Taking Steps Towards Ethical Luxury, With A Merida Studio Rug Certified By GoodWeave


My children are grown. They don’t live here any more. Of course, now that I understand their capacity to thrive in the wild, I want them back. Ah well, let’s make lemonade.

As we have discussed, I’m turning my son’s room into a workroom, albeit one with a piece of furniture that looks suspiciously like a bed. My daughter’s space, on the other hand, will become the Guest Room, capital G, capital R.

But first we had to sort through two and a half decades of detritus. Beloved detritus. We brought both my kids home last month, with the express intention of clearing out.

Daughter's-Room

“OK, Mom,” said my daughter the morning after she arrived, “Let’s go kick me out of your house.” I sputtered to answer, she replied, “I’m joking, Mom.”

We kept a lot. Beverly Bear, the dancer and the pith helmet. The photos and the figurines. As I said when I finally thought of a good response, “I’m happy to keep your treasured memories. But not your trash.” Every now and then I come up with a pretty bon mot.

Decluttered, we were ready for the first tenant. A rug.

Grand Tournai from Merida Studio

You see, I’d been in email discussion with a reader, Linda Pakravan of Access Design Group, for a while. (You can see her blog, here.) She’d been sending me gentle and constant reminders about sourcing rugs certified by GoodWeave. I’ll let the site speak.

“The handmade carpet industry exploits nearly 250,000 children. GoodWeave is helping to combat this problem and transform the rug industry by certifying child-labor-free rugs and by providing education and opportunities to rescued and at-risk children. The GoodWeave certification is implemented by GoodWeave International.”

In shining recognition of the group’s work, their head, Kailash Satyarthi, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, I would love to support their cause.

But it is difficult for the individual consumer to “shop” GoodWeave. Which is why Linda’s help was so useful. She suggested I look at rugs from a Massachusetts company called Merida. Not only GoodWeave certified, but committed to revitalizing the Fall River textile industry. Their portfolio is beautiful.

I was intrigued, charmed, and happy to be following up on my commitment to make the blog support these values. I want to align a love of luxury I cannot relinquish with my belief that humankind can get better if we just try.

Ethical luxury.

Here are the other samples Linda sent. Lots of jute, sisal, wool, linen. Perfect for an imaginary Sonoma house.

Merida-Rug-Samples

Here’s the Grand Tournai I chose. In Vanilla. Look at those long, long channels.

Merida-Grand-Tornai-on-the-Floor

Shadows fall across it like private art.

Shadows-on-Merida's-Grand-Tornai

It’s wool and sisal – soft and textured, both. Comfortable for bare feet, and for sitting. I’ve already tested it with toddlers, thumbs up. The full subtle impact registers in person.

Guest-Room-with-New-Merida-Rug

The room itself, right now, looks fairly pitiable. So much to do. I’m after the same didn’t-work-too-hard, decorated-from-a-lived-life, imperfect-but-thoughtful look as in the rest of my house. But, I also want to live up to the elegance of the rug.

What would I like to reuse, if possible? For one, I am sentimentally and aesthetically attached to this duvet cover. Yes, I know it’s just a glorified sheet. Love’s unreasonable.

Sentimental-Duvet-Cover

I’d also like to keep a table from my grandmother’s house. I’ve been told it was built in the 1930s, as a reproduction of 19th century furniture. Sounds about right, Grandmama spent the ’30s as well-resourced wife to a Springfield, MA business owner. She liked a little glamor.

1930s-Side-Table

And this Pottery Barn dresser, because I have no interest in buying more furniture than necessary. Drawers are handy. Surfaces are useful for displaying mementos we just can’t throw away.

Pottery-Barn-Chest-of-Drawers

And no way are we dumping Beverly Bear, her Rabbit cousin, or a hand-painted chest that was always used for dressup clothes. Ah the ice skating costumes and suit jackets. Kimonos and scarves. Spangles upon spangles upon spangles. But I digress.

Folk-Art-Chest-and-Stuffed-Animals

None of this goes together automatically. But we’re resourceful at midlife, are we not?

I’m thinking I’ll use window coverings, another side table, an upholstered chaise longue, and lamp shades as unifying elements. I imagine cream windows, a matching side table, a vivid print for the chaise, and red or turquoise shades. But, I imagine a lot of things.

I’ve realized I like to use rugs as a starting point. For the workroom, it was this Harlequin from Annie Selke. For the guest room, I knew I wanted simple and white-ish. I’d considered this, from Serena & Lily. But now the Grand Tournai is on the real floor. GoodWeaves is, as they say, in the house.

I’m living with it to see what ideas evolve, passing the door every day, and imagining.

Let’s open the virtual floor to you. I learn from your thinking, even it takes a very different slant than mine.

 

Affiliate link to Serena & Lily only may generate commissions. No compensation from Access Design Studios or Merida received.

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19 Comments

  • Your new rug is beautiful. It is similar to the wool carpeting I had in my master bedroom and study. (The rest of the house had maple wood floors.) One of the things I know I will choose when I finally find and buy my own new place, is a bedroom rug. My carpeting was gorgeous. But in the past I’d always had a rug on a wood floor, and I know now I prefer that. I’m adding you Good Weave link to my list of resources. I like to think that when we know better, we do better. I’ve always purchased things from artists and craftspeople whose work I found out about locally, and blended that together over the years, a positive effect of that is knowing who did the work, how they lived, how they were paid. I’ll use Good Weave to do that for my rug as well. I look forward to seeing how you unify the elements in your room. I do love an eclectic room, full of pieces with a history. Thank you for another lovely piece.

    07/23/15
    8:54 am
    Lisa said...

    @Katherine C. James, Thank you. This is one I am very happy to have been able to write.

    07/23/15
    10:38 am
    Susan said...

    The Weavery can do any color way.

  • I love the new rug! I had heard of Merida and had even perused some sample, but had no idea about their commitment to ethical practices. Now, I will pay more attention!

    I also really like the duvet cover. Love the colors and the design. The painted chest for dress up clothes is right up my alley also!

    I think this room is going to be great. I need to do some work on the extra bedrooms in our house. Some have been untouched since 1995! It’s time to shake things up a bit.

    07/23/15
    9:18 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan, Oh hooray!

  • This kind of rug is a very different feel, but just in case any of your readers love handloomed rag rugs, take a look at: http://www.theweavery.com

    We had The Weavery make a custom room size rag rug for us and we love it. We are considering another.

    07/23/15
    9:20 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan, Ah, wonderful resource. Thank you. I love their motto, “Weaving pastiche with precision.” I might borrow it for life;).

  • The rug looks glorious, even on screen, and your room is evolving organically — what I love best! And so pleased, but not at all surprised, to see “chaise longue” spelled correctly here. It so seldom is. (we can’t help our pet peeves, can we?!)

    btw, we’re still storing a couple of boxes per child, and mine now range from 30 to 39. . . they all know they’re on notice and we’ll downsize eventually, but no one’s rushing to recover their treasures. . .

    07/23/15
    9:21 am
    Lisa said...

    @Frances/Materfamilias, So happy you approve! And I had to FIGHT WordPress to be allowed to spell chaise longue as I did;). No one’s rushing to recover their treasures. Ha!

  • That rug looks both elegant and practical. Good to know about GoodWeave certification too!

    07/23/15
    9:43 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan (une femme), Thank you. The key is knowing being able to link aesthetic to ethics – Linda was really helpful, I couldn’t have done it on my own.

  • My husband and I are on vacation. We were looking at handmade rugs in the Madeline Island artisan crafts shop yesterday. We need a new rug for the bathroom, but as much as I want to support local artists, I am thinking that $120 is an awful lot for a rag rug that will be vomited on by cats.

    However – I will not buy something made by cheap, probably exploited Chinese labor, either, so either we go rugless or we pay for Made in the US by Our Neighbors. It is a privilege to be able to make and afford those distinctions and I am happy that we are in a position to do so.

    07/23/15
    9:44 am
    Lisa said...

    @the gold digger, I am happy to buy from China, but not from abused workers. It is a privilege to buy from a mix of ethics and aesthetics, I agree.

  • Your room looks very nice, except for the knobs on the beautiful night stand. I would have already replaced them with round knobs!

    07/23/15
    12:27 pm
    Lisa said...

    @AK, How funny! I find the knobs to be part of the charm. I guess they are quirky, I hadn’t even noticed:).

    07/23/15
    3:51 pm
    E. Jane said...

    I also find the knobs to have some very interesting and attractive “other era” charm. I would keep them. Are they able to be straightened so that they’re uniform?

    07/24/15
    9:57 am
    Mary anne said...

    @AK, I also like the knobs. Part of the charm and quirkiness of an old piece.

  • Good to know about Merida, and your rug is beautiful. Some of those samples looked awfully scratchy, so it’s good to know that yours is soft. I think that all of your pieces of furniture will be just fine together. While I wouldn’t replace the knobs on the old dresser, I would straighten them out.
    A few weeks ago we had French-speaking visitors and I cringed as I referred to our chaise lounge, but I thought that using “longue” would just sound pretentious to them. I’m so glad that you got it right.
    Best piece of advice I got about a guest room: make a little card that has your home network (or, even better, guest network) name and password on it so that they can use your wifi. Our guests really appreciate it.

    07/24/15
    4:16 pm
    Lisa said...

    @MJ, I will go straighten the knobs! And I’ve read that about the wifi card. I will do it.

  • Gorgeous rug, and as I will be re-doing one guest room into a grandchildren’s room, I’ll will bookmark this source. I do think a guest room should be extra inviting, and there’s something off-putting about that head board (to my eye) – not cozy, or comfortable. I think an upholstered headboard would work better with all of the other hard surfaces, to soften the room. I do love the duvet cover and can imagine lots of fabrics mixed with it, vintage grain sack pillows, etc. I love the original knobs by the way as well. It’s just the head board.

    07/23/15
    3:33 pm
    TheHuntingHouse said...

    @kathy, Isn’t it funny the things we see. For me, I wouldn’t even be able to open the door on the room, much less WORK in the room, until the bed/headboard was centered beneath the fixed pane [in the middle] of the clerestory window unit.

    07/24/15
    7:12 am
    Lorri said...

    @kathy, The room is fine. Yes, the bed not being centered bothered me. Ha. Poor Lisa with our opinions!

    07/24/15
    1:09 pm
    kathy said...

    The bed not being centered bothers me too, but I was thinking maybe it couldn’t be?

    07/24/15
    4:18 pm
    Lisa said...

    @kathy, I’m happy to have all the opinions! I posted in hopes of hearing everyone’s thoughts:). In terms of centering, The windows run almost the length of the room. I put the bed where it’s always been, ever since I moved into the house in 1986…The placement leaves space on the floor to move around, or sit, or play with babies and toddlers. I suppose I could center more on the window component directly above the bed?

    07/25/15
    7:03 am
    TheHuntingHouse said...

    @kathy, “The placement leaves space on the floor to move around, or sit, or play with babies and toddlers.” I’ll take your structure over mine any day!

  • Reclaiming the space our children occupied for a guest room and a hobby room happened pretty fast after they left home…my husband jokes that I had a paintbrush behind my back as I closed the door when our daughter left for her own place at 28!
    I quite like the carpet…you’ll be able to add a variety of patterns or colour with a neutral shade like that one. Looks like you are having some fun!

    07/24/15
    4:26 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, I am having lots of fun – taking a pretty windy and slow journey, but I’m learning a lot. Love the idea that you had a paintbrush behind your back:).

  • Lisa, I’m so glad you love your new rug! It’s beautiful. Thank you for supporting Good Weave and my beloved Massachusetts. And many thanks for the mention on your blog!

    The quirky hardware on the table? Love it!

    07/24/15
    7:13 am
    Lorri said...

    @Linda, I love the knobs too. Just needs straightening.

    07/24/15
    4:26 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Linda, Thank you SO MUCH for your help!

  • Forgot to add, we have one child, almost 30, and two attics. One attic is nearly half full of her “beloved detritus” and one guest room’s closet is packed with clothes. We will need at least a month to sort through it all when we downsize. Can’t imagine how much we would have collected if she had a little brother!

  • Love this, “I’m happy to keep your treasured memories. But not your trash.”

    OK, mea culpa. I turned and “maids room” into a room for the grandkids. Went the Ikea route. So it’s bunk beds with cheery covers. Now my girlfriends love sleeping in the bunkhouse. Not luxurious in the least but it’s an easy place to put ones head down. The girlfriends fight over who gets the top bunk. They think it’s a hoot. The best part is simply having my grandkids and friends in my house. Next time I’ll put out some candies, candles and the latest magazine.

    07/24/15
    4:27 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Sandra Sallin, The Bunkhouse! Don’t we all kind of want a bunkhouse?

  • Love your carpet! It is so beautiful in its simplicity! And perfect as a start point for all kind of directions in your decoration
    It is so important to support local craftsmen and artist and also child-labor-free firms
    So great to have grown up children,but also it is sad how time goes by fast,I miss time when my son was little. This fall he is going to London to continue his study and that is great, but…….you know!
    Dottoressa

    07/25/15
    10:14 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, Yes, I do. I know. <3.

  • What lovely carpet! (A “rug” to me is a patterned thing, maybe tribal, many colours.) I would spill coffee on it in 5 minutes so will enjoy walking barefoot on it vicariously.

    I am not sure you need to centre the bed on the clerestory window, as long as you anchor it–for example you could put something with equal presence (such as the chest of drawers, with lots of photos and a lamp on top, giving it more height) at the same distance from the left side of the window as the bed is from the right. Alternatively you could move the bed to the perpendicular wall, so the length of the bed runs parallel to the long thin window. The lines would work aesthetically, and someone lying in bed could look out at the sky.

    I love those handles your grandmama chose. I even love that they’re not straight, whispering of all the hands that have opened those drawers.

    Can you paint the chest of drawers? (You can even paint melamine Ikea furniture so I imagine so.) You could paint the headboard and any other odd pieces to match–a light colour would make them less ponderous, and let the beuautiful wood of your grandmama’s table really sing.

    Then you just need some things to gather in your pretty duvet cover. I’d go for delicately patterned lampshades picking out one of the colours, and some cushions for your chaise longue. Or you could be really grand and have an upholstered headboard and reupholster your chaise longue in beautiful patterns that echo your duvet cover.

    07/25/15
    4:16 am
    Lorri said...

    @Philippa, All great advice and options.

    07/25/15
    10:17 am
    Lisa said...

    @Philippa, Yes, my family would use the word “carpet” only to mean something nailed to the floor. Anything you can move is a “rug.” I don’t know if that’s unique to us, an American thing, or what:). As it happens, I remembered I have an old English chest of drawers in the garage, same wood as my grandmother’s table, and it’s got brass handles. One drawer is broken, which is why it’s in the garage, but I can finally get it repaired, and then only the bed will be black. Which might work, since the chest has the black detailing.

  • I just stumbled across your blog and I am so glad I did! I have just had my first child move out and am trying to figure out what to do with her room. I am still caught in the phase of wanting her to move back home even though I know that’s not about to happen. It’s very hard to get my mind around clearing everything out.

    07/25/15
    10:18 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kells, Welcome. We are a crew of like-minded sorts, of all ages. Some readers are the mothers, some are the daughters who have moved out. Happy to have you here.

  • I love the new rug. It looks and sounds so inviting. I also like the idea of room to play on the floor with babies and toddlers. Can the bed be moved to the opposite wall? It raised a question in my eyes too, but I’m all for useable space, and I’d pick space first. Sometimes the trick is just looking at things slightly differently than the way they’ve always been.

    07/25/15
    10:20 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, Thanks! The opposite wall is occupied by closets and built in bookshelves. I think once the chaise longue is in – it will sit under the clerestory windows on the opposite side of the wall to the bed, it will balance the room out in the way people are wanting. Especially if I go for a big, vivid print with some red in it;).

    07/25/15
    10:52 am
    Mardel said...

    @Mardel, Ooh, so much potential for imagining…

  • ♥♥♥♥♥ GoodWeave! Your readers are the best.

  • I love Merida rugs! I’ve followed them ever since I entered a contest to win one. (I lost, by the way.) I love your duvet. My daughter told me that she and her roommate spent an hour trying to explain to roommate’s boyfriend why he needed a duvet and what the purpose of said duvet actually IS. He finally got past it when they said “an envelope for your comforter.” No. I’m not sure he really understands.

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