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]

To Match, Or Not To Match? That Is the Question...

For, I do believe it may be nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune than to buy mismatched couches off craigslist. Because jigsawing a large impulse purchase into a decor scheme already undone by many many many previous impulse bargain buys is definitely taking up arms against a sea of troubles. And don't forget that I must also bear the whips and scorns of yon Hunny's pissed off countenance. It's a calamity, I tell you.

After I finish craigslisting my lesser used possessions, I'm considering behaving like a grown up and buying a brand new couch -- something I choose, and not something that is chosen for me by the whims of the craigslist marketplace. Honestly, the very thought is so foreign... I'm still trying to wrap my wee head around the idea. New? Who does that? Well, I guess I might.

The biggest biggest hugest problem is of course what to buy. You see, it seems that most perfectly normal living rooms have one lovely couch, flanked perhaps by a pair of chairs in a different shape or fabric to add visual interest, like so:

Such an easy formula: A+B=Awesome. Ok, the fancy art helps, too.

But the stupid formula won't work for us since we are a two couch household. Does this mean I have to buy two new couches? Because one couch is fine -- one couch is easy to decorate around. But when you buy another, unmatched couch, well then shit just breaks down. Add in a different couch, and I start gnashing my teeth and tearing out hair (not my own, of course) in big disgusting clumps. Trying to solve the 2 couch equation turns me into a deranged, indecisive idiot. Because unless you're starting out with a hardcore plan, it is very hard to do the mismatched couch thing and do it well.

See, this is not working for me. I kind of see what they were going for, but nope.

And this room is very pretty, but I'm not sure I would like it in real life.

I guess keeping everything monochromatic would make it easier -- but kind of boring. Although I am in sweet sweet love with the couch resting against the wall...

This is kind of what I had in mind, mostly because I already have a navy chesterfield. What do you think about pairing it with a fat white slipcovered sofa? I'm worried they will look unbalanced when placed next to each other.

On the other hand, I guess I could just save up to buy two matching couches...

But I really don't want this to happen.

Enough with the typing. Look at these pictures of matching couches and try to guess what I'm thinking about them:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C


I can't believe I left this one out... obviously the drama is making me dizzy.

Exhibit D

Why do couches have to be so bleeping expensive, y'all? And so big and hard to switch out? It makes deciding what to buy incredibly nerve wracking. I need a decider. Oh, but I'm happy to decide which couch to put in YOUR house... funny how that works.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my couch saga on Friday, where I hope to post personal pictures of my actual seating drama. It's like freaking Sofas Of Our Lives around here.

In the meantime, I'd like to know what you think.

To match, or not to match? That is the question.