August 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm EDT | by Mark Lee
Districtologie of design
Zach Sherif, Districtologie, gay news, Washington Blade

Zach Sherif plans to open Districtologie on Sept. 26. (Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas)

When Districtologie opens in late September near the Union Market food and retail warehouse emporium, the emerging enterprise will represent the eclectic design vision of founder and “curator” Zach Sherif. The freelance interior designer – also celebrated for his hand-blown glass chandelier creations ­– will soon launch a collaborative retail venture filling the expansive light-infused ground-floor level of the Union Arts building at 411 New York Ave. in a rapidly developing section of Northeast Washington nearly at the center of the District.

Set to christen the operation with a grand opening party on Friday, Sept. 26, Sherif has assembled a diverse array of local designers, sculptors, painters, photographers, antique purveyors and other creators and collectors whose works and goods will be available for purchase. Retail vendors will establish separate display vignettes throughout the large industrial loft-like space, featuring concrete floors and exposed lighting and ductwork below 14-foot ceilings.

“It’s not unlike the Meatpacking District in New York City,” the 52-year-old Egyptian-born and Manhattan-raised Sherif explains, “a place to discover unique, unpredictable and unfamiliar local and global resources and artist-produced items for living and home melded together in one place.” In addition to retail sales, handled by on-site management staff, the venue will provide an opportunity to connect with creative businesses for custom orders and contract design projects. Participating artists and vendors will serve as “a resource to one another” as well as to clientele, Sherif adds.

Carpets and textiles from Silk Road Traders, Central American pottery from Mundo Village, “up-cycled” home furnishings and furniture pieces from Yeatman & Levin, vintage clothing and fashion items alongside curiosities from Old New Collectiv, and Sherif’s own District Lighting Works are among those whose goods and collections will enliven the gallery-style environment. A multitude of items for modern living offering an unusual blend of cultural influences from the past and present and from nearby and across the globe will be offered.

Affordability is a key component, notes Sherif. An emphasis on “exceptional quality well-priced” is his customer objective. Goods will be suitable for spacious home interiors or the compact condo or apartment of nearby neighborhoods – in a wide range of price points and product types. Sherif has set a goal of incorporating diverse local talent and welcoming a broad cross-section of customers.

This dynamic new cooperative retail undertaking is as natural a blend for Sherif as the signature interior decorating style for which he has long been known. It is symbolized by the Bloomingdale neighborhood home interior he and husband and commuting New York telecom company executive Paul Cerruti spent a year renovating. A Parsons School of Design graduate with a degree in social science and fine art, Sherif has explored how art and visual elements affect the psyche and the psychology of media and color throughout his 25-year career.

Growing up in New York reveling in its diverse culture with classmates and friends from far-flung places while attending the United Nations International School, Sherif’s design inspiration reflects his personal history. The former fashion journalist, restaurant owner, creative director, publication editor, film and music video producer and business proprietor achieved professional interior design prominence by contrasting contemporary and classic elements from around the world for residences, resorts, boutique hotels, as well as the occasional office and restaurant.

Moving to D.C. five years ago, Sherif fell in love with the openness to the sky and the city’s energy. Now the world-wise and well-traveled designer’s home, he hopes to contribute to the cosmopolitan style of the place with which he and Cerruti have fallen in love.

For details on the Sept. 26 grand opening event, contact Districtologie at 202-271-3836.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at

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