The Washington, D.C., design revolution began at Apartment Zero on 7th Street, with its funky "Let's pretend this is a home" style that almost shouts "Get your Alvar Aalto vases here!" That movement is bound to succeed now that women like Jenny Pedersen and Deborah Kalkstein have joined the good fight. Vega, Pedersen's curvaceous, off-white, feng-shui-ed showroom, continues the brightening of 7th Street, with tableware and furniture in natural materials (sisal, cashmere, resin, concrete) and graphic shapes: orange and navy woven felt table mats from Hey Sign in Germany; a blown glass and wood table from Ochre in London. "Texture is the new color," Pedersen declares. Meanwhile, Peruvian native Kalkstein has taken on the conservative environs of Bethesda, Maryland. At her loftlike Contemporaria, blond-wood tables from Riva 1920 and Former are among the Italian exclusives; then there's sculptural steel flatware by Mono from Germany and Canadian Martha Sturdy's supercool cast resin and brass dining accessories. Aesthetically speaking, Williamsburg, Virginia, can look forward to becoming as hip (maybe) as Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Apartment Zero, 406 7th St. NW, 202-628-4067; Vega, 819 7th St., 202-589-0140; Contemporaria, 4926 Del Ray Ave., 301-913- 9602).
--Kate Sekules