Timothy Whealon Reveals the Global Inspiration Behind His Hand-Crafted Rugs

May 18, 2020
Roman courtyard tiles, the Mykonos landscape and a vintage deck of bridge cards—all were visual fodder for designer and creative dynamo Timothy Whealon as he developed his first collection of rugs for Patterson Flynn Martin. The stunning results are worthy of building a room around.
The graphic pattern of the hand-knotted La Dolce Vita rug in wool enlivens this living room.William Abranowicz
Everything that interior designer Timothy Whealon does is informed by his well-cultivated, Old World-meets-all-American eye. Born and raised in Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan, Whealon caught the Anglophile bug early and bought his first Georgian chair at age 12. In his early twenties, while studying at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, he immersed himself in England’s great country houses, which remain a potent touchpoint. “My work is based on the idea of rooms layered over time with things from different periods and places,” he says, “but my style is much more edited and contemporary. I love light, air, openness.”
The Luck Be a Lady abaca rug imparts a layer of relaxed sophistication to this moody study.William Abranowicz
Subtle striations add depth and nuance to the meandering florals of the flatweave Magic Carpet rug.William Abranowicz
It’s no wonder that Whealon’s rugs for Patterson Flynn Martin—all made in natural, durable materials such as wool, silk, abaca and jute—display that same fresh take on classicism. Magic Carpet, his spin on a Bessarabian kilim, is, like the Ellsworth Kelly print that hangs in his own apartment, boldly scaled and reduced to essential lines and colors. The crenellated lines of hand-knotted La Foce were inspired by the manicured gardens of the Tuscan estate of the same name. All the pieces in the collection are marked by their captivating points of departure, clarity of pattern and nuanced attention to production detail.
“What interests me is craftsmanship,” Whealon says, “and in all these rug designs, you see the hand. My patterns can make a big statement in a room or be used as supporting players. They’re refined and sophisticated but simple, really.”