Home Is Where the Rug Is: How a Well-Designed Living Space Creates Strong Lasting Memories for the Holidays and Beyond?
Ancient Greeks were fascinated by the goddess Hestia, the divinity of domesticity, family life and home. Hestia also signifies the hearth, the warm, welcoming center of the home, where all family members unite.
Nowadays, work obligations, school assignments and ever-increasing time spent on screens of all kinds (phones, tablets, TV and gaming monitors) make it much harder for families to get together around any type of hearth (the kitchen table for Sunday brunch, or the dining room table for weeknight dinners). Everyone is too busy to properly connect: There is never enough time to have a proper chat and eye contact seems to be the ultimate luxury to lavish upon one’s loved ones. Children hide in their rooms in front of iPads and iPhones, parents watch the news and the stock market on huge monitors, then anxiously search for some peace and quiet on Netflix before bed and then, the day is complete.
My earliest childhood memories center around an antique Turkish rug my parents had purchased in the 70s. I remember our living room with its carefully selected mid-Century furniture and Bauhaus tea sets, some objets d’art bought at auction and the usual frames upon frames of family photographs. The atmosphere was almost austere, the room had an ambience of seriousness. I had to be careful navigating this room that was filled with such artifacts of design. (I was often reminded not to bring food, beverage or writing instruments in the room!).
I am certain I learned to crawl and, later on, to walk on this antique Turkish rug; at the very least there are plenty of pictures of me attempting these activities. I played on it when all the adults were having cocktails around me. There are photos of me as a baby, and later on, as a toddler looking happy and mesmerized by the patters and the colors, by the tangible aspects of its weave. Years later I was calling my best friend on the land line for hours stretched out it or spent my time reading many books laying on this beloved possession. The antique rug had become part of my childhood, adolescence, my overall upbringing. It was a part of our collective history as a family. I associated family gatherings, happy and challenging times with it, laughter and tears, anxious moments and relaxing evenings. For me, this was the hearth of the house, the heart of our home. It gave me a sense of safety, a feeling of peace and calm. Years later, after leaving my paternal home, I would think of the rug and the room it had adorned and would immediately get a sense of security and optimism. The rug was intricately connected with my previous selves, with my own history. Visiting the house now as an adult, I get the same nostalgic happiness for that time.
How is it possible that a simple, tangible possession we use to decorate an interior space can evoke such powerful emotions? We spend so much of our lives indoors, at our house or the office. It is essential our spaces reflect our personality and taste. Elevating our surroundings makes us feel and perform better. In my case, the antique rug of my childhood, had become a symbol of familial harmony. It had become associated with holidays, fun festivities, lovely evenings with friends and family in the comfort, warmth and safety of what we then called home. With the holiday season upon us, we can all create new memories and cherish past ones by spending valuable time with all our loved ones in a great space that is welcoming and pleasing to all senses. An exquisite rug will make the room come alive in a unique way. Aesthetic beauty and good company are a great combination. And needless to say, we will surely get to enjoy these new memories and our rug for many years to come.
Posted November 8, 2022 Written by: Paul Rousseas.