Editors' pick

Home Rule

Home Rule embraces the future by serving as a Bed, Bath & Beyond for the young urban set.
Mon-Sat 11 am-7 pm; Sun noon-5:30 pm
(U Street/Cardozo)
U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo (Green Line)
202-797-5544
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Editorial Review

In between a thrift store and a Spanish market on 14th Street sits home-furnishings purveyor Home Rule. When Greg Link bought the location in 1998, glass shattered during the 1968 riots still lay behind the boarded-up storefront. But rather than erase the past, Link decided to memorialize it by using the multicolored bits of broken glass left from former occupant Quick Electric to form a mosaic on the store's front counter.

While keeping the past in mind, Home Rule embraces the future by serving as a Bed, Bath & Beyond for the young urban set that prefers not to schlepp to the suburbs. Home Rule makes any trip worth the effort by stocking gear for almost every room of the house, all squeezed into a 1,000-square-foot space.

Six different types (coir, coconut fiber or rubber) of welcome mats share space with modern stainless-steel flatware and minimalist desk-organizing tools (pens and pencil holders and push pins). There are clothes pins shaped like sharks (50 cents each) and everything you'll need to make the perfect martini: shakers, pitchers, ice buckets.

Galvanized steel and green, orange, yellow and blue plastic watering cans do indoor and outdoor duty, as do chrome and plastic tables and chairs, fly swatters and lunch-counter-style mustard and ketchup squeeze bottles.

At Home Rule, household items must be fun, functional and well designed. Link says that the store used to carry $5 plastic laundry baskets, which went unsold. But when he introduced $35 chrome baskets, they sold like hot cakes. "People want something with pizzazz. They don't want the ordinary." And this theory translates to the entire store.

The Milk Box, a pastel-colored pitcher, holds either a pint or half-gallon and ensures that milk spills and leaks are a thing of the past, while a cedar broom named Fresh Sweep gets rids of dirt and dust while smelling good at the same time.

Buy a toilet plunger here, and you don't even have to hide it. In fact, Coronet's Oscar (so named because of its handle that's shaped like the award) is so attractive, you might actually want to display it. The same goes for Koziol's brightly hued and animated scrub brushes that are as good as adornments for your kitchen sink. Finally, frequent travelers can take a little bit of home with them on the road with Japanese-designed toothbrush holders shaped like geckos and frogs with tiny feet that suction to the bathroom mirror.

--Susan Breitkopf