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Rug Designer Makes Stunning Find in Home Renovations That Inspire A New Line

Doing home renovations is both scary and exciting. You never know what you're going to get. For some people, digging behind a wall or under the floor results in nothing but problems-- wood rot, mold and other expensive issues in need of repair. Some people are lucky enough to discover treasures, such as hidden antiques or original architecture that had been buried.

One rug designer was doing a bit of renovating when he discovered a major inspiration.

Luke Irwin of Wiltshire in the U.K. wanted to shine some better light on his ping-pong table, so he hired some workers to rewire his electrical system. The workers were digging outside when they struck something hard about 18 inches underground.

They couldn't imagine what it might be, so Irwin began clearing away parts of his floor to reveal a much older floor underneath.

"What has been revealed is this mosaic floor," said Irwin.

Irwin was excited about the find. This didn't look like the previous home owner had a thing for tiling; this mosaic looked old. An archeologist came in and confirmed that this find was historic.

"From the geophysics we've laid out, these are essentially the demolished or collapsed wings of a Roman villa," said Dr. David Roberts.

A team of archeologists began digging around on Irwin's property, recovering bones and shells, coins, brooches, pottery and more. The artifacts appeared to be from around the fourth century.

In one area they even discovered the grave of an ancient Roman child. It had actually always been visible; the family thought it was an old trough left on the property from earlier occupants of the land. It turned out to be a coffin.

Some of the artifacts found looked like they could only have come from someone very wealthy. The villa even appears to have had plumbing, with hot and cold running water-- something very unique in the time period. They suspect the ruins were a villa that belonged to a Roman emperor. It could be one of the largest villas ever found in the U.K.

"It really goes to show how all empires stand and fall," said Irwin. "There was running water and heat in this villa; that hadn’t existed in the 1,600 years after that."

The government agency Historic England is working with archeologists and the home owner in excavation efforts. A spokesperson said to The Guardian that this find could have 'national significance'.

It was an extremely significant find for Irwin as well, who had a flash of brilliance. He was so inspired by the mosaic design and the Roman artifacts that he designed an entire line of rugs around it for ABC Home. It's appropriately called the 'Mosaic collection',

"I thought for about six weeks about how I would do something with this," Irwin said to Architectural Digest. "I design floors for the 20th century, and here’s a decorated floor from the fourth century. The conclusion I came to is that you cannot spit in the eyes of the gods when such a gift is given to you."

The designer began playing with the tiles and experimenting with arrangements, capturing the beauty of the past while mixing it with the aesthetics of the present.

"What I wanted to do with all the rugs was to make things that people would look at and see the story of how they were made without it being fussy or overdone... One is more geometric, and one is more abstract. The geometrics are more synonymous with the antique pavement. What you’re trying to do is show that inspiration comes from all different places."

Great artists will tell you that inspiration is everywhere—and apparently it is. Sometimes you just need to dig a little to find it.

Source: Architectural Digest
Photos: You Tube, Nat Geo, Inhabitant

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