Rugs and other textiles in the home

What to do with them, if you could indulge yourself in all the rugs and textiles you wanted, or even just one or two? I can give you an idea of their versatility in the accompanying photographs.

My living situations in recent years have varied from a walk-in, off-grid cabin, to a converted wine tank home, to several summers spent in a tent. One constant that always made these offbeat settings comfortable and inviting to come home to is that I furnished them with plenty of handwovens which lent themselves easily to their rustic surroundings. Along with being simply beautiful, they functioned to visually and physically warm up surfaces, cover flaws and keep the wind from entering porous walls. I’ve enjoyed these furnishings for long periods in the same environment or, when my lifestyle becomes nomadic, they very practically roll up, store away in small spaces and are waiting for me when I set up housekeeping again.

Currently, I make my home in a modern, sleek mid-20th century showpiece, a backdrop that I initially thought would not allow my traditional textiles to blend in or be shown at their best. But, learning to take advantage of the wonderful natural light and classic aspects of the house I find my portable furnishings integrate very well, as shown.

From traditional, to rustic, to contemporary settings, sometimes with thought and consideration and at other times with no effort at all, handwoven furnishings can enrich any living environment.


Making a warm and inviting sitting room, a Kurdish banded flat weave in the foreground blends with similarly earth-toned textiles—a northwest Persia kilim, two opened Luri tashehs, a Mashwani rug combining pile and soumak weave, an opened chuval (storage bag), a Baluch sofra (dining cloth) and an angora goat hair throw.


Placed over a coffee table, Luri tashehs (grain bags), opened and joined together, combine with a southeast Turkey detailed kilim overlaying a couch to add a sense of comfort to a sleek, modern living room.


Classic pieces easily complement contemporary interiors, as in this setting in which an elegant Afghan Baluch pile rug overlaying wall-to-wall carpeting harmonizes with a vintage Hakkari flat weave of cicim technique serving as a bedcover.


A cozy bedroom setting is achieved with angora goat hair throws which make comfy bedspreads and pillow wraps as well as serving as a sideboard cover. A chuval (storage bag) and Luri camel bag, both opened for display, provide a colorful backdrop.


An Arabian Bedouin runner (possibly a fragment of a tent band) hangs over a door, paired with a slit weave kilim on the floor to add interest and draw the eye forward in an otherwise plain corridor.


Finely detailed pieces become a center of focus when displayed as wall hangings, as in the case of this striking horse cover, likely of Shahsavan origin with its soumak technique and human and animal figures.


An otherwise stark interior is provided a warmer feel with the addition of a full length hanging or floor rug.


A variety of small Anatolian and Persian kilims displayed on the railing enliven an otherwise austere staircase.


A colorful Afshar Kerman rug of soumak technique graces interior entrance steps, offering a warm welcoming touch.


The colors of a Luri saddlebag, opened to make a rug, link it to that of an Anatolian slit weave kilim covering a sideboard, while at the same time its stripes offer a counterpoint to the kilim’s classic elibende motif, an abstract rendering of the ancient goddess symbol “hands on hips.”


One day at the rug bazaar in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, I found myself sitting on a Turkoman rug that I loved but could ill afford and, as I told the attentive dealer, didn’t even have a home to put it in. “But,” he rejoined persuasively, “a rug makes a home.” He was right. I took it back to California with me and it truly made the tent I lived in that summer a home.