In the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Spain (near Granada), where I live, I simply can’t imagine my house (cortijo) without area rugs. The floors are all natural terracotta tile, and although it’s wonderfully cool on the feet in summer, in spring and autumn, and especially during winter, my toes long for something other than tile.
My Shaggy Shag Rug Studio
I look around the studio from where I write, and I can count 8 area rugs, just here in the studio, and it’s none too many. There’s a thick wool shag rug in front of the fireplace, but I have a few used rugs layered around and on top of each other, a little like an Arabian tent floor, just that I leave the stone area nearest the fire exposed. Since my studio is open I can see the salon (living space) and kitchen and dinning area from where I sit.
By the kitchen basin there’s a super long shaggy white and reddish purple shag rug that somewhat matches a royal purple chair throw (I got in India), and I have it in the kitchen because I love my hubby to sit and talk with me while I make salads, so I have a comfy chair and rug in the kitchen, which I know is odd, but it works for us. There’s also a large round shag rug (more of a low pile chenille rug) under the antique round wood dinning table beside a long wood console table I got in Belgium. (I know this is about rugs, but my console table is a work of art, all hand carved with two drawers and twisting legs, and the best part is that the top lifts up and has a second table top that is made of travertine marble and converts into a bar).
I also have a fabulous antique Russian Samovar (that my mother-in-law gave me) on the console table and a small gilded mirror above it. But, I’m getting distracted…this is about the shag rugs that are near my console table and all over the house.
More of my Shaggy Shag Rugs
Oh…and there’s the white sheepskin shag rug (from somewhere in Northern Europe…I’m not sure where because it was a wedding present) beside my bed. Mmmmmm, my toes love that shaggy sheep in the morning! There’s also a turquoise blue shag rug on my hubby’s side of the bed, which he bought from a local goat herder/carpet maker in the mountains above the house.
At the foot of the bed is a huge white shag (that could be and should be in the living room) that I just bought about two months ago in a mountain village. It’s an exquisitely soft white shag rug that my 3 cats love to curl up on. But it’s such a huge rug that I think when I finish renovating my antique house (which is quite another story) I will use it as the central rug in the living room. Anyway, I also have two multicolored (traditional alpujarreño) shag area rugs at the entrance to the courtyard (yes, in Spain, mountain homes called cotijos still have courtyards).
My Shag Rug Collection
So when I talk about rugs…I might actually know what I’m talking about! I’ve bought (or been given or somehow acquired) area rugs over the last 20 years as I traveled as a journalist, throughout Asia and Africa and Europe and the Americas (mostly South) and I have collected a lot of rugs.
Some are still in storage in Asia, but I will one day have all my area rugs in one place – my wool shag rug from a Mongolian trader, my strange American leather shag rugs that a friend sent me from New York, my Persian rug with the swirly Islamic motif, and my round Chinese rug with the lucky emblem in red and my all time favorite Tibetan rugs, one that is a sheepskin shag rug and the other a hand knotted wool area rug with a delicate Buddhist motif.