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modernwinter 2008

IN HARMONY The co-founders of design firm INCLINEDESIGN have combined their collections of oriental rugs into one contemporary home whilst retaining balance throughout. Philippa Gort-Bartenfinds out how


modern winter 2008


1Twilight at the house

2Music room and kitchen,

through to outside terrace

3Living room and library,

with collection of Nain and

Qumrugs from Iran

The San Juan Islands nestle invitingly

within the rugged Puget Sound nature

reserve, an inland complex of marine

waterways off the Pacific coast of Washington

state. Within this dramatic environment live

the founders of INCLINEDESIGN, Caroline

di Diego and James Ferris. Their home, a

beautiful symbiosis between architecture,

nature and oriental textile art, is an elegant

solution to combining their lives and housing

over fifty cherished rugs and artefacts within

a relatively confined space. As designers,

Di Diego and Ferris have always enjoyed

working with clients who have textile

collections or pieces of their own to

incorporate. The challenge, therefore, that

their own change in circumstances provided

was right up their street.

In a space of just over 223 square metres,

Di Diego and Ferris have worked wonders.

They have created a setting which allows its

disparate elements to exist in harmony. As

Di Diego describes: “We needed to combine

old wood rich in history and patina, along

with rough plaster in warm colours, that

reflect both the rugs and the spectacular

sunsets we enjoy.”When asked what the

rugs especially bring to their home, Di Diego

responded: “They express visual texture,

warmth and colour, without which our more

modern designs might tend to the austere.

Their finesse, symmetry and organisation

give a sense of relaxation and order – so

important in this disordered world”. When

one looks at their home, one tends to agree.

Di Diego continues: “The colours and

designs, whether the sophisticated Nains,

Qums, Kashans, or the tribal rugs, offer a

feel of different cultures; they add mystery

and excitement to the design of any

residence; they invite interaction”, and, of

course, as Ferris adds, “they feel good!”.

The San Juan Islands house is not just a

temple to textile art. It is also ecologically

sound, and includes numerous innovations

to work with the environment in which it

dwells. Even the roof was specially created;

a composite product made from recycled

automobile tyres, it prevented nearly 900

tyres from being dumped in landfills or

burnt, and the air pollution that would result.

Now, Di Diego and Ferris are working ona

number of projects, most of which are based

outside the US; they will travel anywhere for

clients that have a love of textile art. A recent

commission took place in Japan for a client

wishing to display a collection of antique

kimonos. Di Diego and Ferriscollaborated

with New York rug designer Liza Phillipson a

selection of bespoke rugs designed to work

perfectly alongside.