UPDATE: This story was originally published on October 17.
If you've ever wandered into U Street's GoodWood, you know it's like falling down a rabbit hole. The store's impossibly cozy, Old World ambiance draws you in, while seemingly endless vignettes of salvaged furniture and curiosities — beaded African mirrors, an ice-chest-turned-credenza, large-scale portraiture, velvet tufted daybeds — keep you turning corners and exploring the relatively small space for hours.
Inventory aside, the highlight of any GoodWood experience is running into Dan and Anna Kahoe, the husband-and-wife proprietors whose "come in and stay a while" personalities make a shopping trip feel like a visit to a friend's amazing home. On any given day, you might find Dan explaining how he rehabbed a chest to showcase its bones, or Anna discussing the history behind a chain-link coffee table — yeah, it's more of an experience than a shopping trip.
Not surprisingly, the duo's love of design and hospitality extends well beyond work. Their private home is every bit the warm, inviting, dramatic dwelling you'd expect from the owners of GoodWood — but way
better than you could ever imagine. We got an exclusive tour of their newly reno'ed pad
, an 1887 carriage house completely redone to suit the couple's unique aesthetic. It's tricked out with collected pieces from all over the world (textiles from Turkey, pillows from Morocco, pottery from Spain) and custom touches, such as a chevron-stripe painted floor and a massive salvaged-wood dining table for communal suppers with friends. So, sit back, relax, and prepare yourself for some extreme house envy.
Photographed by Nicole Crowder
GoodWood is a mecca for D.C. design lovers — tell us the story behind it.
"We have owned and operated GoodWood for about nine years. We bought it as an existing business that focused wholly on 19th-century American antiques; the shop was smaller and the customer base was closer. GoodWood had, and still has, a reputation for bringing great pieces at great prices in a warm, inviting environment. In the nine years we have owned and operated [it], we have seen the neighborhood, the building, and our customer base change in some dynamic ways. We try to embrace the change [and] meet the challenges, while still offering what this shop has always been known for — great pieces and good prices."
Dan and Anna perch in their open kitchen. Their Blagden Alley carriage house renovation took one year from start to finish.
Have you always been into interiors? Why is this your passion?
"I have always been into old and beautiful things; I think this is true for Dan, as well. I am not sure how this came to be with Dan, but for me, I owe it all to my Spanish mother and early trips to Spain; time in antique shops in Kensington, Maryland; and tons of time in the thrift shops. Also, old movies. I think I yearned for something more visually special, something with a touch of nostalgia. I wanted to paint for myself a different picture than the one I lived, and antiques, Spain, Marilyn Monroe, [and] James Dean were the visual cues I was drawn to.
"All the places I've lived have had a style, a point of view, and a sense of atmosphere — from the squirrel-infested Kalorama attic where my clothes were hung out in the open on exposed plumbing pipe, to the carriage house where we live now. I have to give Jerry Copeland of Old School Interiors a huge nod for helping me hone my interior skills — he has one of the best eyes in D.C. and can turn anyone's style into taste."
The large-scale oil painting upstairs is quite impressive. What's the story behind it?
"We moved into the carriage house on my birthday, and believe me — I wasn't expecting any gifts, as we sold everything we owned so we could take on the renovation. And then Dan shows up with a giant oil on canvas of a sad but strong woman boldly upfront in the painting. The significance is that that is how I felt. Like we were on a big new adventure. Maybe that's why I like renovating — I feel like the woman in the painting."
Dan, who does the buying for GoodWood, landed the impressive Chesterfield sofa at an auction in Pennsylvania. The chain-link coffee table is from John Evans, who sells at the Georgetown Flea Market.
How would you describe your personal style?
"I like beautiful, old, otherworldly things. I like glamour mixed with oddity. I love rich color, strong graphics, and a layered look. Imagine Freud's office with a touch of Harlow's dressing room."
What is your favorite part about owning GoodWood?
"Without a doubt, meeting cool people. GoodWood has brought the loveliest people into our lives, including my godson, Henry Brocket Mills."
Before the carriage house, you lived in the historic Louise Hand Laundry Loft — a facility famous for doing the White House laundry from the Roosevelt to the Kennedy administrations. How did you find each place?
"Louise Hand Laundry, aka LHL, I walked by with my friend Matt about 20 years ago and said, 'Is that a house? I would love to live there.' Then, when we had some friends (those cool people we meet at GoodWood) over for a porch party, I told my friend Josh I was looking for something impossible — an industrial space in a neighborhood with outdoor space and maybe a rental component. He said, 'I know this lady in our Atlanta office whose nephew has a place like that.' [Editor's note: The place was the Louise Hand Laundry she'd fallen in love with years earlier.]
"You know, nothing is better than connecting with people — not even the Internet could have worked that fast or that beautifully. Matt, who is now a realtor, approached the owner, who wanted to sell but had not yet listed the property, and we basically stalked that building and used every resource we could get our hands on to secure and renovate [it]. The carriage house is almost the exact story, with a much shorter timeline. We walked by with Matt on a Sunday after dinner at the LHL, and after admiring this funky space for two years, the For Sale sign went up that very Sunday. I made Matt log onto MLS [a real estate portal] that night for details, and we almost lost the building a few times to other interested parties. But in the end, again using every resource, we secured that building and just finished renovating it."
Avid entertainers, the couple had a chestnut dining table custom built to fit 14 guests.
How many homes have you renovated in D.C.? What do you enjoy about the process of rehabilitating old places?
"We have renovated five properties in D.C. We enjoy the process because we are insane. Mostly, we can't help ourselves. The usual M.O. is that there is a property we walk by and fall in love with, dream of owning, dream of rescuing, dream of throwing a party in. Then, we have to figure out the financing, which is the only time in my life I can do math. Then, we live like gypsies for a year; then, it's finished; and then, we start walking again."
Fill in the blanks: "If Dan and I weren't the owners of GoodWood, we'd ___ because ___."
"We'd have a neighborhood restaurant on the perfect corner with a black-and-white awning-covered patio. It would seat 45 people and have a brass-railed bar and a dusty bottle of Galliano, because that's just the kind of place we'd like to hang out, but it doesn't exist. And, of course, our thing is to paint a picture to create a setting where people can enjoy themselves."
What was your vision for the carriage house renovation?
"The instant I walked into the carriage house on the ground floor, I knew it should be a kitchen. It reminded me of the wine cellar my uncle in Spain had, and also it reminded of the kitchen in Villa Moroc where we stayed when we honeymooned in Morocco. I wanted a dark, cozy feel, where you felt like you were eating in the kitchen — not a great room, but an actual kitchen. As for upstairs, our vision was less defined. In the end, I thought in all the places we lived, it seemed that we only ever used the kitchen and the bedroom, so why not have a bedroom upstairs? I also see the bedroom as bright, crisp, and more of private space, and the kitchen as dark, with a tight graphic, [and it] would be a shared space."
Your store is known for attainable price points. For people on a budget, what are the three most important things to have in a home?
"Get a great chest of drawers, like an empire chest of drawers. You can keep this with you always. They work in dining rooms, living rooms, hall entrances. They look good with modern and eclectic styles. Lighting — lots of lamps. And mirrors."
In addition to the open kitchen, the downstairs level houses a sultry lounge area, where friends can help themselves to a drink at the bar and recline on floor pillows Anna picked up in Morocco.
What is the single craziest item you've ever found for the store?
"Okay, the craziest thing is a Fiji mermaid mummy that was used to sell the freak show of a Baltimore carnival. We no longer have 'mermie,' but she is in a good home in Boston. Someone made us an offer we couldn't refuse."
The Farrow & Ball wallpaper is hand-blocked and shipped from England.
Where are some of your favorite places to find amazing furniture and decor?
"There are amazing things everywhere. Yard sales, estate sales, your mother's house. The thing is, you don't know they are amazing. Develop your eye, and you won't have to go far. Of course, I love a good textile from a foreign country like Turkey!" [Editor's note: Anna sent us her answers from Turkey, where she and Dan were traveling. Le sigh.]
What do you love about living in D.C.?
"Everything — it's my hometown. I love D.C. People have a lot of complaints about it — [such as,] we are stuffy and unfashionable — and I don't see that at all. I see creative people everywhere making something happen, and, you know, some of those stuffy types just look that way. They are fun and support the arts like crazy, because they are super turned on about our town's creative peeps. [Also] food — lots of good food arriving here — farmers markets, and free museums."
Has there been a defining moment over the course of your years with GoodWood? A moment you realized you're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing?
"I knew we were in the right business when I bought the classic quilted Chanel bag for $10 at an auction in a barn filled with toothless men."
No party-ready home is complete without a space for making your own cocktails, and the Kahoes' bar setup is simple but elegant.
What is your favorite "hack" for making a home feel pulled-together?
"Interesting paint scheme, crazy-big mirror, textiles."
What is your single favorite element of the home and why?
"The chevron-painted floor, because it is a dynamic, [economical] way to dress up the plywood flooring we were dealt."
What is yours and Dan's ideal evening?
"We love having people at our house. Simple, good food; great cocktails; my favorite tunes. Because we are in Turkey, I have to say a meal in a foreign city with old friends is pretty spectacular, too. Also, if you can score an invite to Jerry Copeland's house for dinner or drinks, you have a great evening."
What's next for you two?
"Really, who knows? I want to travel more and bring those experiences to our home base. I would love to have a lingerie shop or a millinery. I know for sure that we are going to bring great emerging chefs to our Blagden Alley carriage house and invite 14 diners, and see what happens. To quote my mentor, 'It's atomspherics, baby.'"
Any significance to the Marilyn artwork above your bed?
"So, I was one of those odd teenage girls who idolized Marilyn, and my friend gave me a copy of a book of her last photos called The Last Sitting. They were by Bert Stern and they were shot for a Vogue spread. About 15 years later, Dan and I were at Georgetown Flea Market and we found the [art] piece with Mr. Stern's signature. I once tried to sell the book at a yard sale but I'm glad I didn't, as the book is rare and collectible, and now I have both pieces. I remember reading in the book that when Bert Stern was a young man, he liked perfect beauty, but as he matured, he came to appreciate imperfections. As a teenager, this gave me great hope."
The red bed frame is the only piece of new furniture the couple owns, and they purchased it off the showroom floor at the DC Design Center. Anna likes that it reminds her of the circus.
A fan of retro glamour and stunning packaging, Anna's dressing table boasts beauty products decanted into chic vessels.
Along with a covetable collection of Bakelite bracelets and vintage cocktail rings, Anna's footwear selection is solid — and artfully arranged, natch.
How did you and Dan meet? Did you always know you'd be business partners or did that come later?
"Okay, this is totally embarrassing and I usually just say 'in a bar,' but the truth is, we met at Tom Tom in Adams Morgan 19 years ago. Tom Tom had just opened, and he was there with his roommate and I was there with my roommate Rachel and my friend Matt. It's funny that you ask, because I think from the very beginning, we talked about different businesses. I remember at that point, The Raven in Mount Pleasant was for sale, and we talked about buying that and running it. Instead, we bought our first house on Mozart Place, which was our first project in real estate and renovating, and in some ways, the beginning of the partnership or working-together component of our relationship."
Go ahead, admit it: Cutest. Couple. Ever.