Deborah Kalkstein, with her dark hair and eyes, looks just as sleek as her modern, designer furniture, architecture and home décor store, Contemporaria in Georgetown. She sat down with The Downtowner to talk about holiday shopping and to recommend some of her favorite gift-able items in her chic boutique. As the days left to finish your holiday shopping tick away, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy taking in all that the D.C. retail has to offer. At Contemporaria, Kalkstein and her staff will be holding open houses where shoppers can peruse the store’s beautiful pieces with a champagne toast. “People come to browse our new collection and enjoy a bit of the holiday cheer,” Kalkstein says, a scene which sounds even more appealing when described in her lilting Peruvian accent.
The Downtowner: What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received?
Kalkstein: Oh my God, that’s nice and simple. I just got, from my husband, a week in a spa Sedona by myself. So, I tell you, it was the most thoughtful and amazing gift that somebody could have given me because I would have not ever bought it by myself.
DT: How about the worst gift?
K: Also from my husband. He gave me this beautiful gardening James Bond suitcase. And I hate gardening. So, I was like, after being married for 20-something years don’t you know? It’s sitting in my house unopened and unused. It was not awful, but it was really not for me. But I’ll never forget it.
DT: How about your favorite gift that you’ve ever had a chance to give to someone?
K: I’ve given some really nice gifts; I have to think about it! I think one of the best things, for me, was to give my mother the watch that she always wanted and to be able to buy it for her. It gave me a lot of satisfaction.
DT: What are your three favorite gift-able items that you have in the store right now?
K: Right now we are doing, which I love, we have these Missoni throws that are very cozy and plush. You can give it to anybody from older to younger to men or women to use on your bed or couch or anything like that. They come beautifully boxed and they’re a gorgeous gift. Then we have, since we are a design-oriented store, we have the miniatures by Vitra that are all the little miniatures of all their museum-quality pieces. They’re really beautiful to have around because they remind you of design and they remind you of a beautiful thing every day. And the third, I love this new lamp we have by Floss. It has the technology of a LED light, and it’s so cool to put on your desk or a night table or anywhere.
DT: Is there anything that you’d like to say to holiday shoppers who come to Georgetown?
K: Support Georgetown! It’s a beautiful part of town. We are here for a cause because we love it here, and we all want to be here to stay. We all need the support of Georgetowners and the support they can bring to bring people from out of town, and I mean out of town like Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Arlington, to come by Georgetown and support business here . . . There’s this misconception that coming to Georgetown there’s only expensive things, but it’s not. You can find everything from all lines of work. It’s one of the only places in town that you can walk around and feel a very European mood and enjoy it and share it.