West Elm’s Pop-Up Store Opens in Georgetown By Jessica Bonness

Jessica Bonness runs JGB Interiors and writes at Paint It What I Tell You.

West Elm’s Pop-Up Store opened Thursday in Georgetown at 3333 M Street NW.

A far cry from the hulking behemoth of organic bedding and chocolate-wood veneers that used to exist downtown, this is West Elm‘s littlest store and arguably their most charming one. As such, it carries a limited amount of furniture and focuses instead on their collection of textiles and accessories. You’ll find a lot of one-of-a-kind items here: hand-printed ethnic print pillows, vibrant throws made from recycled saris, and gleaming glass mosaic wall decor from India that’s traditionally used to panel elaborate buildings. There are also tons of soaps, candles, and little items that you’ll probably be happy you purchased on an impulse. I got a candle in my little gift bag that smells so good, even my husband approves: Paddywax’s “Library” scent.

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Sure, you’ll also see a lot of these things in the catalog and online, but here you can PICK THEM YOURSELF in an environment that feels a lot more like a 14th Street boutique than a mall store. If you’re like me you’ll want to spend half an hour pouring over the dozens of unique blankets so that you can pick the perfect one: at $99, they’re priced pretty well compared to similar finds elsewhere.

Though the official opening day was Thursday, the opening celebrations are going to be Saturday, July 16th. All day Pleasant Pops will be giving out their popsicles outside of the store, and for the first two hours there will be prizes on some of the popsicle sticks: 25% off? a $1000 gift card? …in any case you get a delicious and free treat.

West Elm will be in this location until at least right after the new year.  Right now they have the Fall line in the store, and Georgetown is one of the first locations in the country to have it in stock. It’s very ethnic and indigo, with lots of hand-blocked prints and chunky textiles. In late September they’ll switch over to their Holiday line, which is apparently going to feature even more one-of-a-kind items and be heavy on the paper mache. They’re loving being in the Georgetown neighborhood and hoping to stay on a permanent basis as 2012 rolls around…just look for them to move to a bigger (but hopefully not too big) space if one comes available.

A few tips for your visit:

– Did you know West Elm offers a 10% discount to college students AND faculty? Just bring your ID (this applies to those of you who are currently in college or teaching it…not those of you who still carry your ID around six years later so you can see movies on the cheap.)
– If you’re buying chairs or hefty items, there is a loading area in the garage under the building, or West Elm offers very cheap same-day delivery!
– I speak from personal experience on this: The massive hill on 35th Street is a great and less-obvious place to park in this crowded area. Just make sure your gas tank isn’t on “E.” I made out fine, but developed a few gray hairs in the process.

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