Breathing New Life Into Old Masterpieces

Transforming hand knotted carpets into stunning decorative pillows and accents

reprinted from a story about Marianne in Couture Flowers Magazine Spring 2016

Interior Designer Marianne Donahue grew up surrounded by beautiful carpets. Her paternal grandfather was a rug collector, and through him, she learned to appreciate the colorful, hand-knotted carpets he purchased for family homes in Florida and Cape Cod. In fact, a classic Persian Heriz in red, dating back to the 1920s Art Deco period, still resides in her son Will’s apartment – a testament to the enduring appeal of these magnificent works of art.

Marianne’s innate sense of design led to a career in the interior design field. In 1994, she became a partner in the J.Namnoun Oriental Rug Gallery, one of the very few woman working in this specialized field. It has always been male dominated, and doing business as a woman in the Middle East, India, Turkey and war-torn Afghanistan is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it can be downright dangerous. These days, all the rug merchants bring their wares to established markets in the U.S., so she has never needed to travel.

Marianne’s signature look as an Interior Designer combines the old world with the new, and blends classic design in rich colors enhanced with touches of surprising and bold modernism. She specializes in layering looks from different periods with rugs, textiles and antiques. “It’s a look whose time has come,” she relates. Increasingly, her clients are yearning for something beyond the cold “Restoration Hardware” look – those bland grey, creams and monotones so popular and ubiquitous in recent years.    

She guides her clientele adeptly into a new era of color and comfort with a clever adaptation of damaged, though still-beautiful, rugs. Marianne started repurposing rugs by making pillows for herself from carpets she purchased at auctions and from private collections. At Namnoun she began working with skilled weavers and seamstresses on damaged rugs that came into the store. They may have been beyond repair for the floor, so she would turn them into chair cushions, upholstery and decorative pillows, breathing new life into their classic designs.

Hand knotted rugs have been used in home decoration for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest fragments date back to 400 BC. They were treasured by kings, merchants and the average man and woman for centuries and are still among the most revered of all home furnishings purchases. For many, the rugs and intricate designs remain steadfastly confusing, complicated, misunderstood and inaccessibly expensive by all but the experts. Marianne Donahue has found an innovative way to make them accessible and relevant again.

Marianne Donahue Interior Designer

Breathing New Life Into Old Masterpieces

The Rarity Of The Career Woman In The Oriental Rug Business

Marianne Donahue Interior Design I live and work in a world that is filled with beautiful color, design and texture. It is exotic, mysterious and largely unknown to most people. The earliest findings hail from Ancient Egypt and Central Asia. Creative imaginations are combined with technical skill which produce an art form that has existed for over 2500 years. This is the world of Oriental Rugs.Watch Full Movie Streaming Online and Download

As a career, the importing, designing and selling of handmade Oriental carpets is largely dominated by men from the Middle East. It is rare to find a woman in this field, unless she has been brought in by her husband or father to join the family business.watch full L’ora legale film online

Those of us who embraced this profession from non Middle Eastern lineage often began in Interior Design, Textiles, Antiques and Decorative Arts. From there we fine tuned our skills. I am one of those professionals who fell in love with the art form. It is a lifelong passion in an area where learning never stops. The intricacies of the weaving techniques, the dye lots used and the designs incorporated make it a never ending fantasy. It is fascinating to witness discussions among seasoned professionals in the rug trade who can still question and argue about the origin and age of a product. We never tire of looking at rugs, both new and old.

Contemporary, more relaxed styles of today have brought new designs and colors into the marketplace. More women have entered this field and fashion plays an important part on what we see in the trade. Although the intrigue and lore of the old carpets still remains, the choices available to consumers today is more diversified than ever. There is a size, color and style for every taste, still made with the time honored techniques of the past.