Skynear is full of surprises. For starters, there is a real face (and let us mention, irrepressible personality, too) -- Lynn Skynear's -- behind this eponymous home furnishings store. While the shop has been an Adams Morgan fixture for going on 14 years, the owner is constantly rethinking her inventory.
Last year Skynear overhauled her street-level storage space to showcase reasonably priced lines of modern furniture, creating a haven for college students and recent grads looking for alternatives to Ikea. She carries several pieces of Danish-designed Panton Pop furniture known for its eye-popping colors (think bright red, orange and blue) and versatility. One piece, called appropriately the Phantom ($299), morphs into a chair, a table or a recliner. The line attracted such interest, Skynear opened another door to give access to people whose noses were pressed to the window.
Skynear and store manager Cecil King refer to the main and second floors of the town house as "a U.N. with attitude." Filled with armoires from Asia ($799 and up), shabby chic couches, Spanish Colonial, Polynesian, Italian and Mexican furniture and accessories, the showrooms have the ambiance of an eclectic living room. "Where else in this town can you find a carved wooden cross?" jokes Skynear.
Her most recent surprise shines on the third floor. Skynear converted the space once reserved for clearance items into what she has christened "the Apartment." Every piece must pass the test: Can it go up a narrow flight of stairs and fit into less than 500 square feet? Evidently the answer involves fashion and function.
A queen-size futon covered in red with black Chinese characters is paired with a Hover table (beech wood and pewter metal, $299). Spanning the bed, the latter is a huge but movable oblong tray. Most striking is the silver computer desk with frosted green glass ($499.99). Skynear addresses its coolness with a pair of bronze monkeys and an antique clock. She has brought outdoor planters into the living room and favors a three-piece sofa covered in chenille ($1,599). An armchair with a base of cut steel is upholstered in purple velvet ($599). All it wants is the Mad Hatter's arrival.
The Apartment embodies Skynear's philosophy about decorating with wit and wisdom. Anyone from a lobbyist to an online journalist could move right in.
-- Janet Bennett