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Category: textiles

Calling All Antique Rug Experts: What the What Did I Just Buy?

Thanks to everyone for your super smart rug suggestions on my last post. I followed your links and made moodboards and generally drove myself banana sandwiches trying to fit all the moving parts and variables together… do I switch this rug or sell that rug? Layer something small with seagrass or save up and spend big money to buy a big rug? Truth is, I tend to buy antique rugs that may or may not fit in the spaces I had planned for them. Hand made rugs are like pieces of art, and I need to have an emotional attachment before I can have a financial relationship.

oushak rug

I mean I would totally marry this rug, which is very similar to some antique Turkish rugs Karly and I saw at Round Top last weekend. Prices were INSANE, like we were shopping at 1st Dibs instead of a country flea market. The rugs were superb, though. I’ve never seen that kind of quality in person and I wanted to roll around all over the rugs like a dog in heat.

I am also not above having an affair with this rug I’m watching on ebay right now. It’s huge and very old and ridiculously expensive and I LOVE IT. Too bad I’m not rich.

Anyway, I’m not the most practical when it comes to buying rugs for myself, and I just wasn’t feeling anything I could find in my budget. So when reader Jill sent out the bat signal that a local antiques gallery was having a meganormous rug sale in a parking lot, I thought what the hay… I’ll load up the babe and head out early to see what I can see.

 The calm before the storm…

I felt like I had just strolled into a third world country when I arrived, and by strolled I mean I stupidly brought my sweet seven month old baby in a stroller to the windiest, dirtiest, cheapest place on earth. And then something about the vast mountains of concealed fabric transformed me into a frantic suburban hyena panting after the scent of blood, tossing the place in order to see every single rug there (luckily/not luckily I wasn’t the only one).

Totally embarrassing.

I knew there must be something good in those stacks, but every time I forced a nice worker man to dig out the very bottom rug, it inevitably turned up to be a filthy pee stained lime green and brown persian rug. Barf.

Y’all, I have NEVER seen that much dirt anywhere, and I have peed in poop troughs near diseased chickens and pigs deep in the Mexican back country. There was dirt in my teeth (!), dirt on the baby’s face, dirt all over my stroller cum vaguely handy shopping cart… I had to hose that sad boy down with lysol after I left.

The rugs were so dirty you couldn’t even tell what color they were. D.I.R.T.Y.

And then, magically, Jill showed up. She probably didn’t recognize me beneath the layers of sooty filth, but she did recognize my very unhappy baby — the baby I brought to contract some exotic infectious disease from the dirt.

Mother of the year. That’s me.

Thankfully Jill turned out to be a super nice, very normal person with excellent taste. To wit, she pulled up this shockingly not too filthy rug. And then she passed it on to me. Behold.

savonnerie antique

But what is it??? It’s huge for one thing — 11 ft square. It’s also very old, like maybe 100 years? It’s wool and it weighs a million hundred pounds. The seller dude said it was hooked. And that’s about all I know.

antique savonnerie

For scale.

It’s not discolored, the field color is actually taupeish and the shadows are from folds.

I have since super mega vacuumed the rug, and I think it’s miraculously not too dirty. I mean, it’s old but not scabies dirty.

But what the what is it?

I know some things about rugs. Like anything I care about, I have obsessively researched Persian rugs since I first started buying them a few years ago. I can tell the difference between a Kerman and a Hamedan (kinda easy, I know), and I can tell you about abrash, kpsi, desirable colors and patterns, etc, but this here is not a Persian rug.

Is it an early American hooked rug?

A French Savonnerie?

Perhaps Spanish?

Or maybe even Chinese?

Here’s the back. I think the foundation is jute… or maybe burlap?

Does anyone know anything about this here rug?

Because I’m not sure whether to keep or sell. I think if I keep, it will live in the bedroom and the bedroom rug will move to tapestry town.

But if it’s worth some real money I might sell it and buy something more in line with the rest of my rug collection.

Or maybe it’s super awesome and I need to learn to love it?

If only I knew what it was…


Keep or sell?

[top image via because it’s awesome]

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Rug Drama Part a Million

First of all, THANK YOU for commenting on Luke’s room tour! Sorry I rewarded you by taking the next week off for spring break. I’m a jerkface.

So, I have a grand history of choosing, unchoosing, pondering, debating, analyzing, and general indecisiveness when it comes to rugs. Either the size isn’t right, or the color is unknown, the pattern scale is off, or woolen tumbleweeds threaten to eat my home. No matter which way you slice it, unless you plan to just jute it up all over the place, rugs are hard. And if you’re like me, you have champagne taste on a beer budget, which SRSLY compounds the problem. It’s not like I can walk into abc carpet or the rug company and throw $10,000 at the problem. What’s left is the west elm outlet — which I have found to work well for scatter rugs — or the internets.

Thank the bargain gods for ebay and overstock. I love them long time. But buying a rug you’ve never seen and will be difficult at best to return is a major pain in the warp and weft.

Buckle up and let’s discuss the latest debacle, shall we? Some back story, first:

This? Oh, this isn’t the problem. Sort of. See I bought this vintage Malayer rug off ebay a few years ago and I love it and its jewel toned, crumb hiding, hand made awesomeness. The problem, as we have discussed previously, is that it’s too small for this loooooooong room:

I know. I can’t believe our house looked like this right after we moved in, either.

To recap, the table is gonezo and now this lives back there:

Except of course I have compulsively rearranged stuff n things since then. Der. The credenza and the white console swapped places, and now I have a terrible desk but a better looking back wall.

I am all about practicality, aka I need a real (super awesome) desk.

Anyhow, the runner was a little overpowering and a lot slippery, I really really really need a rug back here to protect our floors from little boys and their floor gougery. Plus something soft and plush would be nice to sit on and play legos and other annoyingly small and many pieced games little boys like to play.

I previously tried a 6×9 rug, thinking it might fill the space.

I was wrong, and we all know where that rug ended up.

Here’s the thing: what I really want is a 13×18 persian rug to fill the whole room, but even on ebay cool ones price out in the 2k range. Since the kitchen has me on mega budget 2013 with my belt strapped on so tight I fretted over a $7 Ross dress, 2k is just not going to happen. So I went off and spent $300 on another ebay rug that is too small.

erin williamson

Hey Erin, aren’t you a professional photographer? Why, yes I am. But I snapped these iphone pics to show Karly right after I rolled out the rug, and then I promptly rolled it up. And threw out my back. So enjoy these gorgeous works of art. And enjoy the baby bouncer, most of all.

Also, please do not assume the console styling is for realz. And Gilbert, the leopard pillows are just for you.

erin williamson

6×10 hand knotted deliciousness… too small, right?

I should return this, right?

I need a 9×12 that fits almost end to end with the front room rug I already have, right?

Now I just have to find one that I like under $500. Also it has to flow with the other rug. Also also it has to look good with the back room stuff.






Sike! None of these are going to be under $500.

Rugs are dumb.

Please help me by either finding a cheap wool 9×12 that I like (I am tres picky), or by hiring me to take pictures and/or spend your money on decorating projects…

Assuming you have more money than me, that is.

Thanks for reading today’s novel. I will be laying down and icing my back now. Me and my phone await your solutions to all of my problems.

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Wow… I didn’t expect the Blue vote to be so unanimous! Seems you guys feel the best is yet to come for the nursery. However, Mazey is pretty surprised the race wasn’t tighter and isn’t quite ready to concede the election. Meanwhile Frenchie doesn’t give a shit because he just wants to smoke some pot and marry another Frenchie.

What? I’m only talking bout rugs, y’all.

Seriously, thanks for voting. For everything. For important stuff.

 Please keep me on your reader because I have lots of updates to share, including the new rug in situ (which will it be?!), and a MEGA CRAZY purchase that could be fabulous but might be 100% fail… Also I have gone on a pillow binge that shows no signs of stopping.

Oh yes I did.

And finally the hall wallpaper should be up soon…

Hooray me! Obviously I am the winnah here.

Later, taters. It was so awesome to hang out again!!!

See you soon.

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Stop Worrying About the Election and Vote For My New Rug

Hey guys, it’s been a while. So, guess what? Taking care of two kids is more than twice as hard as taking care of one. The baby never naps and Ike never slows down. Our living room is littered with more flotsam and jetsam than post Sandy NYC and the housekeeper just left a few hours ago. I am on my seventh load of laundry in three days because they baby won’t stop pooping and puking every time I consume the tiniest bit of hidden dairy products. Meanwhile Ike has been staging swift and furious rebel uprisings that would make Robert E Lee blush.

erin williamson

It’s a good thing (we think) our kids are cute.

Despite my exhaustion, I find time at 4am to buy things. It’s like the consumer center of my brain is on overdrive while everything else has shut down. So here I am, back at the blog doing what I do best: Waffling. Indeciding. Not listening to myself.

I need you to help me choose a rug for the nursery. Remember this?

Cute, but I feel like it needs another layer. Here are my top picks.

Option 1:

erin williamsonFrenchy. Neutral. Love the black border. But is it too stuffy for un petit bebe? And does it clash with American revolutionary drummer boy? You may remember him from Ike’s old nursery. But wait — might he be French, instead? It seems the French flag sports colors suspiciously close to those of America AND they also had revolutions and stuff. Copy cats.

Option 2:

erin williamson

I kind of swore I’d never do another black and white graphic rug after the zebra incident. And in fact the zebra is dying a slow, painful, toddler inflicted death in Karly’s nursery. But this… well, this is insane. And possibly amazing. And also possibly way overwhelming and disparate from the rest of our house. I do like the super neutral colors that would allow me to change up color schemes down the line.

Option 3:

erin williamson

Color commitment issues… I am having a phobic moment about choosing blue, but I like that this rug would probably hide the most dirt. Also, it’s cute for a baby boy and the rough border and abrash give it a handmade feel that would add that special je ne sais quoi to all the graphic elements in the room.

And those are my choices. All wool, all 8x10s, all under $300.

So please… vote. For my rug.

And for president, I guess.

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Yet Another Textile Obsession: Tapestries

I’m about to bombard you with a series of roundups, because that’s all I have time for. Hopefully they’re good roundups, rather than roundups of pinecone arrangements and shapeless taupe sweaters. These are special obsessions that I have been carefully manicuring for years. It’s taken me quite a while to cull the what-I-really-love wheat from the what-fashion-dictates-I-should-love chaff, but in my golden years I have finally found what truths I hold to be self evident. And if you can follow all that punctuation/aphorism drama, you get a gold star.

So hot on the heels of my quilt love comes another textile that I want to wrap my naked body in and snuggle up with all night long. Even more. I be talking about antique tapestries, y’all. I’m smitten by the muted tones, intricate details, and sense of gravitas they bring to a room.

That just happened. If you aren’t as excited as I am about this, GET EXCITED.

Robert Couturier is and will always be my decorator boyfriend.

See what I mean about spending the night with some tapestries? They’re giving me the bedroom eyes.

Tiny picture, amazing idea. I would definitely rub my nether regions all over a tapestry upholstered settee.

Zoffany’s new tapestry print Arden sports unicorns, by golly! Pure as Lancelot and Guinevere, wink wink, nudge nudge.

Zoffany even makes a tapestry inspired wallpaper. You know you want it in your life. Hot sex.

Sure, I may be a smidgen sleep deprived. But I am right about this — tapestries are awesome.

The end.


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