Freshen up that tired room with artisanal rugs and textiles.
Mia Worrell knows her way around a bed. The fairer half of the design force behind Timothy Paul Bedding + Home (her husband is the store’s namesake) is touring me around her airy showroom in Merrifield’s new Mosaic District. She stops in front of a thoughtfully composed bed, a beacon of calm done up in pale neutrals and rich textures that have been neatly tucked, folded and plumped into place.
“We put this one together with a Nancy Koltes duvet and pillow, an Area alpaca blanket, a Sferra sheet set and Libeco pillows,” Mia says. This is not your department store bed-in-a-bag; this is art you sleep in.
The store carries nearly a dozen lines of luxury linens, which Mia and her staff expertly mix and match to create beds that are a study in texture and shade, pattern and color. “We also take into consideration how our clients sleep. Do they get hot or cold? Do they like heavy blankets or light?
We always pull the flat sheet down over the coverlet and usually fold the duvet down at the bottom of the bed or layer a blanket for visual interest,” she explains, and I am in awe of both her instinct and her patience for all those steps. “When someone tells us they just throw their duvet up to the top of the bed…,” she trails off laughing, then pantomimes a cringe.
I laugh, too, but the duvet-thrower in me shifts in my shoes.
Full disclosure: The Worrells and I know each other from our kids’ school. I have often heard other parents whisper in envy of their impeccably stylish Lyon Village home, but this is my first visit to their new boutique. The Mosaic location, which opened in November, is their third retail outpost, the first outside of the District.
Like the others, the store is a tableau that speaks of a sophisticated lifestyle—global but modern, well-traveled and clean-lined. Not far from the aforementioned bed, a Turkish tulu rug is tossed casually across an upholstered mid-century-style settee from Hickory Chair, illustrating the couple’s knack for mixing and matching. Here, you browse for inspiration as much as for investment.
What Mia is to beds, Timothy is to floors—and, for that matter, walls, considering he is just as likely to suspend a rug from the ceiling as he is to lay it underneath furniture. A fine artist by training (he still occasionally paints pictures that hang in his downtown showrooms), he uses his eye for design to pair a carpet with a sofa the way most people match a shirt with a tie. From his travels abroad, he’s culled a purposefully edited selection of floor coverings that run the gamut from current-production, hand-woven Oriental rugs to antique, one-off specimens.
Design advice is something the Worrells dispense freely, interviewing clients to discern how they plan to use each furnishing, where it will be placed and what kind of wear it will have to endure. They also advocate rotating décor as an economical way to refresh a room. “Have a slipcover made for your orange sofa and then it’s beige in the summer; or pull up your pile carpet and put down a neutral flat weave and you have an entirely different look,” Timothy suggests. “Or change out your pillows; it’s easy to unzip a pillowcase, fold it up and put it in the closet.”
These are tricks he employs in his own home, he says—for example, using a piece of bound sisal to cover the bedroom floor but layering a smaller carpet at the foot of the bed, and switching it up with the seasons. If designing a whole house feels overwhelming, “start with one piece that you love,” he advises. “Focus on one room, then build from there.”
While the Worrells have cultivated a distinct style, they eschew trends in favor of designing a home, piece by piece, that narrates the story of a life. “Old things mixed in with new make for a great eclectic house,” Timothy says. He encourages customers to embrace pieces they’ve inherited, or to convert fabrics from their travels into pillows or table runners.
The store’s downtown workroom in Washington, D.C., offers design services that can transform such mementos into functional décor. “We repurpose everything,” Mia says, showing off a display pillow that had sustained an injury on the showroom floor (it’s since been punched-up with a band of intricate silk that both covers the gouge and turns the pillow into a bespoke accessory).
The one design faux pas they see most often? Not leaving enough in the budget to cover the walls and the floors.
“It’s like wearing an Armani suit with Birkenstocks,” Timothy says. “You have to budget for the whole look. Great artwork really helps make a house. We don’t sell art, but we can tell you where to go.”
Style columnist Adrienne Wichard-Edds aspires to rehabilitate her duvet-throwing ways. Know a great little shop that needs discovering? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.