• Cecile Corral

Timothy Paul Home hits the 'burbs with new total concept store

Washington - Well versed now in uptown urban décor preferences with a pair of shops in the city, co-owners Timothy and Mia Worrell are venturing into the region's burgeoning suburbs to bring their tony taste to a new clientele.

The married couple, both of whom worked in interior design and home furnishings earlier in their careers, have owned and operated the Timothy Paul Rugs shop in D.C. for the past 10 years and the Timothy Paul Bedding boutique in Georgetown for five. In mid November, they opened their third store in Merrifield, Va., which is in Fairfax County.

As its all-encompassing name suggests, Timothy Paul Carpets, Bedding + Home features all the products offered in the other two stores as well as several new lines of upholstery and case goods.

"With this new store, I'm not cannibalizing my customer base," noted Timothy Worrell, who spent the first part of his career working in the high-end handmade area rug business. His wife Mia worked in upscale fabrics and furniture. "These will all be new customers for us."

Located about 12 miles from its city-based sister stores, the new site is nestled in the Mosiac District, "in the heart of the exploding Northern Virginia suburbs, in an upscale neighborhood," he said. Its 4,200-square-foot space is in a town mall and shares company with other high-end boutiques such as cosmetics and jewelry shops but also with larger anchor stores like Anthropologie and Last Call by Neiman Marcus.
"We are combining both of our store business models [rugs and bedding] in one here in our new location," explained Worrell. "We've integrated both concepts under one roof, because as our client list grows we are asked for more new things, so [this new store] moves us down the line toward that."

The couple's original store, Timothy Paul Carpets + Textiles, opened in 2002 in a 2,000-square-foot space on 14th Street NW, as a decorative rugs and textiles showroom. Since then, it has served a range of clients, including designers, decorators and architects with its unique collections of hand-woven soft floor coverings as well as newer more affordable pieces, including some hand-tufted rugs and others made of natural fibers.

"We got a small government loan and used some of our savings for the first store," Worrell recalled. "We had one employee. And we co-mingled old things like suzanis and ikats and Central Asian textiles and fragments with some new things to give the showroom a different look."

Then they set up their own workroom.

"We found our own cut-and-sew person, and now we have two ladies who work with us to custom make products, such as decorative pillows from rugs and rug fragments."

In 2008, the Worrells decided to expand their product scope and opened their second store. One block from their rug showroom, Timothy Paul Bedding + Home, which measures 1,400 square feet, specializes in fine bed linens, decorative pillows, vintage objects and other one-of-a-kind home accessories -- all with the same aesthetic as the first store.

The Worrells are incorporating that same approach to their new unit.

The merchandise mix there includes bedding and bath as well as table linens and accessory pieces like decorative pillows and throws, and hand-crafted rugs. Products will come from the company's existing roster of bedding and bath vendors and brands, including Sferra, Matouk, area, John Robshaw, Peacock Alley, Brahms Mount, Matteo Linens, and Libeco Lagae. New to this store are table linens, a selection that will include several brands such as Sferra, John Robshaw, and Chilewich.
Price points will also mirror the city stores, ranging from $300 to $1,000 for sheets, for example.

But since the new store has been open less than two months, customers' taste preferences "are yet to be determined," and tests are underway to find the right mix for the new market, explained Mia Backman Worrell, who handles linens procurement and merchandising and manages sales of that segment.

"Affecting choices will be the sizes and numbers of rooms, family size, and lifestyle," she said. "While the same questions apply in the DC store, the answers vary greatly. Catering to the needs of the suburban family and the urban cosmopolitan present vastly different challenges, both interesting and compelling, [for us]."

By comparison, she describes her core client base at the Georgetown bedding store as "well traveled...many of whom have lived abroad" and they shop her store for its "mix of luxurious sheets, funky pillows and throws." Sales associates work with customers to achieve the "perfect" bed, she continued, which she described as "a combination of beauty, comfort, and practicality."

Aside from a range of luxury home textiles products, the Worrells also offer several services, including interior design and décor consultations - which they plan to extend in their new store, which will have an interior design department with a design consultant on staff.

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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