Choosing the Perfect Rugs for a Bespoke Cottage in the Northshore

When Kathy Bush-Dutton of New England Home reached out to us about partnering with NEH, Kate Maloney of KMID, and Jenny Johnson, we knew we wanted to be on board before we even knew the scope of the project!

We have worked closely with NEH for years in developing and organizing our annual 5 Under 40 event, which Jenny has emceed on multiple occasions. Jenny has been a client in the past for her Boston home, but when we found out she was moving to the Northshore, we were even more excited to take part! With Kate involved, we knew that the decision-making process would be easy, fun, and beautiful.


The partnership gave life to the Bespoke Home Cottage feature in New England Home Magazine. The spread is beautiful and the process of choosing the rugs was fun, informative and, at times, surprising.

Jenny and Kate visited us in our Salem showroom on a weekday and we spread out all the fabrics and finishes on a rug pile to see what they were working towards. Kate and I looked at the floor plan to figure out what size rugs were needed, and we got to work putting our plan together.

Collaborating on Rug Design and Aesthetic

Jenny knew that she wanted a casual and bohemian aesthetic but did not know exactly what that translated to in rugs. This is something we often run into when working with clients – they have the feeling and vibe that they want from the rug, but do not know what that looks like in a rug.

This is where Kate and I came in. We headed to our stacks of rugs and started flipping through, often breezing past more formal or traditional designs while stopping on pieces that we felt fit the feeling Jenny was looking for. We chatted about the rugs, where they came from, the materials used in making them and started to get Jenny to speak our “rug language” (props to Jenny for coming up with this term!).

“In some cases, we found a rug that we loved, but it did not coordinate well with previously selected fabrics and paint colors. In other cases, we knew right away that we landed on a winner.” - Ken

Finding an Absolute Must-Have Transitional Rug for the Dining Room

green wool transitional rug with silk highlights in dining room

One instant winner was the 9x12 rug that eventually landed in her dining room. This transitional rug from our producers in India is a blend of hand-spun wool with silk highlights. The green dyes have a lot of natural abrash or variation that helps the rug blend nicely with a wide range of fabrics. Jenny knew she HAD to have this rug, so we put it on hold for her and saw that it could work in either the dining room or the sunroom.

Pairing the Perfect Oushak and Moroccan Rugs for the Sunroom

As we shopped, we found a pairing for the sunroom that was an absolute winning combination, a soft-toned Turkish Oushak and a tribal Moroccan rug. These are a quintessential pairing of styles, one with a blend of soft pastels (the Oushak) and the other with earth tones in a large-scale geometric pattern (the Moroccan).

They balanced each other out perfectly. This pairing in the sunroom meant that the Indian rug was destined for the dining room. This ended up being a perfect fit because the Indian rug is particularly durable due to the hard twist on the wool and the abrash in the dyes (they hide the inevitable food spills!).

Handpicking the Cutest Pink Moroccan Rug for a Small Office

cutest pink moroccan rug in a small office with chair desk and bay window

The last and most challenging spot was the smallest - Jenny’s office. Jenny works from home quite a bit and was putting an office together that she could retreat to and focus on her work. 

“I want something feminine but tribal, textural, and soft underfoot.” - Jenny

At the time, it felt like a tall order. I pulled together a batch of rugs from our Salem location to prepare for the showing a few days later. The night before the showing, I was in our Boston location and decided to breeze through the 5x7 pile to see if there was a rug that worked for this tough space.

“As I flipped, it was like the rug found me – a soft pink Moroccan with cute tassels on the end and a plush and lustrous pile. I knew it was the winner.” - Ken

The next day when we arrived at the cottage to show rugs for the office, I kept my cards close to the vest. I showed the rugs to Jenny and Kate, speaking our rug language about each one along the way. We had some strong contenders and, even a strong front runner, until I pulled the pink Moroccan into the space and laid it out. I didn’t have to say a word, Jenny immediately swooned over the rug and said “that’s it!”.


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