As featured in Capitol File Magazine
When you round the bend off hip and bustling H Street NE toward the historic alley that houses Foundry, a part of you will feel like you’ve randomly discovered Yvette Freeman’s Paris flea market–inspired boutique completely on your own. The other part of you will feel deeply in the know.
An interior designer, real estate developer, and personal stylist, Freeman recently relocated her distinctive furniture and home goods shop from U Street—where it had been since opening in 2011—to a charming carriage house in the Atlas District.
Up a staircase, framed by an exposed brick wall, lays an eclectic yet elegant mix of vintage and modern pieces, many painstakingly refinished, painted, or reupholstered by Freeman herself.
After combing the world for her distinctive wares, Freeman then brings them back to her 2,500-square-foot studio space directly below the store, where she refurbishes them before putting them on retail display. However, some pieces never actually make it upstairs, says Freeman. Instead, they’re snatched up by designers who pop by her studio to see what she has in the pipeline on the days when the store is closed.
The shop is often restaged, and remaining pieces are rotated in and out on a weekly basis, so no two visits are the same. On the day we took our excursion, we spied an elegant antique French armchair upholstered in a old army blanket ($1,350), a nearly flawless Chesterfield leather chair ($1,140) that we wanted to curl up in with a nice Scotch and a good book, and a dinged yet extremely cool metal pub table ($290) that the entire family could dine around in style. Scattered throughout the space are carefully selected new pieces, such as fanciful platters, buttery leather-bound journals, and a Philippe Starck Ghost chair reproduction.
As a child growing up near Williamsburg, Virginia, Freeman would accompany her father, a builder and furniture refinisher, to barn sales. That’s where she fell in love with the act of discovering and collecting pieces that may have seen better days. She taught herself how to give them a second life, and she put herself through college and graduate school by repainting and customizing old furniture.
Although her shop may leave you yearning to have the entire inventory moved into your row house, Freeman believes homeowners should carefully curate their interiors, buying “one special item at a time” that reflects their personal style. She says her goal is to help Washingtonians find “unique, quality pieces that are not mass-produced, but attainable.”
Her philosophy extends to clothing, and—fortunately for us—her new shop houses a not-to-miss wearable goods boutique in the back room. It’s here you’ll find exquisite vintage Gucci silk skirts, Pucci-esque dresses, and delicately beaded Prada shoes. For the fellows, there are military jackets and James Bond–inspired garb, including mint-condition Burberry dress coats.
Freeman hosts private styling sessions for DC socialites and politicos looking for unique pieces to wear to black-tie dinners, weddings, or simply around town. She won’t name her clients, but shares that they’ll put on some music, pop open a bottle of wine, and spend an afternoon giddy from trying on her treasures. We sense she turns all her customers into friends.