From Jamie Hurst. Email her at jamiehurst[AT]borderstan.com . Follow her on twitter @highheeldtravlr
On a snowy Super bowl Sunday, like many of my fellow Borderstanis, I popped in to GoodWood to check in with the owners, Anna and Dan Kahoe. They are building a cozy Borderstan community, one home décor sale at a time.
Borderstan: Tell me a little bit about GoodWood and why you were interested in being in Borderstan.
Anna: GoodWood opened in 1994 and Dan and I have had it for ten years. We love being in this neighborhood and we have customers that still shop here from before we had the store. Of course we now have this whole new influx of people. You know, it was great space and a great opportunity and we took it.
I don’t know what drew us… it was close, it was funky. It was – actually in the very beginning I would think of this area, as like this is where Washington is going to become more like New York.
Borderstan: Yeah, I can see that.
Anna: It was the first section of independently owned shops.
Borderstan: Has the changing demographics changed the independence? Or what do you think?
Anna: There are a lot more restaurants and bigger small corporations, like Black Salt. Jeff Black, who does all the restaurants, I feel like he’s a native son. So it’s sort of nice in that instance to be blessed by somebody who’s had a lot of success in DC to bring their name and reputation to the neighborhood. 14th street real estate is skyrocketing and I hope people can still do something cool and different. I feel like we are in the right place.
Dan: We are going to stay as long as we can. We want to be in this neighborhood.
Borderstan: What about this neighborhood draws you? I think its so charming.
Anna: One of the interesting things is that there are not a lot of big buildings so the nature of the retail and of the restaurants is a little cozier and it’s so walkable. People live here, they shop here.
I love that we see people every week. They stop by on their way to the gym or they come every week because they have a book group. I think it’s almost like Cheers or Main Street. You get the same group of people checking in.
Borderstan: You’re building a community with your shop.
Anna: I get nervous over the holidays when some of our good friends leave and it’s mid-January and I’m like, where are they! They haven’t come back yet. You know? I always want to hear about it [their trips].
Meeting people’s parents-I love that. It’s my favorite thing when people bring their parents into the store. Because I feel like the good girlfriend they want to introduce them to.
Borderstan: They have to show you off! A lot of people shop here because they feel that it’s not just a home goods store but that it’s also homey to shop here. Is there an instance you would want to share where you found an object you were really in love with, and then it found a really good home?
Anna: There are pieces I get really attracted to and I’m always hoping that it goes to one of our regulars, this, that and the other. [laughs] Dan’s going to hate that I tell this story but Dan just brought in today, see that Vanson leather motorcycle jacket over there?
Borderstan: Oh, yes.
Anna: Dan was wearing that when I met him.
Anna: I know. So speaking of homey, we are selling a piece of our history.
Borderstan: That’s so bittersweet!
Dan: I got skinny.
Borderstan: Well, that’s not a bad thing.
Anna: People often want to know the story behind something. And often we get stuff at auction and there really is no story. And I’m like, it’s your turn. You build the story. Or the story is that you found it here. This is the beginning.
And my favorite thing is when customers come in and they say, oh, I wish I lived here. That’s the feedback we want. We want people to feel comfortable here. Beyond getting something you need, like a chest of drawers, it’s a place to check in.
GoodWood, 1428 U Street NW. Store Hours: Monday to Saturday 12 to 7 pm, Sundays 12 to 5 pm.
From Jamie Hurst. Email her at jamiehurst[AT]borderstan.com . Follow her on twitter @highheeldtravlr
My interest in writing for Borderstan stemmed from an interest in getting to know the great citizens of our community here. Who are the people that work, live, and play in our fine city? First up, Nicole Aguirre, founder of Worn Magazine and co-founder of Worn Abroad talks to us about how she showcases the Washingtonian art, music, and fashion scenes as well as where to find the best Chana Masala in Adams Morgan.
Borderstan: Tell me about Worn Magazine and Worn Abroad?
Aguirre: I started Worn Magazine in 2009, and it was because I saw this vacuum for a local fashion and art publication that was really highlighting what was going on in the creative community in DC. I had all these fantastic friends doing all really creative things. That was my world in DC versus the political government world. I wasn’t seeing any publications, print publications specifically, covering that and really lifting it up and celebrating it as a real movement in the city. So I decided I would give it a shot myself and that’s where it started. I applied for a young artist grant from the DC Commission for Arts and Humanities and got it. So then after that there was really no turning back!
So we did one issue, then another, then another, now we are working on our fifth issue starting this week, which will come out in early April. Then last year I teamed up with Eric Brewer, who is the founder of an organization called Dandies and Quaintrelles. We’ve been friends for years and started a company called Worn Abroad. It’s under the Worn umbrella except it’s an e-commerce online retail company that sells clothing from designers all around the world, inspired from [global] street style. So we started off our first three months with pieces mostly from Asia and some U.S. designers and are slowly expanding inventory to include other parts of the world.
Borderstan: I like that you are bringing new fashion to DC but staying within a certain influence or style.
Aguirre: That’s the idea, to give access to styles that aren’t easily accessible in DC, starting off, then across the country as well.
Borderstan: Tell me a little bit about your perception of DC style. There is this running joke that DC has no style, but it obviously does. There is a huge art and music community here, and creatives in general.
Aguirre: DC style is still really forming itself. I think that a lot of the creative elements in the community that you mentioned like, music, art, and theatre have been growing really quickly and have started to define themselves. I think that fashion is sort of the one that’s still sort of lagging, still trying to catch up. But it is moving forward, very quickly, actually. One of the events that really showed me that was Georgetown’s Fashion Night Out last year.
A lot of people talked about how many individually stylish people came out to that event. It was sort of felt like a coming out, a real arrival of DC style. Eric and I thought that it was the perfect time to be in DC and starting a retail company because people are really hungry for that style and I think people are ready for it.
Borderstan: I know I am! So what made you want to establish your business in the Borderstan area?
Aguirre: Well, when I first moved to DC in 2005 to go to GW I lived in a small studio on Columbia Road and 16th Street NW. I would ride my Vespa to campus in Foggy Bottom everyday which for GW [George Washington University] student was a really long commute, but that made me get to know the area really well.
After that I lived in Dupont for a while, then moved back to Adams Morgan in 2007 when I moved into this space. I just think it’s the perfect location because everything is really accessible, like you have shopping and restaurants… and 18th Street is now starting to shift, too. I moved here with the idea that the neighborhood was in transition and was going to evolve. And I love how diverse this neighborhood is in general. There are Indian restaurants, the Ethiopian community, and families with children.
Borderstan: I agree. That is what is appealing about Borderstan, everybody’s here. It’s a melting pot.
Aguirre: Exactly, and it just so happens that DC is so small that your friends are always like, oh I live a block or two blocks away.
Borderstan: You don’t have to go very far! What are you favorite places to eat and shop in the area?
Aguirrre: One of my favorite places to eat in Adams Morgan is Himalayan Heritage. It’s at 18th and Kalorama. It’s incredible!
Borderstan: Any recommendations?
Aguirre: The Chana Masala because its gluten free and vegetarian! When I get the chance to get out of my studio, I like shopping the 14th Street boutiques.
From Jamie Hurts. Email her at jamiehurst[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on twitter @highheeldtravlr
I recently tweeted my fellow Washingtonians asking where I could replenish my magazine stock and find some inspiration. I received only one answer, “Go to The Newsroom on Connecticut.” I’ve walked past the unassuming facade many times without noticing it and you don’t see magazines filling up the windows. You have to go inside to find them.
Walk past the deli counter, convenience store, and tourist shop, all the way to the back where simple shelves are filled with some of the most well respected and entertaining publications in the world.
Dupont Circle is saturated with bookstores (three on the Circle itself), coffee shops (upwards of ten within a five minute walk from the metro), and plenty of places to grab a quick sandwich.
The Newsroom is north on Connecticut, just past all the hustle and bustle. They don’t have a twitter or Facebook account, or even website. The shop isn’t trendy but it does have a cult following – panic and sadness ensued when they recently temporarily closed.
When I need a magazine fix – foreign, domestic, and small publications – I now go here to make a haul. My last visit I came away with Italian Vogue, Wallpaper Magazine, Nylon, and the Economist. If you are an expat feeling homesick in Borderstan, or just curious about the goings-on in other parts of the world, this is your one stop shop – you can even grab a cup of coffee, too.
The Newsroom, 1803 Connecticut Avenue NW (just south of Florida Avenue), Washington, DC 20009, (202) 332-1489