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The District Loom Origin Story

Two blurred people walk across a dining room with an antique rug.

In the two years since my husband Brett and I founded District Loom, we’ve learned a lot about rugs. We’ve also learned a lot about you, our fellow lovers of well-designed modern spaces.

One of the most rewarding parts of the business is engaging with you. We love teaching you about the world of vintage and antique rugs, helping you find the perfect piece for your space, and, of course, seeing how you style your District Loom rugs (#dLInTheWild!). 

 

It’s with all of this in mind that we are excited to introduce our blog — the dL Journal. 

Through weekly stories, we will teach you why vintage and antique rugs are so special. We’ll meet design experts who understand how to curate modern spaces with soul. And we’ll inspire you with ideas for styling your own space with a rug from District Loom. 

But first, an announcement: I have a new side hustle! 

A vintage rug in from of a green board and batten wall.

 

No, I’m not opening a brick and mortar store (for now…). My new side hustle is my Nurse Practitioner job! 

I’ve worked as an otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) NP for my whole career. Since Brett and I founded District Loom in December 2018, curating vintage rugs has been the thing I make time for after my 9-5. Now, after nearly two years in business, I’m scaling back my career in healthcare to part-time (I still love it!) so that our company can take center stage. 

If you’re new around here, you might be wondering why a Nurse Practitioner decided to become a rug dealer. What can I say? I’m a person with many interests.  

How It All Started

For most of my life, I’ve obsessed with the details. They say that well-designed spaces can transform your mood, and that’s certainly proven true for me. When I was a kid, I redecorated my room every year (thanks, mom!) — I’m talking tulle canopies above my bed, sponge paint, wall stencils, the works. In ninth grade, my bedroom refresh actually included a red oriental rug! 

High school Heather went so far as to plan on interior design school after graduation, but my loving parents’ practicality won over. They encouraged me to pursue my other strength — science — and my career in healthcare began. 

Fast forward a few years. Brett and I were decorating our first home near Washington, D.C. Decorating a home from scratch can be a pretty overwhelming experience, but I was excited to tap back into my passion for design. 

 

It wasn’t just the two of us we had to design for, though. We had moved in with our two doodle puppies, and as anyone who’s had to housetrain a dog will tell you, accidents happen. And when accidents happen, there might be a rug casualty or two. Our home back then included machine-made carpets that quickly proved impossible to clean. We had two throw out four rugs in a matter of two years! 

Lots of the rugs on the market today — especially the ones made to look like vintage rugs — are either made exclusively from plastic or have a backing that is made from plastic. When one of these modern renditions gets dirty and has to be thrown out, it ends up in a landfill, and we all know by now why that’s problematic. Those poor quality floor coverings contribute to a linear economy and negatively impact our collective impact on the environment. 

It was from that place of disappointment and despair over the industry’s waste that we started researching vintage rugs. And let me tell you, when you apply nursing and grad school research skills to your search for the perfect rug, a casual Google search can very quickly become an internet rabbit hole. We were hooked (pun definitely intended). 

What we found was… well, frankly, also disappointing. Rug shops in the area seemed to be vying for a Most Expensive Rug Ever award. We were greeted by a sub-par inventory, sales staff who know how to lay on the pressure, and cost-prohibitive pricing. The whole experience felt antiquated and broken. 

What started as a search for our own perfect rug eventually revealed a big hole in the market. We felt motivated to create a more approachable, affordable, and enjoyable experience. District Loom was born to provide just that — an edited inventory of carefully curated vintage and antique rugs for design-minded homeowners and interior designers alike. 

Since those early days, we’ve grown fast. We’ve since launched exclusive collections with Anthropologie and interior design star Lauren Liess. It’s been a joy to share these treasures with you all, and if you haven’t already, I hope that we can help you find the perfect piece to complement your home. 

For more inspiration, be sure to follow us on Instagram. If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover in a future blog post, leave a comment below. 

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