Yes, it is a bit small. Of course, that’s not actually our new dining room rug: it’s a sample made to test the colors we had chosen for the custom rug that we’ve now ordered –about a year later than we had planned.
The delay is almost completely the result of our own indecision. The size and shape of the rug we required (about 100″ x 175″) meant that we needed a custom solution, unless, of course, we got extraordinarily lucky and found something ready-made that was nearly that size, of a design we loved and within our budget. Not surprisingly, we didn’t. And then we were lost in a sea of choices: customized sizes and tweaks of established designs, special color palettes, materials (silk, wool, both?), construction, knot density, etc. We seriously pursued several designs and went down the road as far as a samples with a couple of them. We liked them, but in the end none felt like our rug. We were stuck.
One evening at dinner (over our bare floor) I was apologetically discussing our lack of progress with our friends Michael Garvey, a New York interior designer and Zak Profera, a textile designer and owner of the fabric house Zak+Fox. They advised us to forget everything we’d seen, start with a clean sheet and design the rug that we really wanted. ”It’ll be fun!” And with the help of their taste, skill and solid grasp of the technical issues, it has been.
As we looked for a rug, I kept coming back to a few books we have on the work of Josef Albers (1888-1976), the German-American painter, graphic designer and color theorist, for design and color inspiration.
Michael and Zak encouraged me to stick with this source, and Zak very patiently created and revised four designs inspired by several Joseph Albers paintings. He and I then spent hours (usually over a cocktail or two), choosing colors from among hundreds of little pom-poms of yarn. And choosing them again. And again. (I can’t be an easy client.) In the end, we chose Zak’s simplest design, inspired by Albers’ Homage to the Square series and shown in the CAD drawing below. Michael concurred, and we ordered samples.
To help you visualize the finished rug, here’s a picture of the space it will occupy.
The first moment of truth came six weeks later when the samples arrived showing the actual colors of the rug in the same yarns and construction techniques that will be used in final production. We made two — the dark blue and chartreuse are the same in both, but the intermediate blues are different.
For us, the top sample was the clear winner. I think the greener blues on the bottom can seem muddy, particularly in lower or artificial light.
We’ve approved final production, and now we’re waiting for the final moment of truth, the delivery of the finished rug. It will take several more months, but I’ve got a strong feeling we’ll have something worth the wait.