room filled with rolled up rugs with inset of Stephen Fletcher
Photo: George Clerk/Getty Images

The Soul of the Apartment

American author Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his mournful poetry and eerie short stories. He also had plenty to say about what we today call interior design. In an 1840 essay about interior decorating, Poe states, "A carpet is the soul of the apartment."

Stephen Fletcher, the executive vice president, chief auctioneer, and director of the Americana department of Skinner Inc., an international auction house, says that Poe's observation is still true. Widely regarded as one of the world's foremost experts on early American furniture, American decorative arts and folk art, Fletcher is also a popular appraiser on the PBS television series Antiques Roadshow.

Here, Fletcher looks back at how floor coverings were used to set the tone of a room in early American history.

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