As the owner of Artemis Design Co., Milton native Milicent Armstrong fashions shoes, handbags, duffels and accessories from Turkish carpets. But rugs also play a starring role in the South End duplex she shares with her fiance: Her living room features a footstool upholstered with a Turkish rug, and the floor coverings are in near-constant rotation. “The rug situation is pretty fluid in here, which makes for a major decor change every few months or weeks,” says Armstrong, who also deploys sheepskins throughout the space for added texture and warmth.
Armstrong’s work takes her to Morocco at least once a year, to Turkey two or three times, and her apartment is punctuated with other souvenirs from her travels, like the shaggy raffia light fixture in the kitchen and matching lamp on her sideboard. But there’s also a strong nautical influence reflecting her love for the ocean (one shared by her fiance, an avid surfer). The mantel of her living room fireplace is covered in beach finds: a carefully curated combination of coral, shells and almost perfectly spherical rocks, many from her lifelong summer haunt in midcoast Maine.
Not surprisingly, as someone who repurposes rugs for a living, Armstrong is also keen on furniture with a past. The living room is dominated by a sofa and chairs by midcentury Brazilian master Percival Lafer, high-end pieces she discovered at an affordable price online. But other chairs are discards saved from the curb and given a second life. “I’m kind of a chair freak,” she says. “I love finding them on the street and fixing them up.” The condo is also full of “rescued plants,” which she pulls from the street and nurses back to health with her considerable green thumb. However, the most striking plants might be the ones found on the hallway wallpaper by Bob Collins and Sons. “I fell in love with it but couldn’t really afford it, so I bartered it with them for shoes.”
Though Armstrong loves antiques, her aesthetic is a decidedly unstuffy one, so the giant antique map of Paris in her bedroom and an old nautical flag are offset by whimsical touches like a sailboat kite hanging in a corner of the living room and the Ikea light fixture in the hallway. When all is said and done, though, the whole home is simply a backdrop for another rescue: Gerry, her poodle-dachshund-terrier mutt. There’s even a portrait a friend painted of him hanging on the living room wall. “We live here,” she says, “but it’s really just all about Gerry.”