Bostonista Goes Cowhide

You can’t swing a dead cat without seeing a cowhide rug in a magazine these days. Maybe the frenzy is the designer’s response to the foodie steak craze—they have their cow, so we aesthetes get ours. Anyway, a few Saturdays ago I woke up and realized that the Tibetan rug in the living room was all wrong and absolutely must be replaced by a hide. (Dissatisfaction with one’s digs is a job hazard.)

But where to find one? Buying from Ikea seemed terribly un-PC for reasons I couldn’t quite explain and I couldn’t remember seeing any in Boston stores. Naturally, I turned to our trusty friend, the Internet.

The last time I tried to buy a dead animal over the web (looking for a taxidermed chicken…don’t ask…well, if you must know, I’d seen it in a fourth floor window over Beacon Street in the Back Bay and just had to have it), I entered a bizarre netherworld of hunting, fowl, and fetishists and ended up chicken-less.)

I figured that the search for the cowhide rug would be much more straightforward. But the more I looked, the more stumped I got: Exactly how much white in the hide did I want? How much brown? Or did I want a classic holstein? (Nah—too pedestrian.) Or a brindle? (Looked too much like the family dog.) And then there was the ew factor: this was once an animal…did we really want to walk on it? (Short answer: No.)

Needless to say, the search took weeks. I’d add to cart, then recant, then search, then add to cart and empty it again, grappling with both the aesthetic and ethical ramifications of my decision. Well, I did buy one eventually from When the box arrived, I carefully opened it and was assaulted by that gorgeous fresh leather smell. It was soft and supple, and it was animal.

That’s how I got my cow on. She (or he?) brings something wonderful and luxurious to my living room, although I’m still conflicted about animal product-based decor. Still, if you wear leather shoes, it’s pretty much the same thing, right?