Champagne flowed freely and attractive designer-types mingled effortlessly around the corner at the opening of RCKNDY (pronounced “rock candy”) last night. For several months, the neighbors and I had been scratching our heads over what would become of the vacant space in the middle of the block on U Street between 15th and 16th Streets. A couple of weeks ago, when a crisp window covering with the words “RCKNDY" and "coming in June 2007” in a minimalist mid-centuryish motif covered the display windows from floor to ceiling, blocking any view of the inside, the suspense became unbearable. This weekend it ended.
The smart window papering, it turns out, was a glimpse of things to come. The space inside, which is triangular in the back and bathed in natural light despite being on the first floor and surrounded by taller structures, was opened up and made inviting by several sitting areas and accent walls that complement and reinforce the candy pink and umber motif. What’s extra nice is that the renovator/designer took advantage of the original, unusually shaped structure, rather than dividing it into smaller rooms, as is being done to so many of our neighborhood interiors.
RCKNDY sells home and office furnishings attuned to urban spaces. Items I liked most were: a casual couch in a linen-y umber-colored upholstery that would look great in a room with a steelblue accent wall; a bevy of wall clocks on one wall; Phillipe Starcke-ish, duochromatic printed bed linens; candelabra made of two translucently-colored plexiglass plates; fruit bowls woven out of a tropical, textured, multi-hued wood; and a patchwork rug of black and white cow hides. The attention grabber when you first walk in, though, is the extensive display of Alessi household gadgets (pictured above), which are works of art and seem to be accessible only in museum gift shops. Rest assured, you now can save yourself the hassle of waiting in line at the crowded Met store or hauling in your luggage the Anna G. Corkscrew you picked up on Lincoln Road.
1515 U Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009