Growing up in Peru, Deborah Kalkstein was inspired by an uncle who was an architect. He would show her drawings and take her to visit his construction sites. “To see something come to life, from an idea on paper to reality, is a pretty spectacular thing,” Kalkstein observes. “Design and architecture have allowed me to do that.“

Kalkstein launched Contemporaria in a Bethesda printing studio in 1999, moving to a showroom in Cady’s Alley five years later. She recently moved her Georgetown location to a 100-year-old house in Potomac, where she and her colleague, Hayley Hartner, still work with top, mostly European contemporary-furniture companies and ply their expertise on remodeling and design projects.

“We’ve created a strong bond with our manufacturers over 21 years working together and we are able to pass it on to our clients,” Kalkstein notes. “We offer complete design services—from selling the perfect sofa to remodeling whole homes including bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor spaces.” The team has long-term relationships with construction crews in Maryland, Virginia and DC “who share our eye for design, aesthetics and detail,” says Kalkstein.

Projects by Kalkstein have been featured in numerous regional publications; Contemporaria has been included on Washingtonian’s “Best Of” list for several years running.