Top-quality bed linens are a costly investment. And while fine sheets, duvets, pillows and more can be had off the department store shelf, local bedding shops offer personalized service and exclusive products—often imported—that bring a higher profile to the boudoir. Below, we uncover five places where you can shop for a good night’s sleep.
Abrielle Fine Linens
Word has it that Washington’s “elite” purchases bedding from Abrielle. A mainstay for 25 years, the shop is located in an unassuming Northwest DC office building otherwise known for its sought-after medical specialists. While the assured foot traffic that results from this proximity is a plus, Abrielle does not rely on it for sustenance: A rarified repeat clientele is what makes the difference.
“People want personal attention,” observes owner Ann Sullivan. It isn’t uncommon for a customer to come in, spend a few hours with Sullivan and her knowledgeable staff, and leave with enough linens for an entire home—and a vacation house.
“A lot of what we offer is exclusivity,” says Sullivan, who is the sole Washington, DC, distributor for Hamburg House, an Italian manufacturer that custom embroiders bedding, towels and more. “It’s a challenge to find things that others don’t have.”
A wide-ranging selection of merchandise runs the gamut from pre-washed, pre-shrunk Portuguese matelasse bedspreads to opulent 1,000-thread count sheets with lace trim. “We sell beautiful necessities,” Sullivan says. “Our merchandise is made for gracious living.”
3301 New Mexico Avenue, NW, Suite 118, Washington, DC; 202-364-6118.
Tucked into the second floor of a quaint, clapboard building, Valerianne has been proffering luxurious linens for two years now. Owner Aimee Wedlake grew up amongst fine fabrics in her mother’s bedding store in Arizona; now she uses her expertise to educate customers in her own shop. “We make sure this is a tactile experience,” she says. “We take all the sheets out of their packaging so customers really understand what they’re getting.”
While Valerianne carries some familiar labels, Wedlake emphasizes that her store is not “brand-driven.” She helps customers make their choices based on questions of personal preference, such as how they sleep and how they like their sheets to drape across them. “Bedding is personal,” she explains.
Wedlake also brings home new products and lives with them so she can vouch for them in her store. “Bedding should be functional as well as beautiful,” she says, “so everything is washable and made with natural materials.”
Once a purchase has been made,Valerianne provides in-home services that include measuring, steaming the sheets, then showing the customer how to properly make the bed and care for their purchase. “Fine bedding is an investment,” Wedlake says. “It will last a long time.”
111 Church Street, NW, Suite 201, Vienna, VA; 703-242-1790. valerianne.com
Timothy Paul Bedding & Home
Three years ago, this store joined its partner, Timothy Paul Carpets, in the trendy 14th Street Corridor of DC and quickly became part of the downtown design scene. Owned and run by Timothy Paul Worrell and his wife, Mia Worrell, Timothy Paul Bedding & Home offers high-end linens amidst custom furniture finds.
Sferra, Lulu DK Matouk and John Robshaw are among the store’s best-known luxury bedding names, but Timothy Paul also tries to find small, up-and-coming vendors. The store offers samples and sample books from the manufacturers to give customers an idea of what they’re looking at. “We ask people how they live,” he says. “We don’t want them making a big investment that might not suit their lifestyle.”
In keeping with the community orientation of the store, there’s always a bedroom vignette on display created by a local designer, generally showcasing bed linens from the store. In the past, designers Joe Ireland, Lisa Vandenburgh and Lori Graham have created window displays, and a display by Darryl Carter is coming soon. As Worrell explains it, being part the community “is good for everyone.”
1529A 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC; 202-234-2020. timothy paulbedding.com
One of a series of high-end boutiques in Bethesda’s Wildwood Shopping Center, the venerable linen and bedding company Yves Delorme evokes the spirit of an opulent French mansion. Bedroom, dining room and living room vignettes reflect the company’s recent partnership with French interior decor company, Mis en Demeure, by combining Yves Delorme’s signature luxury textiles with lighting, furnishings and accessories. “We’re creating a home environment for shopping,” explains store manager Kathy Robertson.
Yves Delorme is headquartered in Lille—the heart of France’s textile industry—where it has been manufacturing luxurious bed, bath and table products since 1845. Today, the company’s textiles are all made from natural fibers, including its delicate Egyptian cotton bed linens, washable silks, colorful sateen sheets and Jacquard-woven designs. Bedding comes in “a wide selection of styles and sizes that can be customized,” says Robertson.
Yves Delorme carries hypoallergenic, organic cotton mattresses from Royal-Pedic, white European goose down duvets and pillows with natural fillers surrounded by Egyptian cotton ticking. The company also offers hypoallergenic comforters and pillows made with hollow, polyester-fiber fillers that are encased in cotton satin. According to Robertson, each item comes with customer care information. “When you’re dealing with better quality cottons,” she says, “they will last longer. But they need good care.”
10301A Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD. Other area locations include Cady’s Alley in Georgetown, Baltimore, Richmond and Annapolis. 301-897-5009. yvesdelorme.com
Emissary Fine Linens
For Lynn Sladkin, it all started with a desire to buy and sell beautiful things. “I love linens,” she says of her choice to open Emissary Fine Linens, a boutique that sells luxury textiles for bed, bath, table and more. “And I really liked the location.” Tucked into the upscale Mazza Gallerie in DC’s Friendship Heights neighborhood, Emissary has been open for 12 years; after the first two years, Sladkin added a second store in Tysons Galleria.
The two stores carry similar merchandise with slight differences that reflect the clientele in each area. The Mazza Gallerie tends to attract “a more local customer with older money and more understated style,” Sladkin says. By contrast, “Tysons customers are younger, more flamboyant and less locally based.”
Both stores offer bed linens by—among others—Sferra, Matouk and SDH. Emissary is the exclusive dealer in the DC area for Pratesi—a company whose sumptuous bedding collection includes sheets that were designed by Coco Chanel. Down for duvets, comforters and pillows is imported from Hungary and Siberia and made locally. Emissary has its own workroom in which monograms and embroidered designs are added to custom bedding orders.
While clientele differs between stores, Emissary’s goals are the same for each location: “Good service,” sums up Sladkin. “If the people who shop with us are happy, then I am happy.”
Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, and at Tysons Galleria. 202-363-1760. emissarylinens.com