Attention, design-obsessed Washingtonians: There’s a new vintage furniture store in the region.
The George Vintage & Design, which opened earlier this summer in Del Ray, specializes in midcentury-modern goods. The 1,000- square-foot store, located on Mount Vernon Avenue, carries vintage furniture, rugs, glassware, and other home accessories, as well as candles and art by Alexandria makers like ISO Candles and artist Nina Louise.
The owner, Teri Brake, is a longtime lover and collector of vintage and midcentury pieces. Pre-pandemic, she was living in New York and working in corporate America as a chief of staff. But when Covid hit, she took off on an extended road trip that ultimately brought her to Alexandria. She loved it so much, she decided to stay for good. She also decided to turn her passion into a full-time gig. She launched The George in June, naming it after her 7-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Customers can often find the pup, who’s named after George Washington, hanging out in the store. “He takes his duties as greeter very seriously,” Brake says.
Brake centered the store around midcentury furniture because she loves it, but the style’s clean lines and simple structures also make it something of an aesthetic chameleon. “Vintage midcentury pieces are easily placed into any design because they don’t conflict with what people usually have,” she says. She sources all the pieces from across the country herself, and takes care to curate a selection that’s high quality and in good condition. Brake provides design services, too, helping clients repurpose and rearrange already-owned items from their home, and sourcing new pieces for them.
While most of the items in Brake’s shop are from the 1960s, she also carries a few from the ’50s and ’70s. Her favorite pieces currently for sale include a pair of 1960s Milo Baughman-inspired tub swivel chairs in original orange velvet, a few items from Herman Miller (the furniture company behind famed pieces like the Eames chair), and a set of 1960s Danish teak dining room chairs. And Brake always carries a collection of vintage barware and coffee and tea mugs, which are also favorites of hers.
While replicas of original midcentury-modern style are prevalent in today’s big box stores—think West Elm or Target—Brake says it’s best to hold out and wait until you find an authentic vintage piece you truly love. It may cost more up front, but a well-preserved piece of original midcentury-modern furniture will likely be a better investment and higher quality. “Slow design is the best design,” she says. “Be patient with a space.”
Brake’s favorite part of her new job is the full-circle nature of vintage hunting: “It will never be lost on me when someone comes in and they select something that I have sourced and curated and they want to incorporate that into their own homes,” she says. “I’m really grateful for that. It won’t ever get old.”
The George Vintage & Design; 2210 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; Thursday to Friday: 11 AM to 6 PM; Saturday: 10 AM. to 5 PM.; Sunday: 11 AM to 3 PM.