Heirloom Quality Rugs From Around the World

A nurse practitioner turned rug merchant finds joy in sourcing threads for her Bozeman, Montana business District Loom
District Loom

Heather Cade, owner of District Loom, is pictured in her Bozeman showroom, designed with Mountain Home Collective, where she showcases antique and vintage rugs she sources from around the globe. The homelike atmosphere enhances the buying experience. | Photography by Lord & Co

Envisioning the life of a merchant who procures and sells vintage and antique rugs undoubtedly evokes images of travels to exotic locales. Even the rug names—Tabriz, Heriz, Kashan—have an air of mystery. That was certainly part of the attraction for Heather Cade, who while living in Washington, DC, made the life-altering decision to trade a steady profession as a nurse practitioner for the more adventurous world of rug dealing.

District Loom

One-of-a-kind pillow offerings, above left, are fashioned from hand-knotted Turkish rug remnants on the front and canvas on the back.

In December 2018 she founded District Loom, converted her townhouse living room into a storage/showroom space, and began making plans to visit Istanbul.

District Loom

The Persian Mahal kitchen runner is part of a collaboration with Unique Kitchens & Baths (UKB).

Then a little thing called the pandemic happened, and in lieu of negotiating at Turkish bazaars—“I have yet to travel anywhere,” she sighs—Cade found herself navigating the internet and building a business online. “I’ve even learned to haggle nonstop on WhatsApp.” It was also during those months in lockdown she and her husband, Brett, realized that he could work remotely and her business was equally transportable, so they packed up and moved to Bozeman, Montana. “We’d vacationed there for several years and love to fish, hike and snowboard, so the decision was easy,” she adds.

District Loom

A vintage Persian Serab wool runner, circa 1940, features a patterned montage in midnight navy, cream, sky blue and espresso.

Cade’s initial interest in rugs was sparked when a search for floor coverings for her own home yielded substandard machine-made varieties that were no match for two new puppies. “We were unable to effectively clean any of them, and we were so disappointed in the quality of the vintage replicas available,” she recalls. Her ensuing quest to find beautiful authentic vintage rugs resulted in successfully sourcing several pieces on eBay.

District Loom

Cade’s collaboration with the popular clothing and home goods store Anthropologie has yielded offerings like this hand-knotted Turkish Anatolian runner rug.

Not long after, she posted some of her finds on Instagram, and suppliers abroad came calling. “They started emailing me to see if I was interested in sourcing them,” she explains. “Through lots of trial and error I have pared down to five trusted suppliers who repair and clean each rug so they are install-ready when they arrive.”

District Loom

More goodies from the UKB collection include this grouping of Persian Malayer runners from the 1920s and 40s.

Though many transactions occur online, Cade opened the District Loom showroom in Bozeman, designed in collaboration with Mountain Home Collective, to offer a homestyle environment where she can pre-pull selections for clients to ward off what she refers to as “decision fatigue.” She also offers concierge services to locals and designers, which includes sourcing custom options directly from international suppliers and showing a selection of rugs directly in someone’s home.

District Loom

Handmade imported Moroccan cactus-silk pillow covers are from the Anthropologie collection. The one-of-a-kind offerings are restocked on a rolling basis.

This hands-on experience was something she considered lacking as she recalled digging through mountains of rugs in a dark warehouse on her first buying outing. “I believe finding an antique rug shouldn’t be an uncomfortable or pressure-filled experience,” she says. Cade also has an exclusive line of rugs for purchase through Anthropologie.

District Loom

An antique Persian Mahal area rug, circa 1900, features muted olive green tones and has faded to perfection.

Extolling the virtues of her offerings comes naturally to Cade, who notes that most rugs are made from sheep wool, which contains lanolin that serves as a natural water repellent and is stain resistant. But of equal importance are the character and history that accompany each selection.

District Loom

Displayed on the wall is a vintage Indian Agra area rug, handmade using wool in the 1940s.

“Heirloom-quality rugs are the secret gem in the equation of home design,” Cade says. “Each one comes with a story, and their beauty instantly elevates any room.”


Categories: Furnishings & Accessories