Falling For Kilims

One of the fringe benefits of getting out to scout in the design shops regularly is coming away with ideas you didn’t know you were looking for.

It happened the other day in the Toronto shop Angus & Company. I was inspired by this styling trick of draping a flat woven wool carpet, or kilim, over a jute tablecloth with bullion fringe. I felt like rushing home and draping carpets over everything! It looks so warm and just right for this time of year. It got me thinking of ways to layer up with kilims.

I was reminded of this living room I’ve had in my Favourite Rooms folder forever. It’s a cosy den by Gil Schafer with pumpkin-coloured walls and lots of navy and wood and gilt. The carpet layered over the white slipcovered sofa gives the room a worn English country feel.

Kilim carpets are an extremely durable choice for upholstery and they look even better as they wear and show their age. These chairs mixed with a tufted sofa and tribal table bring character to the rather pared-down architecture of this Harlem brownstone by designer Christina Azario.

This glorious sofa by English maker George Smith sold in September at Christie’s auction house for $2,639 — a complete steal if you ask me. Retail value is probably closer to $10,000!

This beautiful photo landed in my inbox recently announcing a new furniture line by fabric house Lee Jofa. The sofa is upholstered in a fabric called Kekoua, which is part of the Malika collection, inspired by traditional rugs and textiles of Turkey, Uzbekistan and Northern Africa. Yum and yum. I kind of love everything about this photo — from the artwork to the furniture, and the lamp to that ingenious little column accent table. Pass me a glass of port and some cashmere slippers and I could be quite content here.

And you can always count on Remodelista to have an inspirational image or six. This one shows a very different take on kilim upholstery. I imagine this to be a loft somewhere in the Marais district of Paris. Could be, since it is the work of Parisian designer Pierre Yovanovitch.

Poring over these photos has me hatching plans for how to warm up my own rooms for the colder months. I’ve added a matelassé throw over my white sofa and would love to switch out one of my pale-coloured linen pillow covers for a kilim cover. The Etsy shop Sukan Handmade Design is a treasure trove of beautiful examples I have my eye on.

At our weekend home, I’ve been planning some fix-ups for quite some time. Among these is the addition of a generous ottoman just like this one in Ben Pentreath’s Dorset house.

For the upholstery, I’d love to use one of these kilims I spotted on a recent scouting trip to Ikea. I could build a whole room around the colours in any of these. I especially like the old faded pinky-reds and ochre tones.

Take a video tour of Karen Cole’s bohemian-chic home for more uses for kilims.

Photo credits:
1. Margot Austin
2. Upper West Side Apartment, Gil Schafer
3. Elle Decor, photography by Björn Wallander
4. George Smith Kilim-Upholstered Sofa, Christie’s
5. Lee Jofa
6. Remodelista, designed by Pierre Yovanovitch
7. Sukan Handmade Design, Etsy
8. Ben Pentreath, photography by Jan Baldwin, via English Decoration (2012 Cico Books) by Ben Pentreath
9-10. Margot Austin

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