With their store and web shop, Old New House owners Melissa and Dave Dilmaghani share their extensive knowledge of vintage rugs.
Melissa and Dave Dilmaghani are the real deal—and their shop in Katonah, New York, proves it. The styles at Old New House have been carefully curated thanks to the couple’s history in the rug-selling business and their aesthetic sensibilities. Dave worked as a fourth-generation rug seller in his father’s rug store; Melissa has a degree and professional experience in photography. Their backgrounds help them identify which trends are just passing fads and which will be sticking around. The Old New House brand began on Etsy, with a few rugs the Dilmaghanis had collected and some antique pieces from their 2011 wedding they wanted to resell. The Etsy shop eventually evolved into an e-commerce website, and then, as their inventory and clientele grew, they knew it was time to take the next step with a brickand-mortar presence. They celebrated their shop’s grand opening in September 2016, featuring a huge inventory of rugs (most of which are housed in the barn they also own behind the store), as well as custom furniture pieces and decorative items the couple created themselves and vintage home décor offerings.
While they try to cater to all customers with an eclectic mix, each piece they acquire has to speak to and fit their brand also. “It has to be something we would want to end up with,” Melissa says. But more importantly, “you have to follow the waves.” Thanks to their extensive knowledge of design history and the fact that trends are cyclical, the couple can often spot the pieces that are about to be popular again. Rugs are sourced from collectors, suppliers who draw from countries like Morocco and Turkey, and various auctions and markets. “They do the picking, and we select the best of the best,” says Melissa. With a lucrative e-commerce site, they can offer free worldwide shipping. But now they have their sights set on a more local base, bringing the surrounding community together with events such as a weaving workshop with textile designer Whitney Crutchfield, which they did in June. And they are sponsoring an exhibit at the nearby Katonah Museum of Art that features artists who’ve been inspired by rugs. They also plan to continue setting themselves apart by presenting their rugs in new ways on social media. Each rug is getting a video and photo diary so that customers can get better acquainted with their purchases. “A rug is really the anchor of the room,” Melissa says. “Like the center of a puzzle that other décor pieces lock into and fit with. Unlike a new rug that has thousands out there in the world just like it, a vintage or antique rug has a personality and soul.”
“A rug is really the anchor of the room,” Melissa says. “Like the center of a puzzle that other décor pieces lock into and fit with.”