Friday, 8 March 2013

FOLKLORIC ~ Magic Carpet Ride

painting by Apollinari Mikhailovich Vasnetsov

There are few things in life which we love in our youth and feel the same affection for years later.  When we downsized one of the items we could not quite bear to part with was a collection of what we called our 'magic carpets'.

Source: From Moon to Moon

These vintage carpets (and cushions and hangings)  had been lovingly sourced from charity and antique shops, given to us by family and bought in markets on trips to Iran.

For over a decade we had lived in houses which needed them. They had lain on long wood corridors and been lain upon by a series of cats, some past and some present who had also graced our homes.

Our favourite Bohemian cat
One rug in particular was known to us for even longer, going back some 25 years. It had been a covering in the bed of a giant Hound named Tennyson who had gnawed on it and left little holes in the fine embroidered wool.

All of our cats have dreamed of flying on the Magic Carpets
The new cottage was small, humble,  and different. No long corridors, no dark wood polished floors or 300 year old Elm floorboards needing adornment. We considered for sometime over the future of these carpets. Some were passed on.  It was hard to part with them, each held many memories.

Meanwhile we were struggling to decorate a small garden room. 'Garden' seemed to equate to soft romantic colours, as in the shabby chic signature style of Rachel Ashwell. Lots of white, pale pink, blue, lilac and of course green. We tried to get the room together around some Wedgewood majolica leaf plates we have although they were at least two shades darker than pale.

Antique Wedgewood Majolica

 Bar them, pretty though it was, the 'shabby chic' look for us would require all new items. And what were we to do with our old 'dark decor' things that had kept our company through our youth?

And then as so often happens, an old photograph of something we loved from the past inspired us. Rudolf the most perfect of Bohemians with the kelims he loved so much. (More about him and his carpets in a later post).

 Source: House and Garden magazine, 1992, a few months before Nureyev died.
With some of his beloved carpets at his home on Li Galli, off the Amalfi coast. 
And once we saw it, we knew. The garden room,  with the tiled floor, studio pottery, oak table, peacock chair and blissful light, was in fact the perfect place for the rest of our old carpets. And, as our conservatory is nothing ancient or grand the carpets would give a much needed 'lived in' air to the modern space.
The way in which the Bloomsbury Set layered colours, textiles, paintings, pottery and sculpture has long inspired us. I had been trying to force a pretty ladylike pale and interesting scheme upon our garden room - and it just is not who we are.

Instead - viola! We can have an orange and blue garden room which picks up the colour of these wonderful magic carpets, with the green Wedgewood as accent. This room overlooks a 150 year old red brick bakehouse with terracotta roof tiles and the colours outside complement inside. If summer ever arrives we plan to plant the garden view full of  jewel coloured flowers. 

Tennyson's blanket on the carved oak bench in the conservatory,
with an Edwardian carpet underneath.

Never too many cushions.

Mrs Black loves her old carpets.

Garden rooms do not have to be pastel! Wouldn't this be a wonderful stimulating place ?



  1. I love that you did this. Not only have you created a unique retreat, but you will have the comfort of well-loved items. Each one has a story. Bohemian cats - meaning "found" or ,is it a type of cat or a different name for a calico? Ann

  2. Two thumbs up! Always best to embrace who we REALLY are ~ and what we love! I will be eagerly awaiting a photo of the view to vibrant flower garden and those bake house roof tiles!

  3. I too am fond of this style of carpet, beginning when I lived in Turkey. I am glad you found a place for your remaining carpets; they are gorgeous.

  4. Jolie message !!

    Bonne fĂȘte des femmes !!

    Bonne semaine!!

    xxx Maria xxx

  5. Isn't it lovely to have well cared for and memorable things to go back on? All too often domestic items are just thrown away after a small snag or stain instead of looking at this as a memory of something precious happening at a specific moment in time. Well done you for being you! Chel x

  6. I love Persian silk carpets/rugs very much! During my stay in Turkey, I had seen so many, but Persian always grabbed my attention. Alas, they were beyond my budget, I bought a Cicim instead. Cats always know the best place! Beautiful images, as always!

  7. Definitely have to come visit you! Dynamic place you have there!

  8. I love bohemian decor and carpet rides !

  9. Just the idea of being surrounded by magic carpets makes my soul sing! I'm so glad you were able to keep your treasures and magic is flowing in your garden room. I'll add another two thumbs up!

  10. absoultely love this kind of carpets!

  11. Oh my just magical!
    Thea x

  12. So many beautiful antique rugs. I see cats like them.


  13. What a great idea to use your carpets in the gardening room Minerva! When it looks as lovely as on your last photograph you were right to keep them!!!

    Madelief x

  14. I've been hankering for a garden room just like that since I went to Morocco in the 1990s! I've a thing for kilim and rugs, too. xxx

  15. Love the vintage carpets and the cat!! I have a cat too. Everything in this post is beautiful and magical. Oh I wish I could see them with my own eyes and feel them!

  16. Nice idea featuring your Moroccan carpet and cats. Zigsa likes our magic carpets too! ;-)
    I sent you a message via facebook.

  17. what gorgeous carpets. but i have to admit i have a soft spot for the Wedgwood plates - my mother brought back a whole set when we moved back to the us from england --- unfortunately my dad ran over them with the car when a suitcase full of them was accidentally left on the driveway!

  18. That is so perfect! I love it when things suddenly 'click' into place. The carpets and beautiful green pottery are my favourite things too. Jane xx

  19. I love that painting....I used to have it as my screen saver.
    I remember sitting on a rug on my bedroom floor as a child, wishing and wishing it would fly. I really thought that if I believed enough it would take off and carry me away. I tried for ages...well it seemed like ages.

  20. Thank you so vry much for all of the comments. I love hearing from you and appreciate you stopping by to share. We try to reply but do not always have the time. But we do read each comment and they bring us much inspiration.
    Minerva and Mrs Black x

  21. It is an absolutely wonderful idea and a most magical space - to go with tte carpets! :) my mother had some of those majolica plates which I think I will keep although I have absolutely nowhere for them really...

  22. oh I love the bohemian cat - she is fab!

    Nikki x


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