03 April 2007

Ruff & Deadly?

As seen on 2april07: Ruff & Ready, that marvelous old antique and junk shop, has been condemned by the city as an unsafe structure...but what will become of all the goodies? There's a universe of groovy stuff in there.

It was a magnificent shop, and countless hipsters have decorated their apartments from this place. I've scored a few items there myself: ancient apothecary bottles, bizarre framed art, and a freakish, grimacing African figurine with wiggling eyeballs. Those with lots of time to kill could wander through the store to the alley exit, where a completely separate shop awaited. In the neighboring building, stacked twelve feet deep were more treasures for sale: taxidermied deer-leg lamps, full-size traffic stop-lights, victorian bedside tables, lawn jockeys, intensely ornate hardwood artifacts liberated from some Catholic church somewhere...

I had browsed at Ruff & Ready several times before I ever discovered the basement. There again, another universe of things one can't live without. Marian found some oddball furniture thing down there a while back; I've forgotten whatever the hell it was already, and it doesn't matter really. it was all great. Particularly if you weren't allergic to mold.

Also: Behind those musty stacks of basement treasures was evidence of some long-dead Victorian-age industry: huge rusted wheels affixed to the walls down there. Were they grinding grain down there a hundred years ago? Or something?

Clearly, the building has history. It's roots run deep, and Ruff & Ready Furnishings has contributed quite a lot to the unique flavor to the neighborhood around 14th and U Streets. Here's hoping there's new life in all that insane, magical junk and the folks who sold it...

UPDATE, 4APRIL: The whole thing was a bloody false alarm. As this DCist comment by Monkeyboy reveals, a deranged call to the city claimed the building was teetering on the brink of collapse. This resulted in typical evacuation proceedings, police tape, etc... While it's true that the building isn't in the best of shape, it aint dead yet. And we hipsters get to keep our beloved junk shop. Saints be praised.

1 comment:

XMP said...

hilarious. my mom is best friends with Bill from R&R, and she used to take me down there (and to Weschlers, across from FBI bldg on E st.) since I was a little kid. That adjoining building in the back was the secret stash! But I've never been down to the basement. I tend to believe that place is haunted, from the sheer amount of creepy dead peoples' things to the antiquity of the building itself. Many many stories!