Art and Decoration for Town and Country Homes

Building Rooms From the Floor Up

Art and Decoration for Town and Country Homes

Building Rooms From the Floor Up


Building Rooms From the Floor Up

Art and Decoration for Town and Country Homes


IN A way it is a good sign nowadays, I think, that there are so many bare floors in newly-furnished homes. People are willing to stand the bareness, even the cold of them for a period, in order to afford at last the right floor-covering.

The terrible doctrine of expediency with which modest homes have sometimes been “temporarily” dressed underfoot, seems to have no allure for the age of hardwood. In the presence of fine floors, which are now so generally the rule, rugs are in a position to show up in the scheme of decoration as they were never before and never has the Canadian person of average means been so blessed in the offering of beautiful and reasonable rugs when the time has come for making a permanent selection. The domestic rug has indeed come into its own of late years.

Before one goes into the matter of actual purchase, it should be a first consideration to go to the shops on a tour of study, learning the various types of rug, their comparative points, textures and weaves. You will then become acquainted with the two major varieties, which fall into variations within themselves, the Axminster and the Wilton. The Axminster is first distinguished by its deep, thick pile; the Wilton by its velvety pile and compact weave.

Your fancy will undoubtedly be first taken with the remarkably beautiful worsted Wiltons, which in design of the most charming character and plain color, are now so prominent among the best floor-coverings. You will also note the Scotch Broadloom, which is invariably a plain carpeting.

The Scotch Broadloom is an Axminster; it has the soft deep pile laid on a wool backing in strips of chenille. When you bend it back, you can easily see the otherwise imperceptible ridging of these soft strips. The Scotch Broadloom being backed with wool, has the advantage of lying close and soft on the floor, almost “flowing” into corners and giving a wonderfully soft tread. Although the standard width for seamless carpet is nine feet, this imported carpeting may sometimes be secured as broad as twenty feet. Its one disadvantage is that because of the laying of the chenille in strips (the traditional Axminster treatment) it has perhaps a greater tendency to wear than the compactly woven domestic seamless carpeting, I shall next describe.

The Canadian Rug

THE Canadian seamless is in theory of weave, really Wilton carpet—that is, it is backed on to a heavy cotton or jute base, and each thread caught at back. The wool used is worsted, so that the pile is really the same deep, soft texture as the chenille Axminster, with the comparative advantage that it is compactly and closely woven, rather than laid on in woollen strips. The same bending back with your hand will disclose this quality.

The domestic seamless, woven on the Wilton principle with worsted wool yarn, is produced on the “Jacquard” loom, which is provided with a sufficiently heavy arm to carry worsted or Saxony wool through the close Wilton weaving. It has been made as wide as fifteen feet in Canada, but as mentioned before the stan-

dard is nine feet. In the rug lengths, the standard area is nine by twelve feet, and there are some very handsome larger rugs twelve by twenty-two. However, these are only made to order in patterned rugs.

You will ask, is there always this draw-

back in the weaving of a chenille Axminster? Yes, the same qualities pertain whether in the carpeting or in the rug, domestic or imported, where the chenille is laid in strips. However, the domestic makers use a variation of the Axminster,

called “Moquette,” which thrusts the woollen threads through the backing and pastes them down. This does away with the disadvantage of a possible tendency to ravel.

The ordinary Wilton rug is of fine strong texture that defies wear, and it is particularly easy to keep clean. A very popular variation of the Wilton is the “Tufted Khorrassan,” a rug with very springy pile, and turned over at the edges to give it weight in lying flat. A Wilton rug is given body by the fact that the major part of its pile is buried in the fabric, rather than standing upright. The Tufted Khorrassan is a rug in which this buried softness is emphasized.

Though the Brussels carpet “wears like iron,” being one of the standard Wilton variations — because of its very flat, uncut pile, it seems to have rather gone out of its old favor. It is among the Brussels that you will find a rug dubbed the “tapestry” type, which in its better varieties, is the cheapest of the durable rugs. Instead of its colors being woven, they are printed in some manner or other usually by a process known as “drumprinting” of the warp. In their less desirable varieties, these rugs most resemble the old-fashioned, loose-woven “Machine Smyrnas.”

And, speaking of patterns and weaving, you will often have your attention called by a salesman to the fact that the design “comes through” to the back. As a matter of fact, this really means very little. In some of the finest woven rugs, the design is hardly discernible on the reverse side, and in many cases, they are backed up for extra body, which hides this back stitching as effectively as the lining of a coat hides the rough threads of its inside stitching.

In my opinion, the most alluring of any Occidental rug at the present time is the worsted or Saxony Wilton in the patterns of Chinese design. In soft buffs, blues and bottle greens, and the most restrained design with contrasting borders, they are objects to delight the eye and satisfy the most conservative taste. They are obtainable in the seamless, or with seams (that is, not all woven in one broad piece). The seamed rugs are, of course, less expensive. The Saxony Wiltons are, for the most part, made to order.

There are some very rich, soft-toned Oriental designs from original sources in both the Wilton and the “Moquette” Axminster, but my taste lies chief1 y with the plainer rugs. Dainty borders and very delicate conventional appear in the bedroom rugs, and the pastel colors in these are inspiration enough for charming light rooms.

The heavy domestL Wiltons, as I mentioned, are woven of worsted wool yarn cr Saxony wool, and there are a great many of tinCanadian rugs being made from Orienta! rr "woois. These imported wools are put through a rigorous cleaning, but they retain a certain nap and gloss which it seems impossible to get from at 5 b u t the Asiatic animals.

A n o t h e r medium which is being extensively used by the domestic rug-maker, is the cotton cheniMe, which produces the attractive, fresh-looking little bedroom rugs in bright colors, so much in favor. These are woven on the Axmin-

ster principle, ana are really beautiful.

Of late, the hooked rug has come into great popularity. Like the crochetted and braided and knitted mats, these are a revival of old handicraft. The hooked rugs are entirely carried out in wools today, although in the old days they were often varied with linen. From Quebec still come the charming woven rugs in stripes, procurable in the shops in rug-lengths or by the yard. An excellent replica of these, I find, is produced in rolls of generous width by the commercial manufacturers of rugs in the production of chenille strips. In all the beautiful colors imaginable, these are woven with sturdy jute thread holding the glossy wools in place. In the ordinary course of events the jute wool would be cut, and the strips of resulting loose chenille woven into Axminster rugs. But take it as it stands, do a little finishing about the edges to prevent raveiling, and perhaps a little firm backing, and you have a reproduction of the habitant rug in wool. It is a wonder to me no decorator has lit upon this delightful medium long since.

Then there are, of course, the informal rugs one may have made.

There are weavers all over the country willing to weave rags into rugs, much like the habitant variety, or old wornout woollen rugs into soft blendstripe lengths that are unobtrusive tone.

H? giene oi Rugs

IT SEFMS to me that there is no happier combination in the category of decorative effects than well-cared-for floors and well-chosen rugs. A “lady of the old school” complained to me one time of the passing glories of the board floor and “under carpet.” “Carpet right up to the walls, and rugs on top of that!” she recalled with relish. “And when we had dances, we stretched canvas over the carpet and danced on that!” I shuddered

keep their colors fresh, but to keep their pile lifted, and consequently their life prolonged. A down-trodden pile in which dirt and sharp grit are embedded will be worn away, whereas a clear, resilient, upstanding surface of a well-made rug spurns weight and wear and is without exaggeration almost indestructible in the ordinary course of domestic use.

Vacuum cleaners are ideal for use on rugs for two reasons. The first is that they remove the embedded dirt by suction, which entails no wearing out by friction or beating, and the second is that it raises the pile by the same token. It is wise not to use a vacuum cleaner on a new Axminster or Saxony Wilton rug, at least not until the pile has had a chance to “mat” down and settle. For the first three months use an ordinary corn broom and sweep with the nap; after that, the vacuum or carpet sweeper as indicated. Failing a vacuum cleaner, the next best regular attention is the carpet-sweeper, some of which have a sort of bellows suction attachment.

Every now and then, however, rugs need to have their faces washed. A good homely way to provide this is by soaking newspaper in a bucket of water in which a little ammonia has been poured. Be sure to use a mild solution. This torn up in pieces about the size of your hand, and distributed over the rug may be later swept up with a good brisk broom, bringing dust and surface soil with it in a very efficient manner with out raising a grain of dust. The present scientific way is in the use of a new evaporative soap mixture, which is applied with a brush much resembling those employed by street-cleaners. This treatment is applied against the pile, so that it is raised and vitalized, and the brushed portions dry immediately. This method of rug cleaning is now employed by hotels and clubs where huge rugs and corridors of carpeting preclude lifting for out-door cleaning.

delightful in their

at the thought of spring cleaning in such a household—and before the days of vacuum cleaners, too!

Blessed be the rug that is light enough and free enough to be rolled up and taken out-doors for a good periodic airing and dust-emptying. It is a fact that air is a tonic for rugs. The wool of which they are made is an organic product, either the hair or wool of an animal, and whether on the animal’s back or not, it is more or less alive and flourishes and rises when the ozone passes through it. The same theory applies to blankets.

Rugs require regular care not only to

I can picture in my mind’s eye the probably higgledy-piggledy placing of rugs which rejoiced the rooms of the little lady who loved “carpet to the wall, and rugs on top of that!” If there is one thing that the present generation has learned, it is the clearing away of stuffiness and the reign of space and order.

Rugs and their placing are primarily governed by order. The dimensions of room being essentially based on structural principles, the destruction of these lines by broken planes where most noticeable - -the floor—is decorative heresy. When rugs are placed in defiance of the lines

within which they lie—the rectangle of the room—the effect is one of confusion and lack of repose. There seems to be a popular fallacy extant to the effect that objects arranged “kitty-cornered” are cozy, and others at random are “artistic.” There never was a greater mistake-. Rugs should be parallel or at right angles to the walls within which they lie, and those of different sizes and shades must be very carefully arranged to avoid a diffused appearance.

With rugs it is possible to practically “make over” any room. Is it too long— too narrow—have you two insignificant rooms together—or what have you? Rugs will help you pull them together, elongate or broaden them.

Take the long narrow room for instance. One long rug extending from end to end will only serve to emphasize its length and narrowness. On the other hand, if you break up this length with three smaller rugs, their length laid cross-wise, you will have overcome both undesirable characteristics successfully. Between the rugs, panels of floor will be thrown into relief, which will break the over-pronounced length.

Two small rooms adjoining may be tied together and made to give the effect of spaciousness by a plain carpet extending between the two. An all-over rug is the best choice for a small room, for the reason that it diminishes the outline which marks the confines of the room. Board floors may be painted the same color as a rug to gain this effect, and hardwood floors given a closely resembling stain and low polish.

An overly large, rambling room is brought into control and unity by a directly opposite treatment. Here it is necessary to emphasize the boundaries of the room, in order to “tie it in.” Rugs which leave a definite border of floor space in an outline around the room, accomplish this purpose.