25 August 2010

Vintage Navajo Rug: UpCycle-able?

I was quite distraught about this.....

valuable vintage Navajo Rug of mine that
got damaged in storage

estimates to repair the damage were in the
thousands of $$$

...until I saw these!

really fun sofa and chair upholstered
in antique Tunisian kilim fragments...
very chic in this room!

none other than the beloved French interior designer Madelaine Castaing
loved these tribal rugs too and used them with abandon!

from Jeanne-Aelia, my dear friend at Through the French Eye of Design

French designer Pierre Yovanovitch used kilim remnants
to add texture and drama to a simple interior

a very "kilim-like" Missoni fabric upholstering the
venerable Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

from 3rings

Now there isn't an ottoman or chair anywhere that's safe with me! Wouldn't my damaged rug look fabulous as a pouf? or covering a clean-lined modern chair like this one?

What do you think? Ideas, please, brilliant readers!!

{from Kit}


  1. Noooo! don't cut it!

    In a past life I restored damaged rugs and honestly, it is just logical. First identify the warp and find a substance to duplicate it. (I am not familiar with Navajo rugs, wool or twine,but the warp is the lengthwise threads). Draw it through an inch before the break, then continue and inch after. Anchor it with fine cotton stitches if necessary.

    Then buy all the colours you need in tapestry wool (closest convenient match to rug wool, which is fairly rough). If you need a more subtle colour, blend them by twisting strands together. Use colours which are less bright rather than more bright.

    With a tapestry needle (big eye, rounded end), and starting at least half an inch from the break, weave over and under the warp. Leave the ends loose on the back side.

    When you are finished, dampen and gently beat the mend on a flat surface covered with a towel.

    It is worth it!

  2. Dear Tricia Rose

    What incredible advice! I do love this rug, but it has a *lot* of damage. On the other hand, it sounds like you really know what you are talking about here..if you really think it's possible, it would be *quite* a wintering-over project as the rains begin here in the Bay Area!

    I'll be thinking this one over!

    mille mercis!


  3. Upcycle is indeed a word used by a very smart shop called Creole Cottage here in New Orleans!
    I think restoring the rug yourself is worth a try, but I doubt that it will add value like the pro job that would cost $$$, but maybe it would add more life to it as a rug.
    Have you had the rug appraised? Is it worth the investment of a professional job?
    xo xo

  4. Kit, I do like the idea and great instructions from Tricia Rose. For something of historic and cultural value I usually would vote for the repair if it can be reasonably accomplished.

    However, if you do bail on the fix-it-yourself project, I could see this as a long, low pouffed ottoman to use in front of a sofa. You would then be able to retain the full design of the rug. It would be great for secondary seating, propping one's feet, etc. After all, it started as a rug so the feet-propping would be totally appropriate!

    Let us know what you decide. Merci!

  5. I do feel for you Kit, what a loss. But you might fix it it will take the wonderful advice from Tricia Rose and a LOT of careful planning and choosing of materials. I would try it. and not cut it . Genie's idea of using it on a long ottoman is great.(is it an ottoman size if you bring down the border? You could make a slip cover of sorts and just sew the corners like a bed cover with some strong thread this way you could do something else one day if you wish.What a host of advice you are getting! we just can't see cutting it just yet. bonne chance!

  6. Caleb John25 August, 2010

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. I once fixed a rug of mine, and it was pretty much like Tricia (above) explained. And I only used my instincts, no research, I guess it turned out pretty good for someone who didn't know what was doing! It is still being used!
    But the recycle idea makes sense , too! I would recycle it if you can't fix it! Good luck.

  8. I'll go against the grain here (what else is new?) and say I love the reupholstering idea - the top photo of the redone modern furniture is fantastic. Keep us posted!

  9. Och!z przyjemnościa wielką zaglądam do Ciebie.Mnóstwo tu inspiracji.Serdeczne pozdrówka podsyłam-aga

  10. Hi Kit,
    I also like the idea of re-purposing the rug.
    It would make a lovely ottoman.

    I am so sorry about your sweet pup. Our 7 year old Tommy has neurological problems and it is heartbreaking. He is improving so I'm not complaining.

    Big hugs,

  11. It looks like you have some great options. I love 'patina' on silver as well as textiles. Since the rug looks like it is in good shape other than the damage, I don't think leaving it look 'aged' would work. If you absolutely love it as a rug, I'd attempt to repair it. If you aren't happy with your mending job, then you have several ways to use it.

  12. Just love this post!!! the choices of rugs for the various upholstery is truly wonderful, eclectic, interesting. However, i am not sure that i would use your valuable rug, i probably would attempt restoring it.

  13. It's So nice information. thanks for the information.work at home

  14. It's awful when something you treasure gets damaged, but I love the attitude of the French Country aesthetic...if you think something is beautiful, it still retains that beauty as it receives the marks and scrapes of age. I can't decide which way you should go as there are so many great ideas either way! If you wanted to keep the rug a rug, I think I'd hang it on a wall behind a piece of large furniture...that way they could overlap slightly and you could conceal the most damaged end behind the furniture, and still enjoy it as a piece of textile art. If you choose to upcycle (which I also think is brilliant!) I can't help but see it on a piece of traditional furniture...I think it's because that center pattern reminds me of houndstooth...it makes me want to see it on a really great deep masculine arm chair, like you'd see in a cozy library or study by the fire.

    Hope Ava

  15. Insurance ????

  16. I actually love the idea of upholstering something with it, but that's me. I didn't know you were in the Bay Area!!
    I would love to meet you and get together one day.
    Dolores from Vignette Design and I were thinking of doing a bloggers luncheon. What do you think? There are quite a few of us here in the Bay.
    Now that I'm a few weeks away from official empty nest hood, I'm thinking maybe one day I can make one of those trips to France with you :)
    Have a great long weekend!!!

  17. I think another factor to consider is, how will you best enjoy the rug?? If you fix it or have it repaired professionally, will you put the rug on the floor or will you store it again?? If you use it to upholster a piece of furniture, you'll likely see it and enjoy it every day. And isn't that the whole point to having beautiful things in your house?? :-)

    Maybe an interim option could be to hang it on a wall while you decide whether to fix it or re-purpose it.

    Good luck!!


  18. I think they look great! Do you think they would look good on base of a lamp like pear shaped???????? Maybe in a room without much color????? Just an idea. thanks, Kit for your comments lately I appreciate......Maryanne xo

  19. I love the idea of using the rug in totally different ways. I think any good Persian rug shop should be able to repair/restore your piece, however.

  20. I've always loved the look of layered kilims! I just love the layers of textures and patterns. Thanks for stopping by and giving me a good laugh yesterday. I hope you're having a good (and not too cool!) weekend! Grrr . . . :D

  21. IF you choose to splice and dice, I would just really think about what piece of furniture you are applying it to. It will most likely be the last stop for the rug, so make it really special. Ex. I have an old chair from my grandparents that it would look great on. Then I would keep it as an accent in my master bedroom, for a little less usage and more protection from the everyday that goes on in the rest of the house :) I can't wait to see what you choose.

  22. love the idea-use it for an ottoman and some pillows--let us know what you will do!

  23. I think it would look fantastic on a bench at the end of a bed...

  24. bring em on... love them all... anywhere... anytime!! xx

  25. Just one word: special. I admire you so much. If you want, come and visit me...

  26. Oh, I really do hope you can fix it with Tricia's advice, it's a beautiful rug...though the chairs in the top picture are quite special... Hope your week is good, Love from London x

  27. I'm going to come down on the side of preservation. To help determine if it is worthwhile you can take it to an appraisal day at Michaan's or Bonham's and Butterfield for more specific information on the rug... age, style, pattern etc.

    This looks like an older rug which means serious thought should be given to repair to preserve value and our Native American Heritage. A good textile conservator can easily stabilize the rug. A directory is available at www.conservation-us.org. You could also contact the DeYoung Museum or the Oakland Museum which both have a nice textile collection and they would have some suggestions. It does not necessarily involve a lot of money.

    The Kilims seen in the pictures look fabulous on upholstery and pillow and usually come from large rugs with extensive damage. The Kilims are not nearly as unusual as Navajo rugs.

  28. Excellent,very interesting.Bravo.

  29. I don't have any idea about rugs and carpets but as far as I'm concern they're still look expensive and elegant. just sharing my thoughts, what ever your problem about your stuff hopefully you'll make the right decision. Thanks!

  30. I just hope you will love the come up of your idea of cutting it. I know you are a natural good when it comes to fixing things. It reflects with your blog. Take care

  31. Samuel Eldred17 November, 2010

    The upholstery design is so great! It is just perfect to add variance in a room. Maybe I should suggest this to my sister. She's planning to have a small event at her new house. She is currently picking her upholsteries for to match the concept of the house, I guess she should try this upholstery wrapped with carpet. Cleaning (Downers Grove) won't be that hard since there are cleaning services offered across the block. Carpet cleaning (Downers Grove, IL.) staffs in the neighborhood gives their best service to clients to satisfy their expectation and also to have their loyalty.

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I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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