Design Within Reach Closes Shop in Adams Morgan

And the closings continue on Columbia Road. Thanks to all for sending word that Design Within Reach, located at 1838 Columbia Road, NW in Adams Morgan has been completely emptied out. A reader took the above photo from Friday and when I walked by on Sat. the store was completely empty. Another reader writes:

“DWR in Adams Morgan is gone. There’s absolutely nothing inside the store at all. Though I didn’t see any closing signage, it’s fairly apparent that the store is gone. Can’t say I miss it. Their prices were pretty outlandish and their stock was abysmal. I remember going in there needing a little small table for two people and the cheapest one was over $800. Blegh.”

We talked about the shop back in June ’08. Will they be missed?

25 Comment

  • I won’t miss it. The name itself is false advertising.

  • Again, another bad idea mounted to a poor business plan.

    Retailers typically do market research prior to opening a location. That market research really only considers two things. Incomes of people within defined radius of usually a mile, 5, miles and 10 miles.

    The second part is average residential RE values and property tax values, the logic is, the more expensive the home, the wealthier the people who live there are.

    Both are generally useful and the majority of the time, these two metrics work pretty well, specifically in suburban settings. Dense urban areas, are not one of them.

    Most recently (last ~7 years), homes in neighborhoods like Adams Morgan, U Street, Columbia Heights have seen their value double. The quickness is the issue because just because someone has a 800K house, doesn’t mean they have the disposable income to buy 2,000 dollar ottomans.

    The income component is the second and really never has worked in the District because DC is sharply defined into the has and has nots. Crossing on one street can take you from 800K condos owned by early 30’s yuppies pulling in ~180K a year, to burned out section 8 crack housing.

    Lastly, in this economy (and just plain bad luck on their timing on this one), even well to do folks aren’t spending their money on over the top lux items like this.

    So in conclusion…the store even in good times wouldn’t have survived do to its small projected demographic and hilariously insane pricing, the economy just hastened the inevitable for them…as well as many others like them in DC

    • I fall into this category of have a $500k house but not being able to buy $2000 ottomans. I would have loved to buy some of the furniture in there but too expensive for me at this time. but its the same for all the boutique stores on 14th st too. why does modern furniture have too cost some much? especially when its just a plastic chair?

    • joker,

      You forgot to mention the obvious in 2010:

      internet commerce is destroying our urban neighborhoods and every small town main street.

      Talk to any non food and beverage retailer and they’ll tell you how they so work so hard everyday and every hard month that passes to be a good neighbor with so little reciprocity.

      Want better neighborhoods ? Wake up folks !

      Theirs is a life in the real life private sector in 2010.

      • best buy is doing fine and everything in there is over priced.

      • I see lots of non food and beverage retailers doing extremely well in DC. New ones, old ones. The ones that provide a reasonable and cost effective good or service are doing just fine. Even in the best of economic circumstances, this store only catered to a extremely slim demographic in the District. Now put that store in a neighborhood with an even smaller sliver of that demographic. Now crater the economy…

        It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that place had no more business in Adams Morgan, than does a Neiman Marcus in Anacostia. Wrong location, wrong demo.

        And their prices were just completely off the map, to the point of being joke like.

  • They had a HUGE closeout sale but they are moving remaining inventory to their Georgetown store on Cadi’s Alley, which is probably a more appropriate locale anyway.

  • My favorite thing about that store was the quote on one of their windows from some designer:

    “It matters what you make.”

    It most certainly did at DWR.

  • Stores like this do best when they are near similar stores. The DWR Georgetown store is in the Cady’s Alley complex featuring several upscale furnishing stores; another collection of trendy furnishing stores has developed on the 14th St. corridor; this store pretty much stood alone.
    We purchased something from this branch once. We liked the furniture, but the delivery service (Fed Ex Ground) was truly awful.

  • I didn’t realize this place was a store. I’ve seen it a billion times but I thought it was some kind of interior design studio/company or something. But then again I’m not in their target audience either, it would seem. I wonder if it looked like a store to wealthier people?

    • To most of us in the neighborhood, it wasn’t really a store. It was more of a museum of modern furniture design. Nice to look at, but if you ever found something you actually couldn’t do without, you’d go elsewhere and get it for far less, new or used.

  • I think a lot of the furniture stores on 14th will end up like this. Expensive prices and low quality furniture.

    • I hope not. Room & Board is doing it right. Selection is great. Prices-while not cheap-are pretty good considering the quality and the fact that most of their stuff is made out of real wood in the USofA. Plus, their phone salespeople are really nice (I bought my couch before they opened a store here). BTW, I don’t work at R&B.

      • plus people don’t think twice about driving to 14th street. driving to adams morgan is probably fine in the day, but i always avoid doing it, unless i have to.

  • Way, way overpriced. Not sure whose reach they were supposedly within. Not mine, that’s for sure.

  • I thought DWR was a good business model until I saw Room & Board, which carries a lot of the same stuff in about 100x better environment and with plenty of their own, much more affordable, furniture thrown into the mix.

  • This newly constructed building has three levels of underground parking.

    Miss Pixie Windsor come back to Adams Morgan,

    NOW !

    We miss you. C’mon.

    Your commute will be a one minute walk.

  • Design Out of Reach.

    There are so many other places that you can get furnishings to recreate the sets from “2001 A Space Odyssey” in your living room. Yeah sure, they won’t be genuine cow hide or authentic Knoll reproductions, but it’s unlikely that your grandchildren’s grandchildren will want to have your Saarinen table in their dining room some day. So save yourself $4,000 and head to the internet for your edgy, retro furniture.

  • Mixed feelings about this. Always sad to see neighborhood retail go. But, agree this was an odd fit. This isn’t Manhattan or San Francisco. The real money in DC doesnt’t live in the urban core.

  • In 2006, I bought patio table & 4 chairs from DWR / Adams Morgan – on Sale, 1st, last & only purchase. Since then, DWR has mailed me enough catalogues to fill a DC Recycling Container. I love their furniture, but often thought; 50 years from now… an DWR item appears at Antiques Road Show, the person is told item is reproduction vs original and worth only $100.

  • I hear that they are opening a much larger new store in GT.

  • Their new GT store is open and it is beautiful! I want a Finn Juhl chair!

  • Everyone in Adams Morgan knew this place would fail from day 1. Too bad DWR didn’t know this.

    Too expensive. Too wanna-be-upscale.

Comments are closed.