Anyone who’s seen The Big Lebowski can understand the importance of a good area rug.
There are lots of places to begin when decorating a room. I frequently start with an area rug. It informs the mood and style of a room, and offers an opportunity to easily develop a color palette.
One of my favorite floor coverings is a one-of-a-kind, handmade rug. Today’s savvy consumer is—and should be— looking for items that are handmade, unique, and come with an artisan tradition. What many design clients don’t realize is that the world is smaller than it used to be, and many rug sellers can work directly with the source, so clients can get a unique, handmade rug of extremely high quality that isn’t as expensive as it used to be.
Not only that, but as I’ll discuss further on, it is possible to custom make exactly the rug you want. That means the material, the color palette, the pattern, and the size.
I have a one-of-a-kind, hand-knotted Pakistani wool rug in my dining room, and almost every time I see it, I think about the people who made it. I will never meet them, but they made something I love and see every day. The sheen is beautiful and it will get more beautiful over time.
There’s a human component to handmade rugs that I find to be very special.
Weaving a rug by hand is a very time-consuming process. Here’s a chart I found on another blog:
One of my favorite looks is mixing a traditional rug with contemporary furnishings. It looks collected and interesting, like you decorated over time with objects from travels or maybe inherited a few special pieces, instead of buying everything all at once. (Even if that is exactly what you did!) For instance, check out the beautiful rug below with two contrasting modern Barcelona ottomans.
The juxtaposition of traditional rug and other furnishings with the ghost chairs (above) is beautiful and creative. There’s a saying that timeless rooms have a bit of “yesterday, today and tomorrow” in them.
There are also plenty of options that are a bit less traditional in design. For example:
However, if you can’t find what you want, make it. While custom isn’t right for every situation or every client, it is an amazing option I don’t think everyone knows about. If you know the right sources to use, it can be a very gratifying experience.
I had a discussion about custom rugs with Cyrus Ahmadi of Fovama, in Scarsdale, New York (www.fovama.com). Cyrus has 40 years’ experience in the rug industry and while it’s clear he has an affinity for all handmade rugs, he referred to a custom rug as “something you have created with other human beings and is memorable.” With today’s technology, he said, it’s very easy to edit a design until it’s exactly what you want. He has helped many clients make their dream creations, some of which were very intricate:
Kyra Schulhof, who owns Fayette Studio in Greenwich, Connecticut (www.fayettestudio.com), shared with me how a painting by Jenn Lewis (www.jslewisarts.com) was turned into a custom rug. Fayette Studio sells a vast array of lighting, furniture and accessories and carries its own line of rugs, but notably specializes in bespoke furnishings, including custom rugs and carpets. Here’s the beautiful painting by Ms. Lewis:
And here are the strike-offs (pre-production samples) and finished product:
I hope this has opened your eyes, broadened your knowledge, and encouraged you to consider an artisan piece for your home made possible by centuries of tradition and craft.
If you want some assistance realizing your vision, or need help figuring out what exactly that vision is, I’m happy to help.