5 Insights: How Jeffrey Billhuber Uses Contemporary Wool Rugs
1. To gain insight into why Jeffrey Biilhuber selected this white contemporary wool rug, try this experiment: Cover as much of the rug as possible with a white envelope and see how the rest of the room looks and feels to you. I suggest you actually get a white envelope and try this experiment. You will quickly see for your self how the rug effects the rest of the room. I just did the experiment. The room does not look as beautiful. Why? The light from the fire and the windows reflects off the geometric surface of the contemporary wool rug as if it was a sheet of polished ice and the French chairs appear to be skating on the surface. So now we have a warm fire blazing on an icy pond. When we look at the room we do not actually think this consciously, we just feel there is something about the room we like very much. There is some memory from way back in the very ancient human past when such a fire on an icy day would have made our remote ancestors feel secure and comforted. A great designer like Billhuber did this room without consciously thinking "I am going to play on the warm fire on an icy pond memory" Creativity is not based on calculaton. It comes as a whole piece.
2. Use two pieces of white paper to cover the floor and the stairs and you will notice the room feels colorless and cold. The brown leopard contemprary wool rug adds warmth and texture and brings movement to this room. Seeing the same rug going up the stairs makes you feel cocooned. This is played up with the white sofa nestled inside the alcove below the central arch. Notice also the interplay of textures- the rug, the intricately carved Chinese table and the woven basket. Jeffrey has added a special touch with the orange band bordering the contemporary rug on the stairs.
3. I covered the the striped contemporary needlepoint rug with the corner of a white envelope and suddenly the room lost it's spice! Not the rug has one shade of blue and two shades of orange. There are multiple shades of orange and persimmon in this room between the printed fabric, the pillows and the chairs in the window. For this reason the rug needs to have at least two shades of orange. The blue and two shades of orange in the striped needlepoint rug keep this room from becoming too sweet. Notice also that the same fabric is used on the sofa and drapes. This creates drama and makes the room feel more pulled together. However, without the striped rug, the sofa and drapery print fabric would have overwhelmed this room. Note the striped edging running along the bottom of the sofa. This is a Billhuber special. He ties the striped needlepint rug to the print on the sofa with this striped edging. I love that the chair in the foreground has rounded seat and back and is in a green silk whereas the chairs in the window are a deep persimmon and square with white frames. The more you look at these rooms the more you will see. This is the hallmark of a great artist. Whether it is the decorator, the furniture designer or the rug artist.
4. On his website Billhuber writes next to this image "Of course the curtains and the walls should be the same strong color". This small room has a lot of drama. But just cover up the cream and coral Oushak rug and some of the drama is gone and suddenly the room looks too small. I love the brown of the sofa and it is straight back squared shape. The coral throw on the blue sofa makes the room feel cozy and inviting and the coral color ties in with the coral wall covering, drapes and the coral accents in the Oushak rug.
5. "The more you look at this room the more it gives back" says the text on Jeffrey's website. As you look closely the faint tree on the peach wall begins to appear as if seen through the mist. Then you wonder why he did not use just one beige tone on tone striped contemporay rug instead of two and why did he leave a strip of dark wood floor showing? But before we answer these questions, lets do the white envelope experiment. With the rug covered, it looks like some assorted furniture has been grouped together for storage! It does not look anything like the excepetional room that it is. Even the tree on the wall loses it's magic. So the striped beige and taupe texture of the contemporary rug is an essential "canvas" or a "stage" that allows the and the lusciously colored and shaped furniture to be seen as the stars. The dark band of floor makes the whole scene interesting. One continuous rug would be too boring. The brown bands on the lavender sofa chairs and the white band on the blue fabric create a quite resonance with the dark band of wood floor between the two rugs. The colors, apricot, lavender, yellow, white, straw, dark brown, green and sky blue remind me of Edgar Degas.
Edgar Degas: Dancer at the Bar and Red Ballet Skirts