Thursday, 12 July 2012

Home Help: 13 July

From repairing frayed rugs and finding specialist cleaners to tracking down vintage deckchairs, Hugh St Clair has the answers to your interiors queries

Written by Hugh St Clair
QI have two rugs with fringes at each end that are dirty and worse for wear. Turning the fringes underneath makes the rugs look smarter, but the problem is how to secure them neatly. Could I cover them with tape? Or do you have any ideas?

MW, Kent

A Fringes are exposed ends of foundation threads, running vertically (warps), holding your rug together. All knots are tied on these foundation threads. Securing a fraying end can be done using a single piece of threeto six-ply 100% cotton thread running all along the end by double-knotting around every two exposed foundation threads. It is not advisable to fold the fringes and cover them with tape as this will cause further structural damage to the rug and create bigger issues such as pile loss. Unless you take a course on restoring rugs, repairs are best left to a professional restorer such as RugArt.

RugArt Restoration & Sales Oriental Carpet Centre, Building A, First Floor, 105 Eade Road, London N4: 020- 8350 1929,

Q I have inherited a beautiful but very heavy woollen honeycomb blanket. I think it will be too heavy to wash in my machine, so what would your recommendation be to clean it?

RS, via email

A If there are no washing instructions on the label, take it to a reputable cleaners such as Johnsons. They will examine the blanket to see if it could be cleaned without causing damage. All cleaners tell customers that they leave items to be cleaned at their own risk, but to minimise risk, which- also come in a waterproof finish. There are cushions and espadrilles to match, too.

Johnsons: 0845-602 3134,


Q Our old deckchairs, which once belonged to my parents, are finally collapsing, and I would love to replace them. Someone told me that the councils in seaside towns sell off old chairs – is this true? Or have you any other suggestion for inexpensive chairs?

JJ, via email

A Apparently 'vintage' chairs are difficult to get hold of these days. However, Deckchair Stripes is faithfully reproducing the originals with colourful canvas stripes, which- also come in a waterproof finish. There are cushions and espadrilles to match, too.

Deckchair Stripes: 0845-500 1005,

Q Reading your Home Help column about pitchers and jugs (15 June) reminded me to ask you whether there is a difference between a milk jug and a creamer. As a tea enthusiast (American, now living in England), I use the term milk jug because we use milk – not cream – in tea. On eBay I see references to creamers and wonder if these are two different items. Perhaps milk jugs are small and creamers large? Or are the terms interchangeable?

DL, Surrey

A 'It is quite difficult to distinguish between a creamer and a milk jug,' says Richard Hird, ceramics expert at Bonhams. 'It is very likely that the objects given these descriptions were used for both liquids, and it really comes down to personal preference when giving the object its distinction.'

Bonhams has an auction of Fine British Pottery And Porcelain Including Welsh Ceramics on 3 October 2012 at New Bond Street, London W1: 020-7447 7448,

Email your design enquiries to Hugh St Clair at

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