Artisan Spotlight: Michaelian Home

At Past Basket, we are always looking for beautiful accents to bring to our customer’s homes. Owner, Linda McFadden has a taste level that is on point with her customers and she attracts artisans and vendors that seek quality and classic chic products.

“We really get each other,” says Michaelian designer, Carol Lyne Sumner, of Linda’s knack for knowing what her customers want. “Linda and Michaelian both subscribe to “trend meets tradition” when it comes to home accents.

Michaelian Home Rugs at Past Basket Milwaukee

Michaelian Home Rugs at Past Basket Milwaukee

If there’s one thing we love about the products we carry, it’s the stories behind the making. Michaelian Home is one of those vendors with an amazing history, chock-full of family heritage.

Dating back to 1922, Michaelian Home originally opened for business as the woven rug carpet manufacturing and importing company, Michaelian and Kohlberg. The enthusiastic 25-year-old entrepreneur, Frank Michaelian, was determined to train fine needlepoint carpet weaving skills to the artisans of mainland China. Setting up a weaving center from 1924 – 1937, Michaelian’s team produced some of the most stunning needlepoint carpets, and became one of the first American’s to launch exporting offices in the Middle East.

William Bloomburg, Frank Michaelian's father-in-law at Michaelian's factory in Tientjin, China.

William Bloomburg, Frank Michaelian’s father-in-law at Michaelian’s factory in Tientjin, China.

After the Japanese invaded China in the late 1930s, Michaelian was forced to leave his weavers and returned home to the United States. The company thrived and by the 1980s, Michaelian’s grandson, Jason Sumner, had carried on the tradition of designing hand-hooked and needlepoint rugs.

“We try and stay true to our core, which is traditional hook rugs with an early American feel,” said Jason. “We also hunt for old vintage rugs or quilt designs and tweak them.”

Jason and his wife, Carol Lyne, design the rugs.

Carol Lyne of Michaelian Home in design studio matching dye lots

Carol Lyne in design studio matching dye lots

“Early American quilt design can become so modern and contemporary,” explained Carol Lyne. “We listen to our customers, take note of upcoming trends, and the popularity of Pantone colors when Jason and I design.”

Travel to India and China for inspiration and looking back instead of looking forward are on the list of ways Carol Lyne and Jason bring new designs to the Michaelian Home portfolio. One of Michaelian Home’s popular and most requested designs stems from the United Society of Believer’s in Christ’s Second Appearing, a group more commonly known as the Shakers.

“Our designs are so versatile,” said Carol Lyne. “Our customers live everywhere from farm houses in Iowa to lofts in New York City.”

But the quality of craftsmanship in needlepoint and rug hooking is a dying art, according to Carol Lyne. With so many opportunities online to produce rugs at the snap of a finger, the Michaelian family still continues to be committed to the traditional way of making home accents.

“We have a mill in North Carolina where we hook custom rugs, and recently made one for the White House,” Carol Lyne explained about the Appalachian Collection by Michaelian Home. The 19th and 20th centuries featured some of the most creative and talented rug designers and hookers, making for the perfect inspiration for historically American accents.

Stop in and see how you can bring a bit of early (yet beautifully modern) American history into your home…