Reader Dilemma

December 16th, 2010

Not to sound incredibly lame, but I tend to get a few emails a day asking for tidbits of advice or clarification about all sorts of things. Why? My charm and wit? My rocking six pack abs? My unfailingly keen decision making powers? The awesome power to eat sandwiches? Something like that for sure.

Since my inbox isn’t giving anyone else but me endless hours of decision making joy, I thought this might be a fun new thing to try.

Here’s the plan. I shamelessly repost someones burning question (I ask nicely), give a little context to the dilemma and of course my two cents. Then you guys can as well, since it’s fun having opinions.

Ann & Dabney Inquire:

“hi morgan-
i don’t often email people out of the blue, but my partner and i are stuck.  we went to see a rug yesterday on craigslist, and can’t decide if we love it or if it’s butt ugly.   we need a backup opinion and, in our minds, i’m afraid only you will do.  (we both have been obsessing about your blog recently.)  if you don’t have time to weigh in, or don’t want to, we totally understand.  we will still keep reading your blog, and muttering to ourselves periodically, “what would morgan do?”

usually, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but the purchase violates the $100 rule – not by much, but enough to make the decision pause-worthy.  here’s what we know: it’s a huge 100% wool, 9′ x 12′, thick berber pile moroccan rug. from the look of the label, i want to say this sucker looks like it’s from the 70s at the earliest.   we usually have strong opinions on things, but we can’t quite figure out the bright navajo meets swank beni ourain vibe it’s got going on.  and if that’s a good thing.  yet we still find ourselves thinking about today…”

Flattery will get you all over this blog.

But wait! Ann & Dabney have a really incredible (and giant) converted home.

I mean come on! They have style to spare. Check out their house tour HERE.

Below is a cell phone snap of the rug in question:

OK. Here are my two cents to rub together:

Yeah. Go for it.

Seriously, it’s a 9×12 wool rug in what looks like pretty excellent shape – that is a hard find my friends. Used Craigslist rugs are usually THRASHED and skeevy, and at around $100, this isn’t a huge investment for something that big. You already have a number of colorful patterned rugs scattered around your very awesome pad, so this isn’t going to stick out like a complete hot mess.

To clarify – the $100 rule is mostly a guide to keep budgets on track. It’s not so hard and fast, but gives a sense of where your boundaries are and context for certain purchases. I find it helpful, but there have been times I violate it of course. It’s like a mental wallet strap. Just look at Ikea, you can really only get a jute rug that big for this low price.

I’m pretty sure that this is not super duper vintage (it looks very fresh and machine made) but who cares! It’s cool and graphic and weird and is going to make a floor statement. Trust me, if you can’t stop thinking about it – you love it – it is very unique with a hint of that tribal flair that is so the jam right now. I say, throw it in the bedroom with the small white bed and if it doesn’t fit, go for the fireplace room under that great slab table. Move some things around and try it out, its always nice to switch things up.

What do you guys think? YES or BLECH?

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  1. monika on 12/16/2010:

    my vote is no… because I think it will take you places you don’t want to go. then again, it’s only $100, and worst case, you can resell it, mark it down to $75 if you have to and call it a $25.00 creative experiment gone wrong if you decide you don’t like it. so okay, my vote is yes.

  2. emma on 12/16/2010:

    I’m gonna vote no – something about that green just isn’t right – a little more fluro than bright and bold xx Emma

  3. Ryan on 12/16/2010:

    I dont like it. I feel it would be out of place in he room. But like you said for the size/price/condition it could be a gamble.

  4. lisa on 12/16/2010:

    I vote yes! it is rad! I love the tomato red & lime green together.

  5. Tonia on 12/16/2010:

    I like the rug, so I’m going to say yes, but offer them $60 for it.

  6. heather on 12/16/2010:

    Just discovered your blog…love it…no way that is a 70’s rug the white is way too white and it isn’t shaggy or berbery enough(take it from someone who was there ahhhhhhhhh…I’m with Tonia offer 60 – 75 tops!

  7. Tania on 12/16/2010:

    I vote yes. I love the green/chartreuse colour. I think it will look fresh with all that white in your home. It’s a really nice design too.

    The burning question though is, do you need a rug? The ones you have look marvelous.

  8. Fat Cat on 12/16/2010:

    Man, that rug is awesome ! Go for it, no doubt about it.
    Of course I’m a bit prejudiced because of my current obsession with red & green combined with black & white…

  9. Lisa on 12/16/2010:

    Love the house. Drooling over hospital bed, living room, dining table and especially the gorgeous rhombus rug. But hate the dilemma rug. The pattern makes me think of bad 90’s shirts and curtains. And the lime green isn’t helping.

    But hey, I’m not the one with the fab house or the awesome blog. I’m the one with the misch masch (yellow pvc windows with gold handles mixed with silver coloured door handles) semi-d, whose mix of white Scandi shabby chic and vintage modern isn’t working out so great.

  10. Shannon on 12/16/2010:


  11. Gwen on 12/16/2010:


  12. Appletree on 12/16/2010:

    I vote yes. The colors are fabulous

  13. Thevintagecabin on 12/16/2010:

    I vote yes but only offer them $99.99 for it. Who cares if it’s not that old, I agree that large, used rugs in good condition barely exist and it has the potential to look awesome. Go for it! Ps:I LIVE lime green & red together.

  14. Thevintagecabin on 12/16/2010:


  15. maya on 12/16/2010:


  16. Karin on 12/16/2010:

    NICE place! I say go for it! And I like your idea for the blog.

  17. Niamhy on 12/16/2010:

    Hmm I’m gonna have to say no. The house looks very tastefully done as is and like a previous poster said this rug may take you places you dont want to go! But it is all subjective. If like Morgan says you cant get it out of your head then maybe it has a place in your house. But my two cents would be not to go for it.. it’s bordering on cheap and nasty looking.. but thats just my humble opinion.

  18. Judy on 12/16/2010:

    From the photos, A & D have great design sense- my vote Yes.

    You can always resell.

  19. Sarah on 12/16/2010:

    I love the rug, YES!

  20. Bia on 12/16/2010:

    First of all, I have house envy now. Thank you very much.
    Second of all, weirdly, I don’t like rugs. I don’t have them in my home. I don’t do tribal. I don’t do primary colors. But that rug just gets you right *there*. I don’t know, maybe it’s the magic of the bits, but I’d go for it. It fits your space, your aesthetics, and I believe your style as homeowners. Besides, if it gets to be too much, you can always overdye, right 😉

  21. tenderleaf on 12/16/2010:

    Hell yes.

  22. julia wheeler on 12/16/2010:

    i vote yes but agree with vintage cabin to negotiate a lower price! always! i could, however, see one tiring of this after a while since it’s not as timeless as a navajo or kilim. p.s. gorgeous house!!

  23. Cheryl on 12/16/2010:

    I am in love with that rug.

  24. Tanya on 12/16/2010:

    First, let me preface my comment by saying I’m also not into rugs myself. Largely because we paintstakingly took up carpet to install hardwood floors. After all the labour, I’ll be damned if we cover it with a rug. Having said that, I think you should go for it! Your place already has a number of great, colourful rugs and this would be a lovely addition. I’m a total fan of the lime green, red, black and cream colour combo. But try to get it for less. I hate haggling myself, but you’ll feel even better about the purchase if you feel it was a real deal.
    By the way: AMAZING home!!

  25. kate on 12/16/2010:

    yes, a thousand time yes. I am a rug hoarder, but YES. and that apartment is blowing my freaking mind with its awesomeness.

  26. Angie on 12/16/2010:

    It’s okay not my favorite; I like the industrial-homey look to your place.

  27. THE BRICK HOUSE on 12/16/2010:

    I don’t think this is a forever rug, but hey, it’s a rug. Not the most permanent fixture of a house. My dogs would probably destroy it fairly quickly since they can be jerks.

  28. Gaidig on 12/16/2010:

    I really like it for your space, but I would be scared to have a white rug. My cat would totally puke on it. As long as it’s practical for you, I say go for it. And if it’s a Craigslist find, you can always try negotiating.

  29. ella on 12/16/2010:

    That’s a no-brainer. YES!

  30. Julie on 12/16/2010:

    I vote yes too.

    But more importantly….

    Damn woman. When the hell is HGTV going to snatch you up? You need your own show.

  31. dabney on 12/16/2010:

    thank you to morgan, and to everyone else for chiming in, both about the rug and our space. you all are voicing a lot of the same thoughts we’ve had about the damn thing.

    we DO need rugs, and more importantly, we need large rugs. all of our rugs were super inexpensive, and are a little on the wee side, i think. and like morgan wisely said, that is a good price for a rug that size.

    as for bright white vs. 70s dinge, the seller said that it had been professionally cleaned (but who knows). it also looks shaggier in person than it does in the photo.

    i think it is going to come down to price. he started out at $200, and i am slowly working him down (putting my Ph.D. in craigslist to good use). if i can get him down to the $100 or lower mark, i’ll pop on it. otherwise, i’ll let it go. another weird semi-shaggy rug of questionable taste and origin will no doubt come along.

  32. daddyjack on 12/16/2010:

    Yeah, grab it…the light colors will let you find Friday’s doggy stains easier. The bedroom seems the best location….nice feel for bare feet!

  33. jadie on 12/16/2010:

    yes yes PLEASE yes!
    let us know what they decide!

  34. my little apartment on 12/16/2010:

    yep yep yep yep!

  35. Emily on 12/16/2010:

    Do it!

  36. DelishMag Tamara on 12/16/2010:

    I vote YES! And, I agree with you about the bedroom with the white bed as well. NOICE!

  37. Suzy8track on 12/16/2010:

    I think that this is a rug from the 90s, not the 70s, because I had a very similar one that was blue and red. If you love it then I would offer $60 bucks and go from there.

  38. Kelly@TearingUpHouses on 12/16/2010:

    Yes on the rug. YES.

    Also, I am so in love with this house I HAVE NO WORDS. Love. LOVE.


  39. Riell on 12/16/2010:

    I love the house, really. But the rug: NO! It simply hurts my eyes, sorry.

  40. Amanda on 12/16/2010:

    I would go for it…AND I think this would probably be an exception to the $100.00 rule. You NEED this rug! Move the rug that is under the dining table to the bedroom with the white bed & put this under the dining table.

  41. Ellen Hanson on 12/16/2010:

    its so bad its good

  42. Quiana on 12/16/2010:


    offer less first. blame your partner. that’s what i do.

  43. megan on 12/16/2010:

    yes. people yes. stop being rug haters.

  44. erin@designcrisis on 12/16/2010:

    That house is wow to the 10th power. Damn!

    Get the rug. I loves it.

  45. chelsea on 12/16/2010:

    I say go for it. And why not offer less. My friend taught me the AFI rule, always Ask For It. If the answer is no, you’re no worse off than when you started!!

  46. Fiona on 12/16/2010:

    I’d totally bring it home because I like it. Anyway my copy of ‘What Would Morgan Do?’ (I swear it’s not hardbound) clearly states that Morgan occasionally brings home apparently bad taste stuff to keep things rad and interesting.

  47. christina slocum on 12/16/2010:

    But please send in photo when you have it at home in it’s place so we can double drool!

  48. KimberlyAnn on 12/16/2010:

    My own personal rule (for what it counts for) is if something sticks in my head, which seems to be the case here, then you should get it. Your gut is trying to tell you something.
    I totally agree with your comment about taking an upholstery class; I took one last year and have been able to do some great projects.
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your wood slab table. If you ever decide to get rid of it, it would look fabulous in my home in Florissant.
    Thanks for making the building look so awesome, we need more people in St. Louis to buy the older buildings and keep them fabulous. Yes, I’m a McMansion hater.

  49. Jessica on 12/16/2010:

    At first the green gave me pause… but I say do it. It’s a good deal for a huge wool rug. Put it down in your place, live with it for a few weeks. If it looks ugly and out of place then, relist it.

  50. Anna on 12/16/2010:

    liking this new post idea Morgan! I think the color and vibrancy of the rug will look quite rad in their home… esp for the price. Hope it’s still available!

  51. Stephany on 12/16/2010:

    Yes! I love it.

  52. sheridan on 12/16/2010:

    I vote a big YES! for this one, its wool and well made for one and not only that the colours go perfectly with your existing decor! Besides I say when you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it anyway and if after testing it out at home for a few months or so, you decide it doesn’t go, resell it – you may even make a profit! :o)

  53. Sarah on 12/16/2010:

    I say yes to the rug. It a good deal.

    Morgan – I love this idea! Keep’em coming. You could call it ‘Dilemma Day’ or something else fun a corny 🙂

  54. Tamoto on 12/16/2010:

    Hell Yes II

  55. stacia on 12/17/2010:

    ugh, I should be so lucky. I’ve been looking for a craigslist rug for 6 months now and the pic-kins are more than slim. JUMP ON IT. seriously. if you end up hating it, re-sell it and make a profit. That’s what I did with a love seat recently. And wool rugs that aren’t hideous floral crap are hard to come by in that price range.

  56. Rivka on 12/17/2010:

    Morgan, you are so nice to give your expert opinion fuur free. Yes, I luv you! I hate the rug, but weird how it *would!* look nice in that bedroom. I”d say if you can get him down to $100 I’d go for it.

  57. DD on 12/17/2010:

    I’m gonna say no, cos of the green.

  58. jeannette on 12/17/2010:

    orange and chartreuse RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULE.

  59. THE BRICK HOUSE on 12/17/2010:

    Yes, I control the website. Be constructive with criticism instead of launching nasty personal attacks. Your comment will obviously get booted. Disagreement is fine, but please be respectful.

    I emailed you directly earlier. Funnily you didn’t reply back but continue to keep checking the comments. Thanks for stopping by.

  60. Jill on 12/17/2010:

    Follow your gut and go against the norm. That’s what creates personal style, which you already got cause your place is freaking amazing! Everybody has an opinion right? If you like it, it’s cool! However, I’m here because I like Morgans opinion and she has a cute ass puppy! Oh, and good taste too.

  61. Michelle on 12/17/2010:

    I love the blog (been lurking for a while now) and a great idea to invite feedback from the commentariat.

    That said, I would pass on this particular rug. Bargain or no – personally I had a strong reaction yick, i think the colors, while strong aren’t somehow the right balance. Besides, if you really loved it, you would already own it…

  62. tj on 12/17/2010:

    go for it, your house is cool enough and big enough to take anything.
    i think the bigger issue at stake is interesting: the difficulty sometimes of deciding if you actually like something, i appreciate the dilemma: can you just not stop thinking about it, or do you like it. the stakes are higher in vintage thrift flea land because everything is one-of-a-kind (it feels), and everything is now-or-never… …hard to know also if you like it as a designer or aesthete, or whether merely, in some deep lizard-brain part of yourself, you just WANT it, or want others not to have it. Yes, it’s an overthink, but that’s the name of the game. what do you think miss brick house? thanks, fantastic blog.

  63. THE BRICK HOUSE on 12/17/2010:

    I just want things since I know I may never see them again. Especially at thrift stores. I still have things I regret not buying…

    I always imagine they might go home with someone who doesn’t appreciate them and then destroys whatever it is.

  64. modernhaus on 12/17/2010:

    Failsafe rule-of-thumb from one bargain hunter to another:

    Would you still want it if it was full price??

    Sometimes the biggest attraction is knowing it’s a great deal…which then alters the decision-making. I think if you really loved it you would have snatched it right away.

    Oh, Ann and Dabney, please forward your address so I can come and remove your kitchen cabinets to my house (and that crazy quilt hang-y thing in the dining room). Much obliged. 😉

  65. Ed on 12/17/2010:

    If it weren’t green and red, I’d buy it. But it just screams Christmas decoration to me.

  66. Ashley Weber on 12/17/2010:

    im stuck at awesome and disgusting as well- kind of looks like a mexican fiesta threw up, but at the same time in that amazing house I agree it would somehow blend. If the white is a stark white, I hate it…if it’s not, i’d say go for the purchase.

  67. Dabney on 12/17/2010:

    I am so fascinated by the compulsion/repulsion reaction to this rug. It looks like we are not alone.

    FYI- the dude is not budging on price. The plot thickens.

  68. janine robinson on 12/17/2010:

    go for it! those bright greens and orange-reds will go great with all your warm woods! follow the brick house!!

  69. Juli on 12/17/2010:

    The rug won’t jive with your diggs, but it would in mine. It’s a no go.

  70. GreenCanary on 12/17/2010:

    People, that’s a totally rad rug. Ugly, but in a good way, y’know? If there is any part of you that likes it, then you’ll make it work in your decor. With all of the beautiful wood in your home, the colors of the rug will warm right up.

  71. Beclu on 12/17/2010:

    It doesn’t matter I guess if I like the rug but the old rule of thumb to only buy what you absolutely LOVE and can’t live without would apply here I think. Otherwise you will get rid of it eventually. Wait until you find the ultimate score.

  72. Lorena on 12/18/2010:

    I say call this new colum “what would morgan do?” did anyone say this already?

  73. Cynthia Wig on 12/18/2010:

    Hm, that fringe is giving me pause for thought. Give it the sniff test? Look for bongs and cigarettes in the seller’s home? It’s a clean looking rug at a nice price though.

  74. johanna on 12/18/2010:

    absolutely beautiful post!!!

  75. Sue on 12/18/2010:

    Lorena – how about WWMD for short

    Ann & Dabney – I love and hate the rug at the same time. I’d let it go for a bit, he’ll come down eventually (hopefully). If he doesn’t or if it sells to someone else, maybe it wasn’t meant to be yours.
    Love, love, love your place! I’m a fellow St. Louisan and I’d love to come for a house tour (lol). I’ve shopped at R Ege Antiques before also, he has a very nice shop. Good luck on your choice

  76. Jerry Rose on 12/18/2010:

    Yes, it packs a punch and is a great price!!

  77. Ellen on 12/18/2010:

    do it

  78. MaruModern on 12/19/2010:

    Nah. I’d leave it. Can you honestly look at the rest of the house and say yep. That’s the rug I need. Plus she’s already dubious about it. I wouldn’t but something I didn’t like because it was a great deal.

  79. Ite on 12/19/2010:

    Hmm, i’d say NO as well, for 2 reasons:

    1) I have just been listing some misbuys on EBay. They all seem to share a common denominator: for most there was already some doubt in my mind when I bought it. (It doesn’t seem to change that much after buying it). If you were sure to okay this rug, you would have snatched it up already. Trust your instinct.

    2) The rug is (much) less beautiful than the other rugs already in place. Why would you replace a wonderful rug with a worse one ? Okay, it’s a better size, but really: the size is not really that noticeable, but the colors determine the room !!

    So, a no- vote from me.

    But by god, they did a great job on the place :oD

  80. Lisa on 12/19/2010:

    I have to say I’m coming down on the NO side. The colors and pattern just don’t work for me. I’d pass on this one and ask the universe to find you a better one. It’s out there. Your instinct to hesitate was right. Your place is great!

  81. Tami on 12/20/2010:

    Yes – well worth the $$ for that size rug. Probably not top quality, but great for filling in big spaces, chucking over a couch, etc.

    BTW, you can tell right away if it’s machine made by looking at the knots on the backside. You can also tell how well it’s made by the knot size, consistency, and evenness. I’m a rug freak from way back and never let considerations of ‘where am I going to put this?’ get in my way.

  82. Brittany on 12/20/2010:

    Yes, it is butt ugly, but that’s also why I love it. Apparently we live in the same neck of the woods because I saw the same listing on Craigslist the other day. If my flooring was anything other than tan carpet, I would have snatched this from under your nose! But I agree, it isn’t worth $200. And the fact that the listing says it was cleaned with a special hot water treatment is suspicious, since hot water plus wool equals MAJOR shrinkage. Talk them down to $125 and go for it.

  83. yoteach on 12/21/2010:

    Nah. Doesn’t look like a discovered gem. The colors make it looks like you bought it at one of those cheap rug stores that’s always going out of business somewhere in a strip mall.

  84. Rachel on 12/21/2010:

    Wow, their home is gorgeous! I think I’m on the No bandwagon…

  85. Gloria Graham, AKBD on 12/23/2010:

    I think you better hurry up and decide. With all this PR someone’s bound to find it, buy it and then it’s all a mute point. I say yes because I find I more frequently regret what I DIDN’T buy.

  86. Coleen Sosa on 12/23/2010:

    Nah. I’d leave it. Can you honestly look at the rest of the house and say yep. That’s the rug I need. Plus she’s already dubious about it. I wouldn’t but something I didn’t like because it was a great deal.

  87. Brecht Cuppens on 12/30/2010:

    86 comments about a rug and not a single Big Lebowski reference? I’m disappointed.

    I’d go for it…It might take you to places you didn’t want to go…but you might end up liking them

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