This is a continuation of the last post where I cautioned against using these three fibers, sisal, silk and cotton for your rugs and carpets.
Dash and Albert Plain Tin
And it’s not that you can’t use them, just beware that they may not hold up.
There is a lot of debate, however over which is better for rugs and carpets, wool or nylon?
Well… it depends. Both are terrific products but for different reasons.
nothing, but nothing beats nylon for wearability.
Folks in the carpet biz are always saying, you will be sick of it, long before you’ll need to replace it.
- comes in a variety of styles and patterns and but is well-suited for wall-to-wall areas, stairwells and areas that take a pounding
- Con – can be difficult to remove stains. This is why nylon carpets always come with some sort of stain protection, but it does wear off.
- Shows traffic patterns, but that will dissipate with a good cleaning.
Here are some beautiful nylon broadlooms from Masland Carpets.
I’m very proud to say that I have a direct account with them and they are one of my sources in Laurel’s Rolodex. It’s a wonderful company.
This is one of my favorites. It’s actually a commercial grade carpet and even though it doesn’t look like it here, it is reminiscent of seagrass when it’s down. This stuff is as indestructible as it gets and awfully good-looking. It’s called Vibe and the only color I ever use is called In Tune which is difficult to describe, but it’s a warm slightly brassy neutral.
- luxurious, long-lasting fiber if cared for properly
- easier to remove stains
- because of the natural lanolin, is actually self-cleaning
Story time. Years and years ago, when I was a newly-wed and a student at the New York School of Interior Design, I spilled a big glob of rubber cement on our Oriental Rug. I could not get it all out and what was left was a crusty patch which wasn’t all that noticeable, unless you were looking for it.
Years later, I remembered the crusty patch and I searched every inch of the rug for it and it was GONE!
I’ve said this before and you are going to probably ignore me because it goes against everything you believe to be true.
If you want to destroy your fine wool Oriental rug, go ahead and have it CLEANED.
Why will it destroy your rug?
Okay? Would you send a sheep to a dry cleaner to clean it? Why not? That’s what we do with our oriental rugs and what happens is that every time we do this, we remove the natural lanolin in the wool. It’s that lanolin which protects the fiber from dirt and from breaking.
- wool will still break and shed, but generally stops most of this after a time.
And again, having your fine wool rug cleaned will cause more breakage and may even lead to a threadbare rug.
- wool ranges in price from reasonable to very unreasonable
- wool is good for wall-to-wall and area rugs
- it comes in both machine-made and hand-knotted versions for rugs
There are also a lot of other weaves such as Axminster, Wilton, Hand Tufted, etc.
- A fine hand-knotted oriental rug should last for a life-time and beyond. In fact, it should get better with age as the colors and patina mellow.
That is…if you can resist sending it out for dry-cleaning.
But Laurel… the rug is DIRTY! I HAVE TO HAVE IT CLEANED!!!
Look, I understand completely. In our germaphobic culture, we are breast-fed to believe that if we don’t clean the crap out of everything, we are going to get sick and die. Quite frankly, and this is another topic, but I believe the opposite to be true. Still, I know that you don’t want a disgusting, smelly rug in your home and neither do I.
How to Properly Care for and Clean Your Fine Oriental Rugs
- Vacuum your area rug at least once a week, but please make sure that the brush setting is on off. :]
- Once a year, turn the rug upside down and vacuum the back.
- Ideally, once a year, the rug will get a sun bath on a hot dry day for a few hours.
I realize, that you will probably never do the last two, but if you can, your rug will remain quite clean. The sun is a natural disinfectant. Did you know that? For accidents, of course it is fine to spot clean, but no dry cleaning and I would also avoid any other kind of cleaning which uses detergent as well. That too, will remove the natural lanolin.
Okay. There are a VAST array of wool broadlooms (carpeting) and area rugs which range in price from not too expensive to insanely expensive.
Let’s begin with the inexpensive.
These would be the flat weaves like the one I have in my living room from Surya.
Sometimes you will hear these referred to as a Dhurrie, Kilim or Soumak. The soumaks are cool because they are reversible and come closest to mimicking the hand-knotted versions.
Did you know that these rugs can be used as upholstery? Surya now carries lots of wonderful ottomans and benches upholstered in their flat weave rugs. How cool is that?
More costly, there are wonderful wool broadloom carpets that can be either installed wall-to-wall or fabricated into an area rug.
One of my favorites is Ondine from Prestige Mills which is a wool Wilton weave pattern mimicking the ubiquitous Pueblo which is sisal and also from Prestige. Yes! It looks great! And as stated here, you will hate yourself one day, if you get it.
I know… it’s so friggin’ tempting, isn’t it? This is one of my all-time favorite, favorite living rooms by the brilliant Ashley Whittaker. And the pale gray SISAL rug is just sublime. It certainly looks practical, but if you spill on it— again, it WILL stain and you WON’T be able to get it out. I know. Life isn’t fair sometimes, is it?
On the relatively lower end, are machine-made wool Oriental rugs. Sometimes, they will add striations to mimic a hand-knotted rug, but generally it looks a bit fake. This is a fine Oriental machine-made broadloom which could be used wall-to-wall or made into an area rug, also from Prestige Mills.
These kinds of styles are great when you need a weird size but still want an Oriental rug.
In addition, there are hand-tufted wool rugs and one of my favorite sources for these beauties is Dash and Albert. These are actually less expensive than the broadloom from Prestige.
Another all-time favorite hand-hooked pattern, from Dash and Albert— Plain Tin, it’s called. [There’s a photo of it at the top of the page in the new colorway- cadette.]
Here are some new colorways that were shown at Americasmart last summer.
And here is a 3 x5 Plain Tin in Charcoal [which is slightly purple] area rug for my little entry. Actually, I got it as a sample but knew that I would keep it. Then, I ordered the larger size for my client. :]
And finally are the fine hand-knotted rugs and other hand-hooked rugs. These can get quite pricey.
Alright, this is what you need to know about fine hand-knotted rugs
It’s about price. It drives me nuts. And quite frankly, it’s not the way I do business. And I certainly do not wish to disparage anyone’s culture, however, most Oriental rugs are made well— in the Orient [duh] which is India, Pakistan, China, Iran, etc. And the people in those countries have a different way of doing business.
Haggling, is what we usually call it.
However, happily, with the advent of the internet, the haggling-price-you-see-is-nothing-like-what-you-pay-but-you-have-to-bargain-with-the-salesman are largely gone. Now, you’ll see. “retail— $7,000 Sale price $2,500” Something like that. It’s all bullshite, ya know? But, that’s the way it is.
However… for a hand-knotted Oriental rug, you should expect to spend at least $20.00 a sq. foot. Please notice that I said SQUARE FOOT. If you wanna know how that translates into a sq. yard, just multiply by nine. Therefore, if something is $20.00 a sq. foot it’s $180.00 a sq. yard.
And you might spend as much as $90.00 for a fine hand-knotted/hand-hooked rug. If it’s more than that, it probably has a name attached to it like Stephanie Odegard, Elizabeth Eakins or Mark Inc and you are dealing either with a really high knot count and/or an intricate design unique copy-righted design.
How do you know if your rug is worth what you are paying for it?
That is a very good question and I wish there was a simple answer because crooks are often extremely appealing. If you aren’t really sure, I would shop around and possibly get some advice from an appraiser.
Above and the next two images are the very fine hand-hooked rugs from Elizabeth Eakins. These are unbelievably gorgeous and you might need some smelling salts when you see the price. I once did a small one of these in a cool master bedroom in a home from the 1700’s. [yes, I took pics but they were horrible.] It was 8 x 8 and today it would be around $16,000!
OMG! I found them. They are pretty bad which is why I never used most of them. This is from a job I did 14 years ago! And it was also from the house in Better Homes and Gardens.
Well, you get the idea. Ugh. We waited an entire YEAR for that Yewwood bed!
Well, back to the great photos which I’ve already posted, but here they are again.
Well, I could keep going on and on here… however, since some of you have other things to do— haha! I’ll finish off with my favorite type of hand-knotted, Oriental rugs, the Oushaks. They originated in what is now Iran and the antique versions are absolutely sublime with their soft mushy designs and colors. But, the new ones are still wonderful as you can see from these two beauties from the French Market Collection.
Well, I’m just back from workation and now, it’s the weekend again! Hope it’s a great one for y’all!