Pillar & Post: British Outpost on Wisconsin

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Judith and Daphna Peled. Courtesy Pillar & Post.

About Georgetown, where she went to law school and has lived ever since, Daphna Peled says, “It’s hard to find a more Brit-similar town.”

Though not British herself — she was born in Israel and grew up in the U.S. — the owner of Pillar & Post, a new home-decor shop on Wisconsin Avenue, has reason to know. Her parents moved to England in 1995 for her father’s work and Peled visited them there frequently.

“I would always bring back things for myself,” she says. But here in the States, few were as hooked on the aesthetic as she was. “British products, yes. Design, no,” Peled recalls. “For a long time, people weren’t interested in brown furniture. Now people are mixing more.”

At Pillar & Post, mother and daughter Judith and Daphna Peled are all about mixing. While the furniture the store sells is antique, the gifts and accessories — hard if not impossible to find elsewhere this side of the pond — are contemporary.

Pillar & Post opened as a pop-up in April during the Georgetown French Market. The official opening — at 1647 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Sherman Pickey’s former space — followed in June. For Peled, things had moved quickly. She left her job of eight years lobbying for NCTA – The Internet & Television Association (formerly the National Cable and Telecommunications Association) last fall and made her first buying trip to England in January.

“It was a real big leap of faith,” she says. One factor was her wanting a more flexible schedule for family reasons. Her son will turn 3 in September and her parents now live a few blocks away in Georgetown. Peled was also considering the likely post-election environment. “I feel so lucky to not be in politics at this time,” she says.

Though it was a somewhat drastic career move for Peled, parts of her background carried over. Her legal training came in handy dealing with agencies such as the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Old Georgetown Board (it took a while to get her sign up). As for the customer-service side of retail: “I will say some of the lobbying skills transferred.” She also got helpful advice from Wisconsin Avenue neighbor Marston Luce and from Loi Thai at Tone on Tone in Bethesda.

Peled made her second buying trip in April. Her next is timed to coincide with the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in London’s Battersea Park, running Oct. 3 to 8. Accompanied on buying trips by her mother or her husband, she travels to towns outside of London by train, making a point to visit the antiques center of Tetbury in the Cotswolds. 

“I always expect to run into a hitch,” says Peled. But so far — other than having a few items break in transit — things have gone smoothly, with the shop getting a positive early response from Georgetowners and area decorators.

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