Deborah Kalkstein was raised and educated in Peru. When it was time to pursue a career, she decided to study architecture because her father did not agree to send her to the Milan Polytechnico to study industrial design, which was her dream career. In addition, at the time in Peru, interior design was not a career but a decorator course and she wanted her future profession to be something deeper. Finally, she loved working at her uncle’s office that was still one of the top contemporary architects in Lima. She worked in his office doing all the interior work. Therefore, after graduation from the Universidad Ricardo Palma in Lima, she looked for a way to combine her love for furniture, interiors, and architecture. A store seemed to be the obvious conglomerate of the three.
She moved to the United States in 1989 and then in 1999, she opened Contemporaria in an Old printed Warehouse owned by an Italian architect in Bethesda. Ten years ago, she moved her business to Georgetown and opened up her current store in Cady’s Alley. Now offering a complete range of services from interior design and interior architectures to remodeling and construction, Contemporaria is a full service design firm and showroom that sets it apart from other retailers in the area. Her modern and design aesthetic has brought in an array of clients that have made her business the hotspot it is today.
For Deborah, the client is the most important part of her work. In her words, “clients want great service, great prices, great design, great ideas, great solutions, great products. Sometimes we can give it all and sometimes we can’t. But we always try.” They are truly the center of her design philosophy and the reason behind her tremendous success.
Other than the pleasing the client, her success has come from her commitment to her own aesthetic, declaring, “I am not a trend follower and that is the reason that I believe we are still in business and some of our counterparts are gone. I believe in lasting things.”
Deborah’s classic yet contemporary aesthetic has set her apart from other firms and showrooms in the area. With her commitment to the design and the client, she has created lasting relationships and a lasting reputation as one of Georgetown’s very best.