Contemporary Wool Rugs| Avoid “Black Dress” Decorating

When decorating a room with contemporary rugs we find ourselves hearkening back to the approach we use in dressing and think “Gee if I have a classic black outfit, I can use my handbag and my jewelry to accessorize”.

This concept is fine for fashion, but decorating a room in this way will suggest that everything is portable and temporary and the room will lack any kind of soul”.

Eric Guenther, Founder, Whim Interiors, CA.

Whim Interiors San Juan Capistrano, CA. Eric Guenther and Peggy

Peggy Van Steenhuyse and Eric Guenther in Studio Pink a part of Whim Home in San Juan Capistrano, CA where I interviewed them this week. Eric:If a room is too vanilla, it looks like you are too afraid to commit to something. People think of home as having more of a sense of permanence to it. I think it is important to really commit to some work of art that you love”.

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Eric created an entirely different scheme from the one shown in yesterdays post with the Alcazar textured handmade contemporary rug. Today’s Fabrics: From top: (1) Groundworks, Nolita in Brass/wheat; (2) Kravet, Exclusive (3) Lee Jofa, Arabesque chenille in Gold; (4) Groundworks, Thomas Obrien, Tamora Weave in Ochre.

In yesterday’s post Eric Guenther taught how to create a room with the Alcazar rug that combines California glamor with Italian fashion.

Today Eric creates another fabulous look with the Alcazar. I asked Eric to give us a deeper insight into his thinking and methods.

How would you describe the style of the room we featured in yesterday’s post?

“I describe the room’s style as California Coastal Tuscan. In California we do a lot of Spanish and Italian spin-offs.

What are you looking to achieve by choosing today’s four fabrics with the Alcaraz rug?

“I like the classic Italian feel of the acanthus leaf in the Alcazar rug and the neutrality of the background. This rug works really well on neutral stone floors, particularly on limestone.

In choosing fabrics I am attempting to bring the room into the contemporary 21st century style. I chose this embroidered fabric (1) because it has an organic drawing similar to the rug, and also because it has glamor. The over sized foliage has almost an Art Deco feel. This fabric gives us a way to tie into the neutral, gray and taupe colors of the Alcazar rug. It also adds some colors that are toastier and warmer.

Then I complement the warmer tones with this classic lattice pattern (4) and a figured velvet (3) that has a very traditional classic almost damask feel to it, but it is stylized, then I bring in something contemporary with the wavy stripes (2).

What are you trying to accomplish with the wavy striped contemporary fabric?

“We are bringing in a contemporary, fresh, younger twist with the wavy, striped velvet. It has a pumpkin color and a gold. The taupe background linen has a natural look.

It is important when you are introducing fresh colors to something that is as toned and neutral as the Alcazar rug that some part of the complexion of the fabric have the same neutral feel as the rug. In the case of this wavy striped contemporary fabric, the background has the natural linen but the drawing is contemporary and the colors are fresh and it kind of moves. This fabric brings in the chocolate brown and at the same time it brings colors that are against a neutral ground so that it doesn’t look too fresh for this rug.

Where would you use these four fabrics? 

 “Typically when the rug is neutral, I don’t mind using a sofa that is neutral. In the room in yesterday’s post the sofa is very neutral. It has just some piping. It is more about the shape of the sofa and the silhouette rather than color and pattern.

It is important that a few pieces are pulled up to such a neutral sofa that have that flash of fashion. The room in yesterday’s post has the very strong sort of plum color on one chair. It has this brightly colored modern striped fabric on the slipper chair and back again to a neutral fabric in the very tailored and detailed upholstered chair. When seen together, it all looks very intentional.

How do you mix patterned fabrics with a patterned rug?

“It is important when you are adding patterned fabric to a room in which the rug is already patterned that the colorful patterns be not used so liberally that it takes over the space.

Textiles that are beautiful should be used sparingly so they look kind of precious. But at at the same time these textiles should not be used in such small doses that it looks like you finished your neutral room and went “ Oh my God it’s boring so I need to throw a pillow on this sofa”.

Could you say more about rooms that are mostly neutral with all the color and pattern in pillows?

“I think if you only put pattern on pillows it looks like an afterthought.

So we need to really commit to a concept. In yesterday post, the room has a plum colored chair that is so bright, it shows we are definitely committed to it’s strong color palette. Then the pillows on the sofa echo back to the plum chair. The pillows in the same plum fabric look like they are an extension of the chair. All this makes it clear that the whole scheme was not an afterthought.

If a room is too vanilla, it looks like you are too afraid to commit to something.

 How do you introduce a contemporary patterned fabric into the decor?

“I like to see some piece of upholstery  such as a chair or an ottoman in this contemporary wavy velvet stripe (2). It is important to use enough of this fabric to really make a statement. The neutrality of the background of this wavy contemporary fabric will keep it from being overpowering.

The embroidered Art Deco type fabric (1) has a delicate nature and it would either be used on pillows or on a slipper chair and possibly a little foot stool. But it wouldn’t be used for a sofa that would get a lot of wear.

I think it is important that you not put something so delicate on a piece of furniture that is a workhorse, or where people would be afraid to sit on it.

Which fabrics are suitable for furniture that gets a lot of use?

“The figured damask velvet that is in a cognac brown is one of those bullet proof fabrics that could be on a sofa or an easy chair. The same applies to the lattice fabric. But, the figured colorful fabrics need to be used with some reserve.

What is the right way to you use a fabric you fall in love with? What mistakes should one avoid?

“If you love that embroidered print (1) and say “Oh my God, I think that’s just fabulous”, then you could paint the walls a beautiful toasty color and make a pair of draperies out of the fabric. Such fabrics do not have to be used sparingly, they just have to be edited and applied appropriately so they retain their specialness.

If you put a fabric you love on the sofa and the chair and everywhere else, then it loses its impact and looks overplayed”.

“If you LOVE that embroidered print and say “Oh my God I just think that’s fabulous, then you can select a beautiful toasty wall color and make a pair of draperies out of that. It does not have to be used sparingly, it just has to be edited so it is applied correctly. Rather than putting it on the sofa and the chair and everywhere else in which case it loses its impact and feels overplayed.

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