An elegant, 19th-century Victorian needlepoint floral rug that once graced the floor of the White House during the Kennedy presidency will be on display in the new American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame headquarters building set to open in April in High Point, NC.
The vintage, historic rug is on loan to the Hall of Fame by floor covering and home accent resource Nourison and the Peykar family, the owners of the company. Alex Peykar, CEO of Nourison, purchased the rug in 1996 at an estate auction held by Sotheby’s for the furnishings and other personal belongings of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Onassis was an American socialite, writer, photographer and book editor who served as the first lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963, as the wife of President John F. Kennedy.
“We are so excited that this beautiful historic rug will be on display in the new American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame headquarters,” said Peykar. “It has graced our offices for many years and brought much joy to the Nourison team. We are happy to be able to share this piece of White House history with our industry and other history buffs that will enjoy viewing it.”
Measuring 7 feet by 8 feet, 4 inches, the rug being loaned by Nourison to the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame features a rich, crimson ground with ivory floral cartouches. Cream scrollwork forms the design of the inner border, with eagles at each corner, complemented by a delicate floral garland border with mask rosettes at each outer corner.
The rug graced the floor of the White House’s Yellow Oval Room during the Kennedy administration. First used as a drawing room in the John Adams administration, the Yellow Oval Room has served over the years as a library, office and family parlor as well as a place to greet dignitaries. One such gathering took place in 1963, when six of the seven original Mercury mission astronauts appeared in a photo taken in the room with the Kennedy family’s rug featured prominently in the foreground.
The historic rug will be intricately hung on a wall as part of a temporary exhibit just for the opening of the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame. The exhibit will be available for viewing by the home furnishings industry during the April 22 to 26 High Point Market, and by the public later.
“This rug comes from a private collection and is not generally available for viewing. It will be an ‘only at the Hall of Fame’ moment. We are grateful to the Peykar family that they are willing to share this piece of history with the industry and the community at large,” said Karen McNeill, CEO and president of the Board of Directors. “This rug, which Nourison so generously has made available to us, will be one of the showcase historic items on display when our new home opens next month.”
Now in the final stages of construction, the building is designed to inspire the industry and our guests about our $150 billion industry. It will feature the La-Z-Boy and Loloi story walls, the Neil and Robin Goldberg Tribute Wall, the Rooms to Go Wall of Fame, the International Market Center Imagination Theatre, the Stephen Knight Pond Library, the Hughes Family History Center, the O. William and Candy Fenn Leaders Board Room and the Furniture of America Leaders Bar serving coffee and cocktails. A Crypton Hospitality Kitchen is a full-service cooking kitchen equipped to provide comprehensive food service.