A rug can solve a host of DESIGN DILEMMAS, from infusing colour to making a room look finished. Your choice SPEAKS VOLUMES, says PENNY McCORMICK …
Between inception and moving in, your new build has taken six years to complete, with several changes of architect and builders along the way. The result is a residence that boasts four reception rooms, six bedrooms, several recreation spaces and additional “glam rooms.” Your choice of flooring throughout is marble. Now that you’ve moved in, two things are clear. You need a lot more furniture and the space feels cold. As a result your heating bill has been enormous and you’ve been buying up rugs in end-of-season sales. They’ve reduced the noise level and added warmth underfoot but are a bit of a hotch-potch. An interior designer suggested layering sisal or seagrass as a base and ikat rugs for drama, with a circular creation for the hallway.
The solution: Chris Sharp of The Rug Company advises, “Always choose a rug that you love; like an artwork, it will last for many decades. The pattern of the rug will obviously affect the feel of the room. The key is the raw materials; a rug is only as good as the materials it is made from.” A common mistake is buying too small. The proportions should be the same as the room. A square room should have a square rug etc. It’s best to arrange furniture so it sits on top of the rug instead of at the edge. This allows the rug to blend in with the space as opposed to being isolated, like an island. If the room is already furnished, pick a rug with a complementary colour.
Every room and rug in your house reflects an era of your life. The kilim in the study is like a faithful jumper, a reminder of your SO’s posting to Kenya. The cotton dhurries in the hall came when the kids arrived, and have been to the rug spa many times (and still come up trumps), while the Kyle Bunting cowhide in your bathroom was an attempt at noughties decadence, alongside the roll-top bath and Venetian-style mirror. A nod to your former career as a fashion PR, the pièce de resistance is your Rodarte x The Rug Company paired with beaten-up Victorian furniture and a comfortable sofa in the living room. For you, the most important things in a room are books, pictures and plants. The rug’s elegant colour palette and patina offsets these elements perfectly.
The trend: Globalism and tribal style are currently huge, with the eclectic home inspiring fashion (see Etro, Talitha, Vilshenko) as well as design. Madeline Weinrib was an early exponent of cotton dhurrie rugs, while flatweave kilims are back with a vengeance; they’re bright and camouflage stains very well. One of the must-have items of 2017 is a hand-knotted Indian rug by Jaipur Rugs. Rather than produce mass-market rugs using “design maps” (the templates that weavers follow) their 40,000 artisan weavers are given artistic freedom to design.
Having downsized to a duplex apartment, overlooking the sea, pride of place in
your airy bower is your statement rug. It’s both artwork and investment, distracting the eye from the lack of furnishings, while hiding the slightly worn parquet underfoot. You visited Maison & Objet and Decorex and read artist Lady Deirdre Dyson’s glossy rug-porn book Walking on Art as background research. In the end you selected an Amy Kent design
which complements perfectly your Knoll Ario sofa and Cos wardrobe. Luxe but low key, you are now sourcing a suitable light as the third element in your design journey.
The trend: Says Conrad Lyons, director of RugArt Limited, “We supply rugs by Vartian (Arman Vartian), Rug Star (Jurgan Dahlmanns) and by Knots of London (Bonnie Sutton). All these producers are making very high quality, hand-knotted products and they all have particular styles, and without exception are the most regular winners of awards for innovation and design. In addition, we stock Jan Kath who has achieved new levels of image reproduction for his Spacecrafted collection which is inspired by images taken from the Hubble space telescope. Amran Vartian has collaborated with artists to produce some of the most interesting modern rugs I have ever seen.”
You have three key possessions – your MacBook Pro Air, a pair of Manolo Hangisis and your vintage Berber rug. You love its delicate black rhombic patterns set against the ecru woolly background – having moved digs three times in the last six months, wherever you lay it instantly feels like home. The fact you spied on Instagram that fellow blogger, Pandora Sykes, has a similar style gives it further cred, and you love styling flat lay shots on its neutral background. You sourced yours from Beldi Rugs, though annoyingly the crop of cheaper imitations is ubiquitous (from Etsy to Sostrene Grene).
The low down: Beni Ourain rugs, the new carpet craze, are akin to the blue jeans of the rug world. Traditionally used as blankets, original Ben Ourains are handwoven in the Rif Mountains near Taza, and each has its own unique pattern. They seemingly go with every style, from Scandinavian minimalism to mid-century modern and everything in between, lending an exotic look and plush feel to living areas and bedrooms. Prices range from €1,500, and can be sourced from Dar Sol in Dun Laoghaire (www.dar-sol.com). A more affordable, and equally authentic, type of Moroccan rug is called Boucherouite (from €400).
The kids have (finally) moved out so it’s time to redecorate. This will be the third iteration since moving into the Monkstown townhouse. Father has no say in the process; his input being limited to handing over his credit card or a silent nod at assorted auctions. Having dithered over the purchase of a Persian Kerman, a Turkish Sivas or Indian Agra, you fell in love with an original Tabriz beauty (provenance Mansour, London) from a local auction room; the elaborate tree of life motifs suits the classic, timeless ethos you’re after. You justify the expense saying it will increase in value and form part of the childrens’ inheritance, along with Granny’s Waterford chandelier and the small Lavery painting.
The expert: Says Nicholas Faulkner of Bonhams, “Sadly the market for fine Oriental and Persian carpets has slowed down considerably over the past couple of years with pieces making less than half of what they used to. In light of this, now is an ideal time to purchase pieces for the home and there are many bargains to be had. You do find popular pieces tend to be those with large loose designs such as Ziegler’s, Mahals and Arts and Crafts designs by Voysey, with fine silk carpets, which often fetch the highest prices at auction, being championed by collectors from the Middle East. As a rule of thumb, the retail value of a carpet is normally far higher than one would pay at auction. This may be due to the carpet having been restored or cleaned – worth considering if purchasing from an auction. We include around 20-30 carpets in each home and interior sale.” The next Bonhams’ interiors sale is December 5.
Why dwell on the past when you live in the present? If something is new, cutting-edge or hip you are on it. Vintage – only if it’s champagne. Mass produced furniture – no way. The quest for your costumised rug involved numerous weekend jaunts to suppliers, a raft of tear sheets from design journals and a level of research on contemporary trends that would guarantee entry to Mastermind. (Specialist subject: Paolo Giordano). You finally made the decision on an “erased heritage” style and the hand-knotted masterpiece took five months to complete. You’ve discovered a whole new language in the production process; conversations are smattered with knot counts (100 – 500 per square inch) and tonality, while your painters’ tape has been invaluable (to outline furniture configurations). Now you ask visitors to remove shoes at the door in case their heels leave indentations, though Tibetan highland wool is very robust.
The designer: Luke Irwin, designer says, “The rug is the foundation of a room so the primary considerations should be the correct size and the correct colours. When I go on a site visit I am looking at the paintings, the wallpaper, the cornicing – I am looking for design motifs and colour. You do not want everything matching but nor do you want terrible colour clashes. I have always advocated, generally speaking, the rug should be the last thing you notice when walking into a room, but when you notice it, you can see how much thought and care and effort went into putting the room together. If it is too brash then you will tire of it very quickly.”
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