How Jane Fonda Enriched Home by Mixing Oriental Rugs with Modern Rugs

Recently a homeowner fell in love with a modern floral rug but was concerned it would not work with the traditional Oriental rugs she already had in the adjoining rooms. This worry arises from a common misconception that everything in a home should match, or at the very least be of the same style. We will learn why leading interior designers advise against “matchy matchy” decorating. To bring their advice home we will look at Jane Fonda’s newly built northern New Mexico ranch home, recently featured in Architectural Digest, where Fonda deliberately juxtaposed objects that many people think do not belong together. Fonda chose this approach because she wanted the newly built home to look more sophisticated and historical. Her decorating was so effective that “When Robert Redford came to visit he thought the house was at least a hundred years old,” Fonda told Architectural Digest. Pictures of the rooms are accompanied by quotes from leading decorators explaining why this decorating approach works far better than the approach of matching every object.


 “The moment I stepped on the property I knew I was home,” Fonda told Architectural Digest, “Its sheer beauty made my hair stand on end,” 


Fonda named the ranch “Forked Lightning.” A three-and-a-half-mile stretch of the Pecos River runs through it. Located adjacent to Pecos National Historical Park, the 2,300 acre ranch was once part of a 13,000-acre cattle ranch owned by movie star Greer Garson and her husband Buddy Fogelson.


The master bedroom is given a sensual feel by layering a fluffy sheepskin rug on top of an Oushak rug. The sheepskin rug extends just a little beyond the Oushak rug and on to the tile floor which looks less studied.

Architect Carlos Aparicio advice explains why an informal sheepskin rug and a refined Oushak might work together, “If the objects hold their own ground and are powerful in their own right, there’s no mismatch. Pieces that were never imagined sharing a room can somehow look great together.” 


The expected and predictable thing to do in this passage-way in the upstairs Galleria, would be to place one long runner rug. But Fonda chose five mis-matched Navajo rugs, bceause it creates a “collected, not decorated look.”


“A room should feel collected, not decorated” advises AD100 interior designer Suzanne Kasler.


Contrasts between oppostes such as between a luxurious grey Oushak rug and rough-hewn ceiling beams is what makes the house look  “at least a hundred years old,” according to guest Robert Redford.


AD100 interior designer Miles Redd advises us to avoid matching objects because it leads to dull and lifeless rooms. Instead of matching, “Juxtaposition…is the essence of chic,” says Redd, “It’s the combination of opposites—”high/low, shiny/matte; refined/crude; grand/humble; modern/ancient”—that is at the heart of chic design.


The guest bedroom has yet a third type of rug which is an American hooked rug containing grape motifs.


AD100 interior designer David Kleinberg believes that if everything in a room is too similar, the room will feel unexciting, “When you stay relentlessly in one period, the eye absorbs it all in a single glance. Going against period introduces an energy,” says Kleinberg.


In the living room a smooth Oushak rug contrasts with a rustic terracotta floor.


The master bath a polished footed bathtub contrasts with the handwoven texture of a Navajo rug while rosy-pink walls and white muslin drapes create a romantic atmosphere.


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