Welcome to the Floor Show

by | Apr 2023

Assortment of vintage rugs from Curio Rugs.

Photos: Chris Emeott

Retailer offers insight into finding the perfect vintage rug.

Impactful design comes with an anchor—an element upon which the entire space is created. Look around any room in your home. If you don’t see it, consider that you might be standing on the foundation of that particular space’s design aesthetic—the rug.

Excelsior’s Amanda Birnie knows a thing or two about how to make visions a reality. She is a portrait and interior photographer by trade. Through that creative lens, Birnie developed another career path—selling vintage rugs. “I believe that the perfect rug can make any room unique, inviting, stylish and warm,” she says. “A vintage rug will add an incredible statement piece to a room without having to renovate a thing.”

In 2020, Birnie opened Deephaven’s Curio Rugs as an e-commerce store out of her garage, offering vintage rugs for interior design enthusiasts and those wanting to elevate their home décor. Within two years, she secured a new space and, a few months later, wanted to expand the showroom to accommodate more inventory, including rugs with different styles, designs and colors. All of which provide customers with more options to execute their design visions.

Amanda Birnie at the Curio Rugs showroom.

“The craftsmanship of the way [vintage] rugs are made is incredible.”—Amanda Birnie

How does one find the perfect rug? While a piece of furniture, artwork or architectural standouts typically serve as a room’s focal point, rugs can also stand on their own to make a statement. When designing a room, Birnie suggests starting with the rug and building the rest around it. “Start from the ground up,” she says. “Find a rug that speaks to you, and from there, add in the furniture and other pieces.”

Oftentimes, customers will have an inspiration photo of a rug and focus too much on finding that identical piece. “I ask people to be really open-minded when choosing a rug,” Birnie says. “I have customers who come with an exact rug in mind and that piece might be one-of-a-kind … Don’t get caught up in finding that same rug. Focusing too much on a certain color can also hinder finding the perfect piece,” she says. Tip: Birnie reminds us that matching paint color to a rug is easier than matching a rug to a paint color.

Assortment of Vintage Rugs

Let’s talk size. The dimensions of a room should dictate the rug size—not furniture placement or décor staging. Birnie recommends that the size of the rug exceed the size of the largest piece of furniture in the room, such as a couch or bed. “For a typical-sized room, a good rule of note is at least one or two feet on the end passed your couch or bed,” she says. “When you get out of bed or off a couch, your feet should land on the rug.” If you find a rug that is smaller than what Birnie suggests, she was quick to note that layering is a popular trend in the industry. “You can get a large braided rug and put the vintage rug on top of it,” she says.

So, what is it about vintage rugs that makes them so appealing? Birnie says the appearance and durability of rugs from more than 50 years ago are different than rugs that are made today. “The craftsmanship of the way [vintage] rugs are made is incredible. They were made to take a beating, quite literally,” she says, referencing the way rugs were cleaned prior to the use of vacuum cleaners as we know them today.

Curio Rugs Showroom

Most of the rugs in the Curio Rugs showroom are between 60–120 years old and come refurbished from Middle Eastern suppliers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. “They’re really amazing,” Birnie says of the rugs. “Almost brand-new condition.”

While Birnie hasn’t been able to travel abroad to visit suppliers, it is on the bucket list for this year. “There is something about seeing a rug in person versus online that gives it a little more,” she says. That holds true for her showroom. While clients can shop online, she encourages them to stop in and see firsthand what she offers. “My favorite part of the job is helping a customer find a rug, and then they send me a photo of how much they love it in their space,” she says. “I absolutely love that part.”

Amanda Birnie and Rugs

Naturally Clean

Birnie says vintage rugs are easier to clean than today’s synthetic rugs because they do not have a plastic backing and are made from wool, enabling them to naturally wick stains and liquid.

To spot clean a vintage rug, she suggests using water and a gentle soap. To fully clean a rug, providing you have space to do so, soak it in cool water and let air dry, preferably out in the sun. It’s not recommended to ring or twist moisture out of the rug. Laying out (flat) the wool rug is the preferred method.

Curio Rugs
18285 Minnetonka Blvd. Suite B, Deephaven
Facebook: Curio Rugs
Instagram: @curio_rugs


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