All About ReDecorating

Art under foot
01:00 AM EST on Sunday, November 23, 2008

Associated Press

Amy Helfand’s Adrift rug, left. Helfand made her first rug for an art show at the public garden Wave Hill, in the Bronx, using a design based on the garden’s site plan. The finished product was displayed in front of a fireplace in a mansion there. Below, Key Shadow by Suzanne Sharp, from The Rug Company.

Amy Helfand
Exciting things are afoot in the world of rugs: Wools and silks are sheared, sculpted, shagged and shaped into virtual works of art, crafted in luxurious textures and rich hues.
By nature, a carpet shares a kinship with an artist’s canvas. It’s up to homeowners whether to put these pieces on the wall or the floor.
Amy Helfand, a Chicago artist now based in New York City, says she made her first rug for an art show at the public garden Wave Hill, in the Bronx. The rug design was based on the garden’s site plan, and the finished product was displayed in front of a fireplace in a mansion there.
“I like the way a rug creates and fills a space that people can inhabit. I love the tactile aspect of rugs, especially the combination of wool and silk … there’s a depth,” Helfand says.
How does she feel about people walking on her artwork?
“My rugs are pretty demanding — they don’t fade into the background of a room,” she says. “The people who buy them appreciate them that way, so how they get used doesn’t bother me.”
Courtney Bush, who runs the online home décor shop Bunny Maxwell, thinks people are becoming more comfortable expressing themselves through their homes. She’s particularly taken with using strong colors and patterns to accent a neutral palette.
Her new collections of cotton dhurries and tufted wools and silks reflect her obvious affinity for nature themes and flamboyantly elegant graphics.
“Personal style shouldn’t be confined to your wardrobe,” says Bush.
Interior designer Graunk Enzenberger, who is also a principal of Chicago’s OrangeSkin, a modern-décor retailer and design consultancy, sees rugs trending toward a “more 3-D look, with the more complicated patterns working best in the same or similar colors, especially bold colors.” OrangeSkin’s 1960s linked daisy rug, by Jose A. Gandia, fits the aesthetic in a playful fashion.
Crate & Barrel also reaches back in time to offer a spicy-toned shag carpet, a foil for the new tailored furniture.
Large flokatis in c! hocolate and white, new at Homegoods this fall, are also right on style and under $200.
In Europe, Belgium’s “Floor to Heaven,” the floor covering line created by German-born designer Michaela Schleypen, is generating buzz with some unusual rugs like the textural “Moon” and “In the Woods,” featuring a faux bois pattern in soft caramel tones. Denmark’s Bo Concept, which has retail stores and studios in the United States and abroad, and also sells online, offers “Flow” — waves of color that eddy across the floor — and the circular “Boas,” with a striking black and white zinnia graphic.
Some of these rugs are expensive, yet may be good investments because of their quality and artistic value. If lower cost is key, or frequent redecorating is a hobby, then consider off-price retailers or high-volume home furnishings stores. Both can be good sources for inexpensive yet attractive carpets.

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