While living and breathing interiors over the last eight or so years I’ve learned a lot about what makes a house a home. For me, it’s a slow and continually evolving process. Rather than being dictated by trends, I follow my heart and look for pieces that fit with my personal style and the way we like to live. I love natural materials and I’m drawn to well crafted, sustainable design. There is something special about welcoming a piece into your home that you know will be with you and your family for years to come. More than ever this year we’ve come to realise that our home is our sanctuary and that we love being surrounded by pieces that bring comfort and a sense of calm. Our Armadillo Agra Knot rug from The Ivy House, which we introduced to our home in 2018, immediately springs to mind. Beautifully hand-knotted in sustainable wool, it transformed our dining space and continues to inject a quiet luxury into our everyday lives. Working with The Ivy House is always the most enjoyable experience, and I am completely in my element choosing from their incredible range of Armadillo rugs. When it came to deciding on a new rug for our living space, I couldn’t wait to do it all again and I’m excited to share the results of our second collaboration.
The Ivy House was founded in 2014 by Annie Loveridge, who works closely with Armadillo to bring their collections to New Zealand. Driven by ethics as well as aesthetics, Armadillo strive to leave as little impact on the earth as possible. Each rug is made consciously and responsibly by hand from natural and sustainable fibres, using Fair Trade practices. Designed to counteract today’s throwaway culture and stand the test of time, both in their aesthetic and unquestionable quality, each rug is nurtured on its journey from fibre to finished product by the skilled hands of artisans in India. This inspiring process, one that Armadillo say they are honoured to preserve, has been passed down through generations and imbues each rug with a gentle energy, rare soul, and sensory purpose.
The Agra Knot is part of Armadillo Heirloom Collection and celebrates the perfect imperfections of hand-dyed and spun wool. The hand-knotted rug (which can see two, three or four weavers knotting one rug at a time) is worked in a single colour with a deep cut pile that reflects the light. Having lived with our first Agra Knot rug for over two years, in the dining area of our light-filled open-plan space, I know how beautiful this effect is. Bringing so much character and warmth, it is also incredibly robust and easy to keep clean. I loved the idea of having another Agra Knot rug and felt that it would create an elegant, seamless connection between the two spaces. The next step was deciding on the colour and size.
Known for its beautiful earthy and rich hues, the Agra Knot collection has expanded from six to ten colours, with an additional 26 custom colours on offer. Below is a selection of samples I photographed at The Ivy House showroom. Needless to say, I was taken with the warm neutrals!
As part of the selection process, I created a shortlist of three colours, and brought home samples to test out in our space. In addition to seeing how they looked at different times of the day in the changing light, I wanted to see how the new colour looked alongside our existing Agra Knot rug in Pearl. Because they would be placed in the same open-plan space, it was important that the two colours would offer a contrast, while still complementing one another.
From left to right above, my shortlist included the custom colour Limestone, one of the original colours Oyster and the custom colour Soapstone. While each one is stunning, I felt that the Limestone was a little too similar to our existing Agra Knot in Pearl (shown above in our dining space) and the Soapstone was a little too light for the space which has all-white walls. In comparison, I found that the darker tones of the Oyster inject a wonderful depth and contrast to the airy space. I love how it grounds and defines the living area – so important in an open-plan space – while creating a gorgeous pairing with the neighbouring Pearl. Looking back, Oyster was my second choice when choosing a rug for the dining area, so it makes sense that I arrived at this conclusion!
Another important factor for our new rug was the size. I wanted to ensure it provided good coverage of the living area and that the front legs of both sofas would sit on top of the rug, providing a warm and cosy feel underfoot. In addition to the Armadillo Custom Colour program, The Ivy House offers a Custom Size and Shape option, so that you can tailor your rug to your home or project. Luckily one of the standard sizes on offer (2.4×3) was perfect for our space, but it was great knowing that we could tweak this if necessary.
I love how our new Agra Knot reflects the light showing delicate nuances of colour, tone and texture. The striking new Ebb & Flow II artwork, a thank you gift from Anna Church who I interviewed recently for TDC, was a well-timed arrival to compliment the new-look space.
We’ve been living with our new Agra Knot rug for a few weeks now, and it feels like it has always belonged here. Both grounding and nurturing, the kids love to sprawl out on it and I don’t blame them at all! A handcrafted work of art, it has injected the room with so much soul, while bringing with it a sense of permanence. My favourite place to unwind at the end of a busy day and on weekends, I couldn’t be happier with the result.