Everything in Sanabria & Co The Shop (409 E. Capitol St. SE) matches, laid out in a neutral color palette. The interior of The Shop looks like a cozy receiving room, highlighted with items accumulated by a discerning, but restrained, collector: local honey atop a found-wood table; linens nestled in baskets; cinnamon-colored throw-pillows on a modern armchair upholstered in cream-colored wool.
All of it, from dinnerware and candles to linen and carpets, are sourced along the principles of environmentalism and fair-trade in support of small businesses. There are brand-new locally-sourced beeswax candles and vintage throw rugs. Every item is carefully curated to honor the architecture of Capitol Hill homes.
Owner Melissa Sanabria is very familiar with those spaces. In 2017, she decided to leave her 15-year career in the banking industry, where she created statistical models to detect potential money-laundrying behavior. She established interior design company Sanabria & Co. in 2018.
Sanabria and her family live on the Hill, but her banking clients were located throughout the country. “I wanted to know people here, and really be part of their community.”
But she didn’t just leave her job on the spur of the moment. She researched and planned, beginning work with a career coach and saving money for her dream in 2013. The planning has paid off in multiple ways.
“This is what I should always have been doing,” Sanabria said. “What I was really missing was connecting with the community.”
She started responding to people who needed help with projects on parenting list servs; the projects got bigger and bigger and more and more came in over the years. In the four years since establishing her company, Sanabria & Co have made her mark on the Hill community, starting in their most intimate spaces: their homes.
She and her team of 7 have helped redesign every part of multiple Hill abodes —from first-floor powder rooms and third-floor children’s bedrooms to rear additions and whole home renovations.
But, in the back of her mind, she’d always thought some day they might have a retail shop.
When the rapidly-expanding interior design team moved into a larger studio space at 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE last year, Sanabria seized the opportunity to make the retail part of her vision a reality. “I thought, why not just do it now?” she said. “I was asking myself, ‘am I waiting for permission from someone?'” So, she said, she gave it to herself.
Being invited to reimagine Capitol Hill living spaces has given Sanabria a sense of what fits in our unique row- and town-houses. She means both what ‘fits’ and what is ‘fitting’, both in terms of the small footprint of the vintage rugs and wool covered armchairs available in-store as well as the colors that enhance the modern uses of a historic home.
“Sanabria & Co. The Shop is a much needed addition to the Capitol Hill neighborhood,” Sanabria said in a release. “We’ve all been doing so much online shopping, I wanted to create a place where people can experience the merchandise, connect, and get inspired.”
The Shop is a place for neighbors to visit with one another, and with Sanabria & Co staff. Clients can tap interior design knowledge without engaging the studio for a project. All items in-store are things the design team buys for clients. Visitors to The Shop can get the design experience, with advice on which of the curated selection of pieces set off a room —or one another. In the future, Sanabria also plans to host workshops, trunk shows and feature local makers and artists.
The shop has many ideas, big and small, that would be perfect for seasonal gifting. Each item is part of a family, Sanabria adds, suited to be paired with other items; a Jungle and Loom plant with Jaipur Living pot and the Wild at Home coffee table book; the fair and simple throw pillow with a vegan taper from Frères Branchiaux Candle Co. with a Cultiver linen blanket.
Sanabria & Co is open Thursdays, 10 to 6 | Fridays and Saturdays, 10 to 7 | Sundays 11 to 6 (including through the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend). Get more on the studio and the shop at sanabriaandco.com