TALK­ING SHOP

With their store and web shop, Old New House own­ers Melissa and Dave Dil­maghani share their ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of vin­tage rugs.

Flea Market Décor - - Contents - BY ANNMARIE MARTIN

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.”

Pho­tos cour­tesy of Old New House

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