Kelly Vittengl of Frances Loom On Why Vintage is So Special
Frances Loom is a London-based vintage rug boutique founded by Kelly Vittengl. Kelly specially curated a collection of Frances Loom pieces just for Lulu and Georgia and we wanted to share more about the collaboration and Kelly's amazing brand. Read on to hear more about her business, why she loves vintage, and how she loves to style her pieces.
Shop Frances Loom x Lulu and Georgia
Tell us about Frances Loom and how you got started. Where does the name come from?
It was a little over five years ago, I was living in LA as a full-time set designer and knew I wanted to leave my job. I decided to start a little decorating business along with an online antique and rug shop. While sitting at my desk one day, I was brainstorming on what to call the business... I was creatively writing when all of a sudden “Frances Loom” appeared on the paper. I knew instantly it was the one -- Frances is my Mom’s middle name, and a loom is a machine a rug is woven on -- it was perfect. After a few agonizing months of trying to figure out how to launch a website, I had it up and running. Within a month, I noticed people really going for the rugs so I made the decision to focus on that one product. With a little help from Instagram and the apparent hole in the market for curated rugs, the website took off like absolute wildfire! I dropped all decorating plans and went full speed ahead with the rugs.
Why do you think vintage rugs are so special?
Vintage and antique rugs tell so many stories while adding character and warmth to space. More than any other piece in a home, I believe a rug can completely transform a space, simply on it’s own.
You have such a curated and consistent look at Frances Loom. What are your criteria when selecting a vintage rug?
My two constants are color, and of course, wear. The more worn the better. It’s been a signature of Frances Loom from the start. On occasion, I choose a higher pile rug if it’s a great design with great color, but the heart of our aesthetic is a rug with some serious wear and tear.
How do you like to style your vintage rugs?
We’ve really broken the mold on how one can style a vintage rug. Put it in the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room. You can truly put them anywhere to add character to space. We absolutely LOVE a rug in the bedroom, and there are so many ways to do this -- two small rugs on either side of the bed, a runner at the end of the bed, a large rug that sits under the bed. The options are truly endless, we like to encourage our customers to use their own imagination.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is always evolving. It really depends on my mood. Some days I’m completely inspired by Elton John and I’ll rock my vintage tie-dye leather pants. Most days I’m in vintage levis with a vintage tee. I’ll throw on a blazer or long coat to dress it up (especially here in London). The one staple is that I always have at least one piece of vintage -- I genuinely just love vintage whether in my closet or around my home.
You moved to London from Los Angeles a few years ago, has lived in the UK changed your personal style?
Absolutely. My style in London is more polished and at times more adventurous. I would never wear my tie-dye leather pants in LA, but in London, I can explore a bit more with that kind of thing. LA was lots of dresses and sandals, London is more trousers, blazers, and boots.
What advice would you give someone who would love to purchase their first vintage rug but doesn’t know where to start?
I want to say just go with your gut and choose what you’re drawn to, but I equally think it’s important to hone down your style. Go on Pinterest and begin pinning spaces you like, this will help you figure out what your style is. Then go through and look at what kinds of rugs are in those spaces (this could go for any piece, by the way!)
What is your ideal day out in London?
Oh, this is such a good question and it could go so many ways! There is so much to see and explore. It would consist mostly of eating at my favorite restaurants: the pancakes from Granger & Co for breakfast, anything on the menu from the gorgeous Petersham Nurseries for lunch, and the chicken tikka from Dishoom for dinner. Filled in with walks through Regents Park or Hyde Park, and museum visits to all of the museum house around London like Leighton House Museum, or Dennis Severs’ House. Finished off with a pint and a blazing fire at any pub, but preferably my favorite called The Cock and Bottle in Notting Hill!
What do you love most about living in the UK?
Two things, first: the architecture. I’m such a visual person and being from America, we just don’t have the history as they have here. London has such beautiful and cozy spaces, it’s also very in line with my personal aesthetic. Second: the ability to easily and affordably travel around Europe. Last week I was in Amsterdam and Paris, both a short train ride away.
What’s next for Frances Loom?
We have SO much going on. This year I brought on my business partner, Heather, and having her on has changed everything. She is insanely talented in so many ways. We are expanding so rapidly, we just launched the furniture and pillows, we have the stockings coming again for the holidays, and we have so many more products coming to the site. We’re playing around with our new “Special Collections” category on the site, where the furniture currently lives. So you’ll be seeing some really fun projects coming through there. We have tons of ideas, so we’ll see what comes to fruition!
Photos by Belle Daughtry