This week I am looking at rugs. I am needing at least 3 possibly 5 rugs for the Crow’s Nest. What I knew when I began is that rugs are expensive and antique rugs are even more expensive. So of course like any good historian, I researched.
In the 19th century carpet was inexpensive and widely available for most middle class homeowners to put in there public rooms. Magazines and books on style and decor wrote “as it is customary in this country to carpet every room in the house, flooring need not be laid with a view to appearance. It is cheap to lay down an undressed floor, covering the joints with slips of brown paper and then spreading old newspapers instead of straw, under the carpet.” (The Economic Cottage Builder). Most carpet came in long strips and was sewn together. However Charles Eastlake, (he created the East Lake Style that was really popular at the time when the Crow’s Nest was built), preferred hardwood floors with an oriental rug on top. Oriental rugs were not as wasteful as carpeting wall to wall.
It was also common to paint hardwood floor and stencil them with a design or use a oil cloth/canvas rug that could be easily washed and scrub away mud.
I imagine the Crow’s Nest might have had a mixture of these. There is definitely a public vs private style going on in the house. Public spaces such as the parlor, dinning room, and library is where the family showed off their wealth and private spaces such as bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms were reserved for simpler less grand items.
Before you panic I am not putting wall to wall carpet on our hardwood floors. Our wood floors were refinished beautifully by the previous owners and besides some light refinishing when we moved in, the floors were in good shape. The only thing I saw was a patch in the floor in the dinning room, which is where the original vent to the coal furnace was located. According the Schaefer family, when they sold the house all the rooms downstairs were carpeted. So I assume that probably these were always carpeted. Thus my plan is to do what Charles Eastlake suggested and do woven or oriental rugs in the living room, library and possibly the dinning room.
I know for fact that the bedrooms hardwood floors were painted. According to Ashley, who was Leo and Rita’s granddaughter, they were painted blue but a little worn. Another owner later put engineered hardwood on top of these. One day I may pull them up to refinish them but this may not be possible depending on there condition. For now I am looking for a runner for the hallway and maybe a rug for one of the bedrooms but it is not a priority.
For the Living Room,
For the Hallway Runner
For the Dinning Room