When she’s not nationally or globally sourcing antique rugs through her rug dealers in India and Morocco, one might find designer Alyssa Spyridon of Relic Home sifting through her many piles of design books- old, new, familiar, and rare. Searching inspiration for and working on new design ideas for her following exciting collection or collaboration. Alyssa divulges her whole story to The Nashville Edit and, of course, we couldn’t wait to share it with you.
1- What is your background and how did you get started in this field?
I have always been passionate about interior decor and design. I was raised in Fairhope, AL, by my mother, an interior designer (who owned two interior boutiques). I grew up working in my mom’s stores and living in renovated historic houses. When I was 11, I asked for bundles of residential floor plan books for Christmas. I was unaware of it at the time, but my upbringing paved the way. I’ve been honing my eye my entire life. Not formally taught, I was instead led down my path gradually and organically. It’s very fitting that I’ve landed in this field.
Upon moving into my current home seven years ago (constructed in 1867), my mom graciously decided to pass down a handful of rugs to me. So, with her permission, I decided to sell/replace the ones that didn’t work in my house, and down the rabbit hole I fell. I fell in love with rugs, and I realized there was quite the market for them. And wow, I’ve learned so much since then.
“With rugs, the information and history are infinite and vast across so many different cultures.”
2- What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A veterinarian! I was born an animal lover, continually adopting many animals. I currently
have 4 dogs and a cat and am often fostering or rescuing. My parents, siblings, and friends have plenty of childhood stories of “Alyssa finding a lost or injured animal and helping it.”
3- Tell us about a day in your life…
I wake up every morning, and before I’m out of bed, I water the Instagram garden and then check in with my manufacturers abroad (most with an 11 hour time difference). Then, after I get my daughter off to school, I head to the studio (“The Stude”), which is just at the end of our street. Depending on the day (and project), it varies- everything from sourcing, new ideas/ collections, shooting inventory, and working with clients.
4- How has Relic Home evolved and grown since you started?
Relic Home has developed as organically as it started. In the beginning, I converted a room in my house into a “rug room.” And with the help of my partner, Matthew, I took photos of rugs I collected outside on my brick driveway and sold them via Instagram.
Fast forward 5 years, and I now have 2 studios; one is my showroom/ office in East Nashville, and the other is where we clean and store rugs (and props for my other business Relic Creative @relic.creative). I’ve hired my first full-time team member this year. She’s the best and very multi-faceted. Hi Maggie!
As of late 2019, I began producing my own line of rugs. So, yeah, I’d say it’s changed a lot. What started as a side hustle has turned into something really special to me. We are slowly
adding other items aside from rugs, like our Chinese paper maché bins/planters.
5- What inspires you?
Antiques, Antiques, Antiques. Historic homes. And I love houses with outdoor living spaces. Being in nature, and more specifically, the water. Right now, Mexico does it for me.
6- What materials do you use in your work?
The majority of our rugs are made from a wool pile with a wool or cotton foundation. Aside from that, we have a handful of jute rugs. All-natural, durable fibers.
7- What colors and patterns are you drawn to?
I love creams, rusts, olives, corals, and ‘Home Depot’ orange. I obviously have a thing for checkered patterns. I claim checkered as a neutral-like leopard. Checkered feels primitive yet modern. I’m also enamored with various moth patterns.
8- What is the most fulfilling part of your work?
Some may say I have a bit of a collecting habit (I come by it honestly- thanks to my Yia Yia), so I can collect extraordinary found objects and sell them is very fulfilling and vital. It scratches the itch. I also know how challenging finding the right rug can be, so it’s very fulfilling to see a happy client.
“Rugs really make or break a space in a lot of ways. They are the grounding element and provide a warmth you can’t achieve elsewhere.”
9- What’s your motto in life?
Do I have a motto? I say do what makes you feel good. Also, take risks. Even if they don’t pan out the way you had hoped, the lessons will be invaluable. Life is all about assignments.
10- What has been your best piece of advice?
While growing up, my dad always said, “Remember who you are” and “Anything is okay in moderation. Nothing is good in excess”. I still live by those words, very much so.
11- Why do you love what you do (for work)?
I love making a home or styling a space. I’m an Enneagram 3, “The Achiever,” so it has been deeply rewarding to learn and tackle so much. Owning a small business means I’m on a constant learning curve. It certainly keeps me on my toes and pushes me creatively, and I love that.
12- What makes your work style different from others in your field?
While there are the treasured generational rug dealers with the traditional rug stores that I have a lot of respect for, there are also many smaller rug dealers that have popped up over the last several years. Mostly making a name for themselves on social media, often selling reproductions marked as vintage. The main difference in what I do is curating a range of unique vintage and antique rugs, from tribal to deco, while also designing my own pieces, offering custom pieces, and releasing collaborations.
“I like to have fun with my collections while also staying true to creating pieces that I hope will stand the test of time.”
Mixing collected heirlooms with modern, future artifacts. I hope in 50 years that our rugs are sought after on eBay and Chairish.
13- How does your personal style influence your brand and products?
Relic Home is my style- they are one and the same. I love to mix it up with interiors and fashion, but visually it needs to feel intentional. The goal is elevated yet approachable, timeless, and unique.
14- Where do you imagine you’ll be in 5 years?
With work, it’s hard to guess. Don’t want to jinx anything!