AT DC: Ruff & Ready Furnishings - I’d Like to Buy an Owl, Please, Vanna

AT DC: Ruff & Ready Furnishings - I’d Like to Buy an Owl, Please, Vanna

Maxwell Ryan
Mar 28, 2008

This is from our second DC finalist, Hilary. Comment away!

DC can be a very tidy place. Set out on a grid system of four mirrored quadrants, the District sometimes feel well manicured but a little bland, as if the city itself shops at Ann Taylor.

And yet, there is Ruff & Ready...

Open only on weekends and located on 14th St just off the revitalized U St behind an abandoned-looking façade, this used furniture store is a glorious mess. The inside is split into four parts: a middle maze of everything stacked to the ceiling, a courtyard piled with china frozen together in winter, another warehouse with larger furniture, and a turpentine-scented bargain basement.

>> Ruff & Ready Furnishings (no website, but good google listing)

It is also one of the few places in DC where the crowd is truly from every background. Diplomats, bus drivers, and students squeeze through the narrow passageways clutching copper candlesticks, crescent-shaped Moroccan mirrors, and a lamp made from an elk leg. Happy chaos prevails.

This time I bought an owl. My friend spotted him behind some teacups. Seven inches high, he seems to be cast iron. There's no mark, but he is weighty with charm. He now keeps watch from my bookshelf.

Every city should have a crazy treasure house; what's your favorite?

- Hilary P.

(Thanks, Hilary!)

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