Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Obsession: Kilim Rugs


My obsession with kilim rugs began along time ago.  Scott and I were browsing through an outdoor flea market in Monostoraki , in Athens, Greece.  I spotted a bright green hand woven rug with geometric shapes and fell in love.  The seller informed me that it was a kilim rug.  I wanted to fold this beautiful rug into my suitcase and bring it back to Philly.  Unfortunately the rug was too large (and heavy) and needed a good cleaning.  Since we were planning on traveling to Paros the next day and we were travelling light I left this thing of beauty behind.

After this first encounter I would search through many rug stores, flea markets and online sources for something similar but I could never find anything as beautiful or as affordable.  Then one day while I was scouring through vintage rugs on eBay I found a seller in Turkey selling the most beautiful and affordable new and vintage Anatolian kilims.  In my excitement I bought several rugs as they were inexpensive and I could combine the cost of shipping.  I am not generally an impulsive shopper.  I painstakingly measure, re-measure and mull over future purchases before committing.  This time was the exception. Without any forethought I  purchased the rugs.  I patiently waited several weeks for my heavy parcel of rugs to arrive.  The day they arrived the mail person had to carry the parcel into the house because it was that heavy.  Kiran and I madly ripped open the package.  Under the plastic and brown paper wrapping there were four stunningly beautiful kilims perfectly folded.  The colors were breathtaking and  the designs magnificent.  Over the next few years I moved the rugs around the house unsure of where they should go.  Eventually the vintage faded kilim in muted colors went into the back room.

This beauty was an odd shape.  At roughly 4x4 feet I couldn't find a place for it.  Then one day I decided to try it under our new coffee table in the living room and it looked perfect! If you are into rules then the general rule of  rug placement is that the area rug should fit under all your furniture. However, like most rules regarding decoration this rule can be ignored.  Here this smaller rug works because it adds pops of color and pattern without overwhelming the space.



Here's a close up of the rug.



Unlike Persian rugs kilims was generally disfavored as an inferior rug. Thankfully because of the little attention these rugs garnered from the rest of the world the kilim weavers maintained their traditional colors, designs and weaving techniques.  The designs mean different things and each region has its own style of weaving.  My most favorite kilims are the Anatolian kilims from Turkey.

In the last few years kilim have gained in popularity and there are numerous sellers on eBay selling these rugs from Turkey and other parts of the world.  However, with popularity comes an increase in price.  These rugs are now entirely out of my price range.  Part of me wants to just fold them up and look at them from afar.  However, what is the point of beautiful things unless you are going to use them and enjoy them every day? Every morning when I come downstairs I am stilled stunned by this beauty and I feel so lucky have this little kilim in my house.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Bookshelf in the Living Room.

We finally have a bookshelf in the living room!



I have been planning this bookshelf for years. Click here to see pictures of this wall without the bookshelf.   Initially we were planning on building bookshelves on either side of our mantel.  We decided against this mainly because this wall runs at an angle (our house is trapezoid in shape).   After we decided where we wanted the bookshelf I dedicated my time to designing the bookshelf.  I wanted something off the floor, white and mounted to the wall which seemed simple enough.  We had many carpenters come by and give us estimates and a lot of unsolicited advice.  Most of the carpenters had very strong feelings about my plan to paint the wood white.   I had no idea that painting wood could elicit such a strong negative response!  We finally decided to go with the Elfa shelves from the Container Store mainly because they could be wall mounted.  The fact that they were very affordable and came in white was an added bonus.



The shelves are super sturdy and blend into the wall which is exactly what I was looking for.  The entire shelving system is held together by one horizontal strip of mental attached to the wall.  I was afraid that the weight of the books would pull the shelves off the wall.  Scott installed the shelves and assures me that the shelves are anchored properly.  It took us several hours to get the shelves up mainly because I couldn't decide if I wanted the shelves to cover the outlet.  We finally decided to install the shelving over the outlets so that we could have easy access to the outlets and to avoid any fire hazards.  We had the vertical strips specifically cut to our measurements.


I could go on and on abut how much I love these shelves.  They are perfect for the space and are exactly what I wanted.  I have always admired the String shelving systems and the Dieter Rams Vitsoe shelving.  These Elfa shelves however cost considerably less and are equally appealing.


All our books fit on the shelf. The top shelves contain our Science books, Scott's Math books, Legal books, some Psychology books and Social Sciences books that we couldn't get rid of.  The rest of the books are our collection of novels, organized alphabetically by author (which took a really long time to do and Kiran was a huge help in getting this done).  The last two shelves contain my interior decoration collection of magazines (Living etc, Elle Decoration (UK), and Dwell) and books.

The photos are a bit grainy since I have a really hard time taking decent pictures with the light coming in from the windows.  I am so glad that our books are finally off the floor and organized.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hallway on a Sunny Day.

The second floor hallway does not get much natural light.  The only light the hallway gets is from Jai's room, the master bedroom or bathroom if we leave those doors open.  However, at certain times during the day, in Fall and Winter, the hallway is unusually flooded with light streaming in from the third floor hallway window.  This was one of those days:



The light in the house changes with the seasons.  The reason for this sudden luminescence in this dark hallway in Fall and Winter is probably because the sun is lower in the sky for us during these seasons.  This causes the sun rays to come streaming in through the third floor window into the hallway.  More information about the sun and its position during the Winter can be found here.  


We painted the railings recently in Benjamin Moore paint in Onyx  and chose a high gloss finish which is perfect in high traffic areas.  The print is from this shop on etsy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Less is Better...sometimes.

I have been clearing out drawers, closets, toy bins and almost any other place where things seem to collect. A few months ago Scott and I cleared out the basement of old furniture we weren't really sure why we were holding on to. All this editing has turned out to be quite fun. Recently I removed the living room rug. I had forgotten how beautiful the oak parquet looked without a rug!

 

Soon I will dismantle this gallery wall to make room for a floor to ceiling bookshelf:


We haven't decided whether we will build a wooden bookshelf onto the wall which will start about a foot off the floor (so that it doesn't hide the decorative oak inlay on the floor) or if we will install elfa shelves from the Container Store.   I will keep you posted.



Friday, August 8, 2014

The Vestibule Gets a Modified Light.

This is the light fixture in the vestibule.




When Jai was born my father came to visit us from Sri Lanka and stayed with us for three months.  He was a big help.  Every morning on our way to work we would see him starting epic cleaning projects in our house. One day he got out the Windex, paper towels, and a chair and climbed up to clean our vintage Spanish Chandelier in the vestibule.  His vigorous cleaning was just too much for the glass globe which fell to the floor and crashed to a million shards of glass on the saltilo floor tiles.

Here's a picture of the light (and vestibule) in 2011:



I kind of liked the way the fixture looked even without the globe.  I replaced the regular light bulb with a large E27 globe.  The fixture still looked a little naked so I wrapped the Tord Boontje metal garland (which I had in my closet of goodies) around the brass fixture.  I love how the shadows from the Tord Boontje garland and the brass arms of the chandelier cast shadows on the ceilings and walls.


I have to admit I prefer the way this light looks now so much better than before.  I guess much like life when something happens that initially appears to be bad it could very well turn out to be something fabulous.  I often feel like all the efforts we make to control our life (and kids) only takes away the magic that is waiting to happen.  Every time I turn this light on I am amazed at how beautiful the shadows are how lucky I am that my dad broke that globe!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Jungle in the Bathroom.

I have been trying to work with the vintage pink tiles in the bathroom and I just got tiered of the mint green walls with the pink tiles.  Since dark paint seems to make any room feel more fabulous I decided to go dark.  We painted the walls and ceiling in Benjamin Moore Evening Dove in a matte finish. This color is a very rich grey with some purple in it.   It definitely looks a lot better with the pink tiles.  We have a HUGE window in front of the toilet and bathtub which we covered in window film by Emma Jeffs in the Otto design.  This gives us much needed privacy in the bathroom without having to deal with other fussy window coverings.  Also, the window film allows the south facing bathroom to continue to be flooded with light.



These photographs make the bathroom look a lot darker than it is because it is not easy to take pictures into a light source.




The window film made a big difference in the room.  I had a hard time capturing the the way the light illuminates the design in the window.


These plants love the humidity and light in the bathroom.  I've lately become obsessed with hanging macrame planters and other hanging planters.  They take up no space and really highlight the plants.


I am hoping to have a verdant jungle in here very soon.


I just realized that you can barely see the tiles against the wall in any of these pictures.  I was so excited to take pictures of the plants against the wall that I totally forgot about the rest of the bathroom!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Master Bedroom is Black!

I've been having an unusually discontented few months.  It all started when I came down with an awful cough, fever, and cold.  It seemed like I couldn't shake feeling tiered and sick.  Then Jai got sick, then Kiran got sick, then Scott got sick, and then I was sick again.  It was just awful because I just couldn't take the time off to recuperate and the time I took off I spent caring for Jai and Kiran.  Then things got complicated at work. Then I started feeling a little blue and I couldn't move on like I normally do.

So to make myself feel better we decided to get someone to paint a few rooms in the house.  The Master Bedroom is now black....to be precise Deep Space by Benjamin Moore.


Scott and I rarely get someone else to do the work in our house but this time having this room painted felt like a luxury.  We also got the old wallpaper holding together the plaster ceiling removed and we had the plaster fixed and painted.


The triangle pillow cover is from etsy, the pink pillow is from SkinnyLaMinx (via etsy), the kilim cushion cover is from eBay and the other black and white pillow in their Gran design from Fine Little day.  The dark linen sheets are from Crate and Barell, light pink garment dyed linen sheet is from Restoration Hardware and the purple bedspread is a vintage Kantha quilt. Both mirrors are vintage, the lamps are vintage teak lamps found at a flea market with new shades from Restoration Hardware.  We just hung these inexpensive cotton curtains from Ikea.  They filter the light beautifully when they are opened a little. At night when closed they completely block out all the street lights.


The picture above shows my favorite feature in this room....the curved plaster wall.  I love how it looks painted in this rich color.  It almost feels like this room was meant to be painted in dark.  To blur the boundaries we had the shelves, molding, and doors painted in the same color but in high gloss.


This room faces North-West and is generally flooded with light.  My hope is to fill the window sill with plants and also to hang as many plants as possible on the window to create our little jungle in this room.  Greenery looks fabulous against dark walls.


Is this room done? No! I would like to get the radiator sandblasted and powder-coated in a deep purple color.  Then I would like to build a wall of closets on the wall opposite the bed.  I think I will use Ikea Pax wardrobes but paint them the same color as the walls.


This is what the room looked like when we bought the house (please excuse the bad picture:

This is what it looked like when after we renovated it:



P.S. Dear readers I see that there is a lot of traffic to this website.  I would love to hear your opinions.