Verve meets Annie Loveridge owner of The Ivy House, the New Zealand home of Armadillo & Co, a beautiful collection of natural fibre rugs handmade by artisan weavers that tread lightly on the planet.
How did you come up with the concept for The Ivy House?
It’s the result of starting out and making decisions along the way, not a traditional business plan. The name comes from a brick arts and crafts house covered in ivy we were living in at the time. People used to say, “Oh, so you live in the ivy house”? As an unfashionably introverted person for whom ‘home’ is important, it was that concept of a comfortable place I wanted to attribute to my vision. Because the name represented our home, I was attracted to working with people I had a connection with. I started with Quadrille Fabrics — beautiful fabrics milled and handprinted in the United States — and working with some amazing designers in Australia, which is how I came to be introduced to Armadillo & Co. My interest in the handmade was sparked and it’s now what The Ivy House is all about. I didn’t set out to work with items made by hand but I can’t imagine doing anything different now.
Is your background in interiors?
I went to university having no idea what I wanted to do so I studied business. I ended up working in funds management in Wellington, then London until I had children. I stayed at home for 10 years pondering my next move. We renovated in London, the US and Australia and I studied interior design in London. I found after being a stay-at-home mum that backing myself was hard. A friend gave me the advice to do something, anything, which will lead to the next thing and the next. I still go back to this when I’m stuck with decisions. Picking up the phone to Quadrille started my distribution for New Zealand and Australia, which led to Armadillo.
What is your philosophy?
Love and believe in what you do. It’s important to stay authentic and passionate. It’s those two things that will keep you going when you have setbacks. Treat people as you want to be treated. Be kind. Care.
What is your design aesthetic?
Care about what you choose to have in your home. It’s unrealistic to be conscious purchasers about everything but where you can, I truly believe there is energy around items made by hand, with care for the makers. We have Armadillo & Co rugs at home and they’re not only beautiful, but I know they were hand woven by weavers employed fairly. Some rugs were custom woven to fit awkward spaces and I look at them knowing that someone in India made this rug, for our family. There is an energy you can’t quite put your finger on, but it’s there.
Can you tell us about a little more about Armadillo & Co?
It’s no ordinary rug company. What separates Armadillo from other rug companies is its commitment to social responsibility, sustainable practices and to helping to support the community of artisans who hand make all of their products.
Every piece embraces fair trade practices, is crafted from sustainable natural fibres including pure wool, cotton and hemp using traditional weaving techniques that stand the test of time, and all purchases benefit the local schools in our weavers’ villages.
More than 10 pairs of hands are required to create and finish each rug. They are nurtured on their journey from fibre to finished product by the skilled hands of dyers, weavers and finishers. The handmade process results in them being imbued with a unique character — that invisible energy that makes them truly beautiful in your home. I love Armadillo’s statement that ‘Each Armadillo & Co. rug sees its journey’s end when it arrives in your home’.
Every purchase of an Armadillo & Co rug enhances the lives of the weavers, giving them a means to improve living standards and enjoy a discretionary income. We work closely with Armadillo to ensure we understand the fibres, how the rugs are made and how they will wear so we can add a design service to our in-store experience. We care that our clients are happy with what they choose. I genuinely believe we have a great team offering a friendly, honest, caring experience.
Annie’s Advice For Choosing A Rug
- Always choose what you love. That way, you’ll find that what you have in your home will work in different rooms and different homes over time.
- Function is important. We work closely with our customers to ensure the right design is chosen so you can enjoy it for a long time. Choosing something that looks good is easy; you want to ensure it’s right for the space and the environment.
- Care about how your rug was made. I promise you, it is so good to know the rugs you have in your home were made well.
Words: Jenna Moore
PARNELL HERNE BAY
347 Parnell Rd, Parnell / 09 373 3396
Mon to Fri 9.30am-5pm / Sat 10am-4pm
238 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay / 09 360 8986
Mon to Fri 9.30am-5pm / Sat 10am-4pm