Contemporaria was created as a result of the love and appreciation for architecture and contemporary design by its owner, Peruvian born architect, Deborah Kalkstein. Kalkstein always envisioned a furniture store that would showcase the latest in contemporary design. After several years of running her own interior design firm, Kalkstein became more and more frustrated with the lack of contemporary sources in the DC area. She had a strong desire to expose people to good design. Taking advantage of her already strong connections with owners and designers from some of the leading manufacturers of contemporary European furniture, Kalkstein decided to open Contemporaria
Contemporaria is a full service design firm and showroom which sets it apart from other retailers.
The store opened its doors in 1999 in an old printing plant that was approximately 2500 sq. ft. in the heart of Bethesda. With concrete floors and tall white walls, Kalkstein filled the space with some of the most important names in the world of contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories from companies such as Minotti, Cappellini, MDF, Flos, Foscarini, Ingo Maurer, Kartell, and Paola Lenti to name a few.
The recognition came fast, with immediate writings in the most prestigious magazines and newspapers in the area, Washington post, Washington flyer, Washingtonian, and Spaces magazine amongst others. In 2001 when the space next door became available, Contemporaria grew to double its original size with an enclosed courtyard showcasing outdoor furniture. The store became very involved in art openings and architectural lectures, showcasing the most important names in contemporary architecture in DC such as Mark McInturff, David Jameson, Sophie Prevost and Robert Cole, and Robert Gurney.
In 2003 when Anthony Lanier developed Cady's Alley as a location for upscale and contemporary objects, art, furniture, clothiers, and restaurants, Kalkstein decided it was time to become part of the prominent group that would create the contemporary furniture district of the DC area.
Kalkstein opened Contemporaria Georgetown in 2004 and closed the Bethesda location soon after. With almost 4000 sq. ft. of showroom space open to the public, Contemporaria exposes consumers to good design. Now offering a complete range of services from interior design and interior architecture to remodeling and construction, Contemporaria is a one stop shop for all your design needs.
Out of respect for the purity of design, and the respect for our clients, Contemporaria is committed to creating environments that will affect people's lives and bring them most relevant items in contemporary design. We aspire to share this philosophy through our special events program with the community that surrounds us.