Months ago, when I sat down and began to write out how I envisioned NODE looking, there were lots of similar elements springing to mind. Lush plants. Candles. Worn wood. Sheepskins. Vintage rugs.
NODE is my latest project, a designer houseplant and event space in Lyttelton, New Zealand – just outside of Christchurch.
As I stood inside the skeleton of my partner Giulio’s old iconic restaurant Roots, surrounded by the dusty remnants of its former fame, I could close my eyes and so clearly see how it would look. Looking back, I realized that I was imagining a feeling of coziness, of the abstract Scandinavian hygge vibes, of being home instead of a specific look. I wanted people to walk in and FEEL something. I wanted the place to elicit emotions and to tell a story.
With hideous blue lino beneath my feet and a decade of kitchen grease on the ugly yellow walls, one of the first things I decided to do was paint the crap out of this place and invest in rugs to cover up the floor, which I also would paint. Luckily the front two rooms have beautiful original rimu wood flooring. Goodbye, ugly lino!
I want to preface this with the overarching statement that I do not have any design or fashion background.
I create places based on feelings and how I want to feel when I’m there. Also, I’m not too fond of blank space. Empty white walls, straight lines, and minimalism really freak me out. With NODE, I wanted to share (and sell) a lifestyle. In many ways, it’s my lifestyle. My muse is Hilton Carter.
Creating a cozy home jungle where you can sit on the floor, snuggle up and be surrounded by plants, be cozy and comfortable, AND have it look great on Instagram.
Is that too much to ask?
I suppose you could say my design aesthetic is unapologetically messy chic. Luxurious chaos. Wild feminine design. Whatever you want to call it, when you walk inside NODE, you let out a big sigh and smile because you feel like you’ve come home. It’s a place that makes you happy.
That’s what I’m going for.
Our throwaway culture upsets me, and I’m actively working on making smarter long-term decisions about the things I buy. We all have a choice where we spend our dollars.
Going into setting up NODE, I also realized I wanted to repurpose, reuse, and upcycle as much as possible while styling the indoor jungle. Avoiding fast fashion and crappy furniture was a top priority for me. Preferring to invest in quality, hand-made, responsibly sourced products, I promised myself to buy second hand as much as possible and breathe life back to things that have a story.
I started searching for authentic handmade, vintage Turkish rugs in Christchurch and around New Zealand and damn near about fell off my chair in shock at the prices.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t find anything for under three grand. On top of that, I looked at finding at least two to three rugs to cover the back floor of NODE. Everything was murky in explaining how the rugs were sourced, and the rest were replicas that were itchy and awful.
I’ve spent plenty of time cruising through rug markets in the Middle East and unwittingly been duped into more than a few factories on my travels. I know the industry can be dodgy with no transparency and wild markups that rip off both creators and consumers. With no trips overseas for the foreseeable future, I needed to find a way to get the souk experience at home from an honest source.
My partner Giulio once told me I was expensive. He’s not wrong. I have no problem admitting that my taste has always exceeded my means.
But now I faced a real conundrum. How could I set up NODE in the way I envisioned without having to take out a mortgage to pay for it?
So I started searching. And where do I go for design inspiration? Blogs, and Instagram. Luckily my oldest blogging friend C’est Christine just redid her house in California with some of the most beautiful finds and tips (which she has saved on her Instagram Stories).
It was on Instagram, where she introduced me to Revival Rugs, which curates one-of-a-kind, restored vintage rugs that don’t cost the same price as my first car in New Zealand.
Thank you, Christine!
As soon as I clicked through to the Revival Rugs website, I was hooked! It was beautifully designed with a keen eye for tech that made searching for your dream one of a kind rug amazing. And it was within my budget!
Measuring up my space, I quickly realized which sizes I needed and starting to hone down the search tools by color and size. And then price – you’re on a budget, Liz, let’s stick to it!
I didn’t care one bit about the rugs matching each other (messy chic, remember?). I wanted them to overlap or be right next to one another in the back room where our events will be held.
Even with the shipping (which I offset) and import duties into New Zealand, I managed to pick out two perfect handmade vintage rugs for less than one rug price.
Likewise, it was essential to me to source used rugs because I wanted NODE to be a fully functional and friendly space where you don’t have to be precious about what’s inside. We’re going to have parties and dinners and events and workshops on these rugs. We’re going to be celebrating and making friends and connecting with like-minded folk on these rugs. Babies and puppies will crawl around here.
And also, NODE has a lot of plants, and a lot of plants mean soil and dirt everywhere. Worn rugs with a story fit perfectly.
Rugs are made to add warmth and comfort and to facilitate the gathering of friends and people. This is exactly what I want to achieve at NODE.
I spent ages pouring over the Revival Rug site, choosing from the Classics category, which reflects the traditional vintage Turkish rugs with deep blues, dark reds, and a central medallion that draws the eye to another more floral patterned rug.
When my dream rugs arrived, and I laid them out for the first time, I sighed with joy. They were beautiful. Worn, colorful, and cozy, I stretched out on them with my puppy Guapa and smiled.
And just like that, NODE was instantly transformed.
These incredible rugs are a reflection of who I am but also who I want to be. The project and comfort in NODE and make people feel welcome. When I walk across them, I’m happy, and I’m proud to share where they came from to their new home. Lots and lots of people ask about them.
Now I can’t wait to get more – my next one will be turquoise!
Revival Rugs has kindly offered you guys 10% off rugs with the promo code “YOUNGADVENTURESS10” – choose wisely!
Ever heard of Revival Rugs? Have you ever invested in something vintage with a story? Do you have rugs around your home too? Share!