It all added up to enough reasons for Mitchell and Tim to buy a loft in the District’s Meridian Hill neighborhood.
As you walk into their 1,850-square-foot, two-bedroom place, John Coltrane may be spinning moody jazz on their vintage turntable. The condo flows in a circle through the living room, balcony, dining area, kitchen and two bedrooms, one that serves as a den or guest room. The shag rugs, long black leather Chesterfield sofa, airport lounge chairs and track lighting give the place a retro feel.
Mitchell, who already had three residences, had to be convinced he needed a fourth home. But after they got married, he and Tim spent so much time staying in Washington hotels that they started looking at real estate.
“There was something about this place I loved,” Mitchell says. “Being able to see the park outside the front windows was huge. I love having views wherever I am. I’m a dreamer. ”
Of course the guy who co-owns a $100 million furniture business shops his own stores. In his D.C. home, you can spot the company’s Finley velvet dining banquette, the Yates winged platform bed with nailhead trim and the Winston brown-and-white cowhide bench ottoman.
But the loft is not a furniture showroom. It has a lot of one-of-a-kind furnishings, intriguing collections and mid-century modern touches. Mitchell and Tim ordered a set of vintage Christian Dior china from Replacements. They shopped favorite furniture dealers and markets in North Carolina, finding a 1960s Danish chrome chair in Greensboro and two 1930s English fold-out bars in Charlotte. They started collecting stopwatches and vintage lighters to display there. Large framed photographs taken by friend and client Tipper Gore were hung throughout the loft.
“This chunk of teak wood here in the corner is our natural touch,” says Tim, pointing out a sculptural piece of Thai wood he and Mitchell picked out at the last furniture market. “Mitchell and I are known for killing plants, even cactus.”
The Golds are always on the move. In North Carolina, their primary residence is a lakeside retreat near the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams factory in Taylorsville; they also have a 1950s ranch house in High Point. Then there’s the white, minimalist 58th-floor condo in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen.
The loft is yet another look. “This is more dramatic, sexier and moodier than our other places,” Mitchell says. “I really feel calm when I walk in here.”
Tim, 34, and Mitchell, 60, were introduced through mutual friends in New York four years ago. “I like to say he keeps me young,” says Tim. “He’s always online on his iPad, but I like to read books.” They married in June 2010 in Iowa, one of five states at that time that permitted same-sex marriages. “We liked the fact that it was in the heartland,” says Mitchell.
Mitchell and his business partner Bob Williams, who was once his partner in life, have run the company for 22 years. They design and produce home furnishings sold at retailers across the country and at 16 Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams stores. They do private-label designs for Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware, among others.
Mitchell also heads Faith in America, an advocacy organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Tim worked at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum for seven years as an exhibition specialist. Today, he is CEO of the Velvet Foundation, working to establish a national museum of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and culture.
Last February, they found the loft overlooking the terraces and fountains of Meridian Hill Park, a short walk from restaurants, shops and the local Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams store. The condo was pretty much blond and white with a bleached floor and light cabinets. They moved in June and have been accessorizing ever since.
Mitchell interviewed a few interior designers, but decided that longtime associate Williams was the perfect guy for the job.
“We all agreed that we liked the house in Tom Ford’s movie ‘A Single Man,’ ” recalls Mitchell. The movie takes place in 1960s Los Angeles.
The lichen-green glass tile in the kitchen was the initial inspiration for the color scheme. Persimmon became the second accent color. Williams replaced the pale floors with rich chestnut stained wood. He painted the kitchen cabinets a dark brown and dumped the granite counter and bar stool area. Instead, he installed a long narrow slab of Cesarstone and put in a stainless steel panel below, to create a place to set up cocktails or a buffet for a party. A round dining table with a curved banquette bench was placed to take advantage of the view. The den got a sleek sleeper sofa in a silver-and-white houndstooth print. In the bedroom, a mink-colored velvet was chosen for the platform bed.
How does it feel to live with someone who lives and breathes furniture? Tim says constant change is part of the deal. “You can come home and a chair will be missing or suddenly pillows turn up where there were none. But it always ends up looking better.”
Meanwhile, the Golds have been to the White House for a few receptions and have chatted up President Obama about the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture in the private residence upstairs.
Mitchell says, “When I met the president there for the first time, I mentioned that our things were in the private quarters and he asked which ones.” Mitchell explained it was the Dr. Pitt sectional sofa and an upholstered swivel chair (now discontinued) that was called the Michelle. “He told me that was one of the chairs he sits in the most.”