstery by Henredon, Ferguson Copeland, E.J. Victor, Ralph Lauren, and private labels. Though quality is generally high, I found that some collections, like Trade Winds, had drawers with lesser-quality construction.

This retailer has always struck a hard bargain with manufacturers, insisting on style exclusives—which means if you like it, there’s no comparison shopping.

For those in a rush, almost everything is in stock and ready for immediate delivery.

Bloomingdale’s, White Flint Mall, 301-984-4600; Tysons Corner Center, 703-556-4600.

CALICO CORNERS
$$-$$$

Calico Corners is known for sophisticated fabrics. Not so well known is that it also offers high-quality upholstered furniture.

Dozens of styles, from sofas to chairs to headboards, can be covered with your choice of more than 3,000 fabrics and endless trimmings. Though stores display only a few samples of the furniture, they have every style cushion on hand, so you can tell how whatever you select will sit.

No itty-bitty swatches here—borrow the whole bolt to see how a fabric looks in your room. Design consultants are available.

Calico Corners, eight area stores; calicocorners.com.

COLONY HOUSE
$$-$$$$

This third-generation family business with two enormous showrooms in Arlington and Centreville has a split personality, straddling the line between a design house and a furniture showroom.

First, there’s the top-quality furniture: Henredon, Drexel, Baker, Henkel Harris, Martha Stewart, Hancock & Moore. New this spring: the Althorp Living History Collection from Sherrill, with pieces modeled after those in the childhood home of Princess Diana. Particularly eye-catching: a 62-inch round mahogany pedestal table that expands to 84 inches thanks to clever pop-up leaves ($8,295).

Then, there’s pulling it together. Designers on staff can help with everything from picking a sofa to selecting paint colors.

Colony House, 1700 Lee Hwy., Arlington, 703-524-1700; 13818 Braddock Rd., Centreville, 703-266-7777; colonyhouse.net.

DANKER
$$-$$$$

The place to go if you like traditional decor with an edge. The fun is in the twists on classics: an extra-plump arm, a four-poster bed with an intricate iron crown.

The style is called transitional or bridge because it fits equally well in traditional and contemporary settings—pieces like a basic camelback sofa upholstered in quilted brown silk with paisley silk cushions in shades of bronze ($9,030).

More than 80 furniture lines are represented, including Henredon, Stanley, Marge Carson, and Natuzzi leathers. The showrooms are spacious and well designed, with lots of accessories, from pillows to lamps to faux-flower arrangements.

Danker Furniture, 1211 S. Fern St., Arlington, 703-416-0200; 1582 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-881-6010; Dulles Town Center, 571-323-6000; danker-furniture.com.

DOMAIN
$$-$$$

Domain is a European country fantasy, featuring vintage styling more chic than shabby—do ask Camilla to tea.

You’ll find well-distressed armoires, chests, and beds. Squishy chairs and sofas are covered in soft leather or artfully faded velvets and chintz. The Nouvelle Wash sofa, 97 inches long with barrel arms and six down back cushions, comes in a deliberately rumpled beige mattelisse ($2,999).

Most sofas are available as sleepers, but, oddly, there are no floor models to try. Although several interior designers told me that sofas they’ve ordered didn’t hold up as long as they would have liked, they still say this is a place to shop for a great look.

Domain, in Chevy Chase, Montgomery Mall, the Mall in Columbia, Tysons Corner Center, Fair Oaks Mall; domain-home.com.

ETHAN ALLEN
$$-$$$

If you think of Ethan Allen as a place to buy early-American reproductions covered in unfashionable, indestructible fabrics, think again.

Although the offerings are still moderately priced and mid-quality—best for rooms that don’t get a lot of abuse—the company has shed its humdrum image and is looking downright designerly. Its three area stores are filled with handsome vignettes that showcase English, French, Italian, contemporary, and other styles.

Everything is special order, made in the United States, and nicely finished. You can set that sofa in front of the hearth, and the back will be as display-worthy as the front.

Ethan Allen, 2900 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-971-4504; 1800 E. Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-984-4360; 8520-A Lees­burg Pike, Vienna, 703-356-6405; ethanallen.com.

KELLOGG COLLECTION
$$-$$$$

Need a place furnished pronto? Not only can you buy everything off Kellogg’s floor, but designers help you pull it all together.

The goods and the service are sterling. Take something home on approval? Of course. Paint that pretty wooden bed with butterflies? Certainly.

These are mainly English and French country furnishings, some imported, some from big names like Drexel Heritage and Hickory Chair, and some exclusives from local craftspeople.

This is a good choice for smaller-scale pieces, too—many are featured, like a slender English secretary in myrtle burl with a leather-top drop leaf ($6,813).

Accessories include lamps, pillows, cachepots, linens, and botanical prints.

Kellogg Collection, 3424 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-363-6879; 10241 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda, 301-897-9102; and 1353 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, 703-506-0850; kelloggcollection.com.

KREISS COLLECTION
$$-$$$$

Traditional style on steroids and priced accordingly, this is not the place for the conventional. Signed photographs on the walls are from Siegfried and Roy, Rod Stewart, and Barry Manilow, none of them celebrated for unpretentious living.

Everything is special-order and mansion-size. You can grow right into the 27-inch seats of the Palazzo dining chairs (industry standard is 18 to 20 inches). With beautifully carved frames and Nova suede upholstery—a particularly sensuous fake—Louis XV would love these for his vacation house in Boca Raton. They’re $1,500 apiece.

Baronial beds, king-size armoires, limousine-length sofas, and wrought-iron coffee tables round out the collection.

Kriess Collection, 5215 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-537-7333; kreiss.com.

MCLEAN FURNITURE GALLERY
$$-$$$$

Comprehensive and beautifully designed, McLean Furniture Gallery offers everything from sofas and dining sets to carpets, draperies, chandeliers, and oil paintings from more than 50 manufacturers.

The price range is broad. Splurge on top-of-the-line furnishings from E.J. Victor and Baker for your grand salon. Or scrimp on an $1,800 kid’s room from Broyhill.

Particularly gorgeous: a mahogany settee by E.J. Victor covered in the palest green silk embroidered with roses ($6,000).

Most everything on the floor is available for immediate delivery—and at big discounts. Designers help you pull it all together.

McLean Furniture Gallery, 8500 Lee Hwy., Fairfax; 703-280-8210; mcleanfurniture.com.

RANDOM HARVEST
$$-$$$

Each of Random Harvest’s three stores is different—and constantly changing. That’s what happens when you specialize in antique and vintage furniture, mainly English, American, and Chinese.

Always in stock: tables, sideboards, armoires, and iron beds. A 1920s solid-mahogany bureau ($850) was one recent find. Gracefully carved sofas from the 1920s and ’30s are refurbished and ready for upholstery. A sofa can be turned around—your fabric or theirs—in as little as three weeks.

Mingling in are new pieces that fit the company’s classic aesthetic and lots of accessories, particularly lighting and mirrors.

Don’t see what you want? Check the binders at the store you visit to see Polaroids of what’s at the other two locations.

Random Harvest, 810 King St., Alexandria, 703-548-8820; 1313 Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, 202-333-5569; 7766 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-280-2777; randomharvesthome.com.

SECOND YARD
$$-$$$

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, this small furniture and fabric shop offers a charming collection of well-priced tables and chests from fine manufacturers like Hickory Chair and Maitland Smith, and sofas and chairs from designer lines like Isenhour and Stanford.

Particularly sweet are unusual pieces from Cox, a boutique company that specializes in accent furniture: diminutive fireside chairs ($850 in suede) and chaise longues with diamond-quilted cushions and skirts trimmed in tassels and fringe ($1,398).

Choose from more than 2,000 fabrics by makers like Lee Jofa, Robert Allen, and Kravet. Also available: custom window treatments and bedding and reupholstery.

Second Yard, 10389 Main St., Fairfax; 703-385-7699.

TRADITION DE FRANCE
$$-$$$$

This narrow three-story shop in Old Town is packed with fine antique reproductions—from Louis XV to Directoire to art deco to French country—all custom made in Provence.

Clever pieces for small homes include a petite cherry demi lune table that expands to seat eight ($1,900). There are mansion-size furnishings, too: an eight-foot wide Louis Phillipe–style armoire ($4,977) could hold a wardrobe of ball gowns.

Accessories include French tapestries ($800 to $8,000) and charming original oils by art students for as little as $140.

Tradition de France, 1113 King St., Alexandria; 703-836-5340;

traditiondfrance.com.

More Stores for Traditional Furnishings (online-only content)
In the March issue, writer Stephanie Cavanaugh chose her favorite shops for classic home furnishings. Here are other places worth a look:

GATSBY’S COLLECTION
$-$$$

Taking a Sunday drive to the Eastern shore? Worth a detour is this often eccentric collection of home furnishings and garden ornaments from 22 countries and the United States.

Outside you’ll find life-sized bronze horses, ten-foot urns, and elaborate gates to mark a mile-long driveway. Inside, a mix of antique and new furniture, plus hybrids—a beautifully detailed Victorian pedestal might sport a hand-painted top crafted in Gatsby’s own workshops.

Accessories range from assorted startled deer heads to stained-glass windows, ceiling fans, original oil paintings, mirrors, and rugs.

Three trucks deliver as far as New York.

Gatsby’s Collection, 1007 S. Talbot Street St., St. Michaels; 410-745-3700; gatsbyscollection.com.

HAVERTY’S
$-$$

With a sharp eye, you can put together a nice room at this low-priced retailer. While the furniture’s construction may not last a lifetime, there are finds.

The Sorbet Stripe 86-inch round-armed sofa, upholstered in either coral-and-white or blue-and-white-striped mattress ticking, is a good bet for the beach house or first apartment at $699. The matching arm chair is $549. Downright elegant is the Decorum, a neoclassic, double-pedestal dining table in cherry veneer with an inlay of maple and ebony. That’s $1,599, but unfortunately includes four inelegant chairs. You can always sell those on Craig’sList.

Haverty’s, six area locations; havertys.com.

IMI FURNITURE
$-$$$

This 30,000-square-foot showroom suits IMI’s massive, overstuffed Brazilian-style furniture—which, in turn, suits area mansions.

Prices aren’t as huge; the many American lines IMI sells carry discounts as high as 50-percent off retail. Mostly, the Sterling shop imports from Brazil (where there are 20 IMI outlets), which uses glass, marble, and iron in its furniture. While the average sofa can run as low as $2,000, customizing with luxury fabrics can raise prices over $8,000.

IMI Furniture, 1100 W. Church Rd., Sterling; 703-430-2100.

STANIS FURNITURE
$-$$

This big warehouse is a little dark for some tastes, and much of the furniture is of average to below-average quality, but careful sifting reaps rewards. And not only are the prices low, the service is impressive.

There is a particularly large selection of traditional armoires ($800 and up) fitted out for TV or stereo with sliding shelves and holes for wiring. Another winner: The Aberdeen, a counter-height table ($349) by Hamilton and Spill that seats eight for dinner and would be great in a country kitchen, serving double-duty as a work island. Chairs to match the table’s ebony finish were just $87.

Stanis will take back any order you’re not satisfied with, including custom upholstery.

Stanis Furniture, 2809 Merrilee Dr., Fairfax; 703-698-9500; www.stanisfurniture.com.

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