This is my story of designing our renovation of a century-old lakehouse in Ontario. Each month, I’ll offer a new chapter on the challenges and solutions, and a peek at our progress. You’ll be able to see the actual house come together on new episodes of our video seriesThe Lakehouse.
When we bought our lakehouse and I realized that almost every room would present an envelope of caramel-toned wood walls, I needed to get a formula going in my head. What would the main elements be to furnish and decorate this house? The all-wood interior was new territory for me. One thing was for certain: old kilim and low-pile rugs would be a big part of the scheme. What better backdrop for the subtle beauty of those soulful rugs than the soft, light tones of the old fir floors?
My collection is composed of vintage rugs from Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Afghanistan and Tunisia, with names like Herki, Khotan and Kars. Most are circa–1920 to 1950. They’re mostly kilims or “flatweaves,” and they’re usually classified as tribal rugs because their makers were members of nomadic tribes migrating through North Africa and the Middle East. I love them for their soulful patterns and soft, subtle coloring that natural dyes and years of gentle wear will produce. If you plan to collect and decorate with vintage rugs, choose by color palette and find patterns that look good laid side by side. Then, move rugs around and around your house until the sight lines reveal a pleasing array, and a great view clicks into place.