Kelly Vittengl is fast gaining a reputation as the go-to girl for adding that all important base layer to any room. With a well-established rug business Frances Loom in the USA (you better be on the mark when she launches new stock on her website once a week!), she has now made her way to Europe and is settled down roots in Notting Hill. We spent the morning trying to persuade her to open a London store…
How did you end up where you are today?
Since I was a child, I have always known I wanted to work in interiors. My love for beautiful spaces is one of those innate things that I can’t really explain. I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City for university, where I studied fashion, textiles and interiors. I moved to LA straight out of school and began working in set design for a massive e-comm fashion site. I started to realise that I wanted to move full-time into interior design when a couple of models I met at work wanted to hire me to decorate their homes. I left my job shortly after and dove in head first with design. As I was shopping for clients at flea markets, I began buying a rug that I couldn’t pass up, even if a client didn’t want it. I decided to start the website as a little side project and it ended up totally overshadowing my design business! I dropped design and decided to move forward with the website. That was 2.5 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.
I have always been infatuated with rugs. I can recall several times throughout my life that I had seen a really beautiful, well-worn rug and just wanted to die for it. The amazing thing about these rugs is that they are all one-of-a-kind and handmade. So, when you see one that you love, it very much adds to the beauty of the rug (and the pain of knowing you’ll never be able to own the exact same one!).
Where does the name Frances Loom come from?
I was sitting at my desk, at the job I mentioned above, and I picked up a pen and just started writing. It was like a stream of consciousness; I wasn’t really thinking about what was coming out. Suddenly Frances Loom appeared and I instantly knew that it was the name. Frances is my Mom’s middle name, and a loom is obviously what rugs are woven on, it was perfect!
Can you give us any tips on things to look out for when buying a rug?
My signature look is a rug that is well-worn – the more beat up, the better! I always look for low-piles, geometric patterns, and good colours. Those are the 3 keys in my book.
Where is your favourite place to travel / go sourcing?
I have yet to go to Turkey and Iran which are at the top of my sourcing list, but any European market is pretty great. I have a few dealers that I work with directly, but going to flea markets (or "car boot sale", as you Brits say!) is my favourite thing to do. It’s such fun, I love the challenge in hunting for new pieces.
What’s next? Are we going to be seeing your rugs available in London?
Currently, all of my items are shipping from the US (only $40 flat rate!). I’m looking at getting some pop-ups together for my London clientele, but I think we’ll be US based for a bit longer!
Where you’re cosiest and comfiest. I am all about comfort, and I try to design my living spaces with that in mind. I can’t stand a house that you feel like you can’t sit in. I love lots of art, pictures, candles, and plants. It’s really about making your home you.
What do you sleep in?
I typically sleep naked, but I like to have a little get-up to wear before bed and when I wake up in the morning. My YOLKE PJ’s are perfect for this!
Thank you, Kelly!
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Santa Monica Antique Market
Long Beach Flea Market
Pasadena City College Market
Alameda Flea Market
Ardingly Antique Fair
Old Spitalfields – on Thursdays for antiques!
Sudbury Antiques Market
Brimfield Flea Market
Literally any market you can find! I did a whole bunch of small markets all over France last summer and they were all great.