Rugs to Relish

by Kristin on October 12, 2010

in Design Inspiration

It seems like a lifetime ago, but time was that most designers, when interviewed about the starting point for any project, would quickly and decisively proclaim “The rug.”  Yes, back in the day before neutral and Belgian were synonymous with au courant, oriental rugs, needlepoint rugs, and “transitional” rugs (shrug, eye roll) were the anchor upon which innumerable rooms were built.  Then neutral rugs, sisal and seagrass took center stage and those beautiful hand-made rugs looked somehow dated.  Neutral rugs allowed other elements in the room to shine, a signature fabric or wallcovering to become the anchor upon which a room was built.

But I am starting to see statement rugs making a comeback and in a big way.  My first inkling that the tide might be turning occurred when I was in New York over the summer.  ABC carpet is featuring beautiful rugs that re-use vintage rugs and saris in an inventive and beautiful way.  One collection is called Color Reform.  These rugs are made by either piecing together fragments of old rugs and dying the whole piece in a vibrant wash or simply bleaching a vintage rug and then dying it in gorgeous color.

I thought that this piece was just breathtaking.  I have a client for whom I have designed a bedroom in vintage kimono textiles and neutral linens and this would have been a perfect finishing piece for the room.  However, she has a lovely oriental that is a nostalgic favorite, so I will just have to imagine this virtually in her room…

Now this might have been a great choice for the room on the cover of House Beautiful this month, no?  This could be a beautiful focal point for a dining room – persimmon upholstered chairs, bleached oak table, and buttery walls painted with a soft gloss.  A feast for the senses, wouldn’t it be?

This runner would light up a hallway or stairwell with a wonderful explosion of color.  I love how the rug varies in depth from one end to the next – it gives it such character!

The rugs on the right are all part of the Ethos collection and I truly love the story behind this.  These beauties are all woven with silk threads that have been reclaimed from vintage saris.  Imagine the women and girls who have worn them to weddings, parties or simply day to day.  And their lives and experiences are somehow woven into these rugs – it’s a whimsical or romantic thought perhaps, but if you could see the sheen and warmth of these rugs you would agree that there is something magical about them.

The border on this rug is really quite different, but very lovely.  The sage green is very restful, but the poppy and azure lend this rug zest and interest.  Imagine this one in a library with a vintage bottle green leather tufted Chesterfield, a pair of tobacco wool wing chairs and a beautiful desk.

I apologize for the size of this photo, but I had to include it.  I love this with a slate gray/off black and ivory palette for upholstery.  I would add some kente cloth pillows to the sofas and chairs, a ruby cashmere throw and some fantastic pottery to this room.  The Color Reform rugs are more reasonably priced than the Ethos collection.  This is totally understandable given the amount of work that must be done to deconstruct the saris and weave the salvaged silk into new patterns for Ethos.

My New York rug odyssey did not end at ABC.  I went to the showroom of John Rosselli, one of my favorites from my time in the New York area.  While I was there, I discovered a new rug company, called Vermillion.  These rugs are all needlepoint, but they are not your grandma’s needlepoint rugs.  First and foremost, I cannot tell you how soft these rugs are underfoot.  Second, the pricing on these is fantastic.  Third, any rug can be made in any size or any color.  ( If you see any that you can’t live without, e-mail me and I will help you get pricing…).

These images are a bit small, I apologize.  This cane pattern rug with bamboo border is so versatile.  In a different colorway, can’t you see it in a Hollywood Regency inspired room?  In natural this would be perfect in a sunroom or as a fun riff in an Asian inspired room.

I love this lattice pattern!  Where can’t it go?  This chocolate rendition is so youthful and fresh.  Bedroom, dining room, anywhere that needs a pop and this guy is a great bet.  I think that in black and white this would look stunning in my husband John’s study.  Hmmm, food for thought.

I am a sucker for a leopard print.  They do this print as a field or a border, depending upon how comfortable you feel walking on the wild side.  The piece I saw in the showroom was the most luscious mix of ivories and pale honeys – truly distinctive.  Now that piece would make a bedroom the height of elegance and sophistication.

This piece is so ethereal and lovely.  I actually am quoting it for a client for her entryway in these very colors.  You cannot believe how reasonable it is – $940 for an 8 x 2 before shipping and tax.  That price is pretty extraordinary for a handmade piece.  I would love to show you more images from the catalog, but I am hesitant.  These are some of the only ones on the website and I know that many companies do not want proprietary designs appearing in public online.  But to give you a sense of the others – there is a foulard pattern, a pattern inspired by majolica china, beautiful geometrics, stries, and great stripes, and many more.

I for one, would love to build a room around any of these rugs!  I am hoping that statement rugs begin to make a strong comeback and if my experience in New York is any guide, then we may all be seeing more of these and soon.  I can’t wait.



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