Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tattered Love

On a few occasions, I have been privileged to vacation in homes which have been standing for centuries and which richly reflect the patina of their years. One of them, in a little village near Stirling, Scotland, I've rented with friends three times. Even now, I am saving my pennies to get back there for yet another stay.

What is it about this house? It haunts me in the same way that Ashcombe haunted Cecil Beaton and Brideshead possessed Charles Ryder. Standing tall in the middle of a great swath of open countryside, it presents a forbidding facade to approaching visitors.


Once inside, however, the interiors are more welcoming, much like a crusty old uncle with a nougaty center. Colorful rugs lay across sloping floorboards and the walls are brightly painted in an effort to soften the brittle rays of the cold Scottish sun.

The front entry is painted the color of sunshine itself. And everywhere, in every room, those rugs. Tattered, worn, threadbare and absolutely perfect.

In a house this large, some rooms can't help being held captive to a gloomy northern exposure. But there's always a design remedy. Here, the library rug acts as the visual equivalent of a fireplace, giving the room a vibrant heart and warming up the entire space.

No corridor is deemed too unimportant for a precious remnant.

This is just a long way of saying that last weekend I bought two small area rugs for my house. It's been fiercely hot here in Hollywood and my remedy for coping with heat is to resolutely ignore it. I consequently decided that since I couldn't go to Scotland for some cold comfort, Scotland would come to me.

Here's the first one. I love it not in spite of its condition, but because of it.
You can tell from the photo that it's seen better days. In fact, it's just a piece of an old runner, but I don't mind. It's my own piece of history, over 100 years old, and bearing the ghostly markings of all the feet which have trodden upon it.

The second rug is pictured below. Again, it's faded, slightly threadbare and worn in just the right places.
(Yes, I realize there's a cat in the center of the frame. Fellini was insistent on having his portrait taken, and it felt churlish to refuse him.)

Until the temperatures drop (which will probably happen sometime around October), I'll be confining my reading material to novels set in bitter, inclement climes, and drinking copious pots of hot tea in a supreme effort to convince myself that it's not actually 98 degrees outside.

When the heat's on, one does what one must to survive.

27 comments:

Jane said...

There is something about Scotland which gets under your skin. My ancestors are Scottish and when I first went there 13 years ago I felt like I had come home. Lovely rugs, I am a big one for tattered things. As long as they are not in shreds of course.

Angie said...

I adore rugs! There's such great romance in their history. Yours are lovely and full of character. I imagine you'll enjoy them for years to come.

Style Court said...

I adore, threadbare rugs, too. Lisa, yours are beautiful and bring even more soul to you house!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Love your new purchases!! That house in scotland is amazing -those rugs! Perfect for a northern exposure.
So funny that you drink hot tea in the summertime too! Everyone says i'm crazy -but I swear it cools me down! Think cool thoughts.

m said...

What a lovely place to stay. But if you are coming over in this direction, you would also love Castle Leslie in Northern Ireland, which was - still is - the home of Churchill's Irish-American cousins. (On his mother's side; Lady Leslie was one of your famous American beauties, the Jerome sisters.) Anyway, the house is now a hotel - not as expensive as you might think - and the bedrooms are amazing, their brushes are still on the dressing tables, you can even sleep in the nursery full of children's toys. And the rugs are as shabby as you could dream of! I've just looked on their website www.castleslie.com and they seem to have had a refurbishment since I was there about 5 years ago, so I hope they haven't titivated too much and spoiled it! It felt like the family had just gone out for a walk! If you sat by the fire, you could see nailholes - in a dellarobbia fireplace! - where the children used to hang their stockings at Christmas.

hello gorgeous said...

A crusty old uncle with a nougaty center might be the best thing I've ever read.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Perfect, no surprise, and I love the kitchen walls.

pve design said...

I see myself accompanying you to this house, as your resident artist, capturing all the divine moments and adding a certain "cool" to many heated debates over which rug was most weathered, most cherished.
I feel obliged to do a similar post....we have some tattered love here beneath our very own domain.

Might I add, your new old rugs really add cool factor.
pve

home before dark said...

Love them to tatters! Old rugs do tell stories. The American preference for only new will do means rooms look filled without being soulful. More than on a one occasion I have used the back side of fabric in projects. Each to her own warp and weft!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Lisa-


Ah, yes, the frugal Scottish sensibility makes for great style! Delicious. The rugs alone! Great pix.

And outdoors--just the sight of the country fences, the private entrance, the farm gate--makes one think of wanders across the hills and dales forever.

Then you come in from the walk: Light the fire, dim the lights, pour a drink, and dine on a sumptuous country feast. Hmmm...I am there.

wild thyme flowers for modern romantics said...

Dear Lisa, what a wonderful post! You have this rare combination of being stylish, authentic and soulful all at the same time!
I'm from Scotland (born) so am thrilled that you see it in a way that many people don't.
I read another lovely post a little while back over at The House of Edward and she wrote a gorgeous piece about the rain and cold in Scotland.
And I can see why you love Gargunnock Lodge. I immediately googled the house and found details about it's history and a description that read "Staying here feels rather as if the family has gone away for awhile. They have taken their things but the furniture remains". And Frederic Chopin was a friend and frequent guest".
And of course, love the rugs! Sorry about the length of this..couldn't help myself!

StuckInABook said...

Beautiful photographs, beautiful rugs, beautiful cat!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Jane: Lucky you having Scotch blood!

Angie and Style Court: You would have loved all the other ones at the store I went to...there were stacks and stacks of them.

ArchitectDesign: Great minds think alike...I love that you're a hot weather/hot liquid person as well...

M: Castle Leslie sounds EXACTLY up my alley. Thank you -- I will check it out...

PVE: You're invited anytime! Do a post on your rugs...I'd love to see them.

Home Before Dark: The back side of fabric ROCKS....one of my favorite tricks as well...

Diane: Couldn't have said it better myself, my dear!

Wild Thyme: Thank you so much for your comment. Where in Scotland do you hail from? It's such a lovely place. And yes, Gargunnock is special. The piano that Chopin played is still in the living room, and the ancestral portraits on all the walls gaze down at you as you walk past, so there is quite a strong presence of the family who once resided there!

Stuck-In-A-Book: Always so honored when you pop by!! xx

Cat Sitter in the City said...

Love the old rugs and that cat is also gorgeous!

Michelle Parks McCourt said...

what a slice of heaven. love the history.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, someone else determined to ignore reality! I do the same thing when it's hot and miserable. In fact, I have a little tradition...on the hottest day in August, when it's absolutely unbearable outside, I take myself off coat shopping! It is the perfect remedy and the newest, most divine coats have just hit the stores! I do so love cold weather! And, of course, Scotland.

Scott Fazzini said...

Dearest Lisa, reading your posts always puts a smile on my face. I admire your attempt to snub the Summer heat. In the midst of Summer I often crank up the air-conditioning, prepare some delicious hot cocoa, curl up in bed with my darling cat, Ella, under layers of down, and (most embarrassing of all) put in the Little Women dvd.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Scott: You and I have GOT to hang out.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Cat Sitter: Love your blog..Charlotte is quite the looker.

Michelle and Pamela Terry:There's nothing better than exploring heaps of history in a winter coat. Pamela, LOVE your idea. I'm a coat fanatic, too, (no surprise, I suppose) and shopping for wool in July sounds heavenly.

helen tilston said...

You are all lovers of the "highest, sweetest note" It is that pinacle that keeps us plodding on. I have been to Buckingham Palce, St James Palace and Castleturvin a private resident in Ireland where I spent 3 months. May the inner passion always keep aligt in you. Here is my tv documentary which depicts my love and my treasure
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1ftQOEWrLk
www.pleinairecottageartists.com
e-mail: tilston188@yahoo.com

Tavarua said...

Lisa,

Excellent Post,

Those oriental Rugs....Great pictures - Perfect .....

Carpet/Rugs goes back to ancient times of the Greeks....

“Oh gracious thrones, layer upon layer, were piled rugs of all kinds, the wonderful works of busy mothers of the warriors.” – Homer (as written in Odyssey)

GUGAW said...

oh lovely! and that scottish house looks beautiful, what a fab idea to rent out with friends

JMW said...

Simply divine. Looks like a wonderful place to explore.

home before dark said...

There is just a little bit of Bloomsbury heaven awaiting you on the Venetian Red blog. Art by the group, of the group. Enjoy.

Clarity said...

Beautiful rugs, their age reveals the artistry even more.

I must try not to get jaded by stately homes and castles. Their gentle sloping grandeur is unique. I like how it called to you as in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.

Filipino love said...

Beautiful house which welcomes beautiful people. I'd love to be visit on that house like you. Comfort of a beautiful home is like a comfort given by or loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharring importent information in this blog.
It was very nice.
Aşk flashları,yazılı soruları'new generation portal.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin