Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How do you find the perfect hand knotted carpet?

I have invited Merridy Gerlach from Tufenkian Artisan Carpets to write a guest blog about what may factor into the purchase of a hand knotted carpet.
A Word From Merridy:
"Finding the PERFECT hand knotted carpet for your home takes time. With a little research to learn about rugs, thinking about how you live in your home, what makes you feel good and having a general idea of your budget you will find the process much easier. And it’s a process that is really worth it, because a good hand knotted carpet can become an heirloom!

What is your budget? What are you willing to spend on a rug?
Budgets are important in that they give you a starting point to work with. If you haven’t shopped for rugs prior to this, you may be surprised at the prices. Your budget may shift or change as you become more educated and see what is available but it gives both the rug showroom and yourself something to work with.

Why is there a difference in rug prices?
Part of looking at rugs is doing your homework. This means learning about how they’re made, finding out the differences between rugs made by machine and those that are hand knotted. Learning about the quality of the wool. Has the wool been scoured or bleached? Bleaching and scouring the wool will strip the lanolin which acts as a natural soil protectant. Ask questions about the process. Do they machine card and spin the wool or is it done by hand? Using machine processes, the carpet is somewhat more regular and less artisanal looking but is often cost effective. What kind of dyes do they use? Are the dyes stable? Are they resistant to fading? Can the sales person answer these questions?
Do they practice fair trade?Learn about the philosophy of the companies producing the carpets. What do they know about the use of child labor? Are their processes sustainable? The answers to these questions will directly impact the cost and ultimately what type of rug you buy.

If you find things that you love, but they are more than you can budget at the time there are a couple of things to consider: either use a smaller rug than originally budgeted or consider purchasing something less expensive for the short term (natural fibers, bound broadloom,etc) while saving for the carpet that ultimately you want to have in your home forever.

What colors and designs are you interested in? Are you working with existing elements?
Rugs are essentially art that is placed on the floor providing color, design, texture and warmth to any room. The question of how much pattern and color you want depends on how you would like the room to present itself. Like art, a rug can be subtle, have a lovely range of colors and simpler design allowing itself to be the foundation of the room while allowing the rest of the room to stand out. Or it can be bold with design and color that functions as the prominent design element in the room. Ultimately your choice will reflect your personality and make the room yours.

While it sounds self serving for a rug dealer to say “start with the rug”, generally this is true. A hand knotted area rug will live with you for years and perhaps forever. They may move from room to room but don’t typically wear out. You may change your paint color, recover the sofa and strip the wallpaper over the years but the rug will live on. . Look for designs and colors that make you feel good…again like art it speaks to the emotional part of us. Like art, you want to love it.
Make sure that the showroom is willing to let you take any carpet designs being considered out on a home trial. This will allow you to see the rug designs and colors in your home with your lighting as well as the different times of day as the colors can shift depending on the light.

What size rug do you need?
I believe that there is often more than one option for people to consider in their homes. The best advice would be to size the rug to be proportional to the space allowing it to ground the furniture in the room. This creates a space that feels completed. Too small a rug can make the room appear choppy and make the space seem smaller while an overly large rug can overwhelm the space.
There are many opinions about whether the furniture needs to be all on the rug or all off the rug? Can furniture be partially on the rug? Designers vary in their opinions as do clients about this issue. I believe that the space feels more complete if there is some part of the furniture on the carpet tying both carpet and furniture together.

Interior Designers can be your greatest resource
Using a designer who is well versed in color and design can make this entire process so much simpler with an end result that you love. They are skilled and familiar with the resources that are available and can direct you to showrooms that they know and trust. They will help you walk through the questions to ask, all the elements to consider. They will assist you with lighting, existing furniture or other elements that need to be considered when adding an area rug to your home.

Buying a rug can be an exciting process, full of choices and options that open up a new perspective on your room and your home. With a little research and working with talented professionals the results will last for years."

You can contact Merridy at:
Tufenkian Artisan Carpets
515 NW 10th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
P: 503-222-3428 x100
C: 503-307-5705

A word from Kimberlee
" I found the bamboo motif and rust colored carpet from Tufenkian Artisian Carpets. This was the inspiration for the pan -Asian home I designed (pictured in photos below) for a young couple. And even though the living room carpet is some-what modern, it coordinated beautifully with the traditional hall way runners and entry carpet. This home was completed over 8 years ago and still looks fresh today.When you use high quality pieces... they stand the test of time."

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