I knew this email was coming from Timothy Paul, but it was nonetheless a tough one to open this morning: “A Bittersweet Goodbye to 14th Street.”
“It is with a heavy heart and considerable contemplation that I write this announcement to say Mia and I have made the decision to close our 14th Street showroom after 13 years,” the email said.
Tim and Mia Worrell were practically pioneers when they first opened in 2002 with a small collection of carpets and textiles—before nearly all of the trendy shops and restaurants you see there today. They grew along with the street, now a major design district, moving into a larger showroom and expanding their offerings into bedding, furnishings and decor. They even opened a second location at the Mosaic District in Merrifield, VA (which is blessedly staying open).
But now that 14th Street is so hot, and all the big chains are moving in and driving rents up to astronomical levels, the independent shops—predictably—are suffering. Tim told me last week that even though last year was one of their best yet, he and Mia are still having to work 7-day weeks just to keep up. “Business has changed. It’s just more difficult now. It makes more sense to start something else and relieve ourselves of the stress,” he said.
Most galling—and Tim and Mia are not alone here—is that shoppers will come in, take pictures of the merchandise they’ve so carefully curated, and then do a Google image search for cheaper look-alikes online. “People used to buy people,” Tim said. If you trust in someone’s taste and experience in the industry, why not pay a little extra for a more imaginative selection than what you see in chain-store windows everywhere?
But here’s the good news: We’ll still have the Virginia store, and their nearby warehouse out there will still open once or twice a year for rug sales. Designers and customers can still call on Tim and Mia, who will have the time to meet them personally and show them bedding and rug samples. “It will be more customer-service based,” Tim said. “It’s like a masseuse coming to your house instead of going to the spa.”
I love that analogy. And as a fellow Arlington resident, I love that they will be around the neighborhood more often. Our sons play flag football, so I’m looking forward to seeing them more on the sidelines this fall.
In the meantime, though, get yourself downtown for their final sales—bedding should start around July 21, while rugs will go on sale around July 29. But most of all—especially for those of us who’ve known Tim and Mia for years—just go down and hang out before their beautiful showroom closes for good at the end of August.
As their email said this morning: “Please come by and have a glass of champagne and celebrate. A songwriter once said, ‘Moving on is a simple thing; what it leaves behind is hard.’ ”
Timothy Paul Home is at 1529B 14th Street NW.
Summer hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11-5; Sunday, 12-4; closed Monday.
You can reach Tim and Mia by email, or at 202.234.2020.