Karastan Sovereign Collection

emir-1024x1375If you could see a running list of our best selling collections from our showroom, you would see the newer Karastan Sovereign collection quickly moving up the charts.  You may be just as surprised as we are, considering that we focus primarily on handmade rugs and Karastan is primarily machine-made.  The reason behind the trend?  Perfection in color.  The Sovereign collection has filled a void that the oriental rug industry has created, moving away from corals, lights blues, and greens.  This collection of durable, soft rugs has become a needed solution for customers struggling to find colors that work for them.

It used to make me crazy.  Clients would come in with fabrics consisting of pinks and lime greens, and oriental rugs simply did not have that combination of colors.  We found a temporary fix with Karastans Ashara collection, but as tastes changed and the market became saturated with the same three rugs, people began looking for something new.

Karastan Sovereign AnastasiaThe Karastan Sovereign collection essentially expanded on the Ashara collection adding traditional designs and new colors that allowed customers to blend new style and fresh feel to their existing decor.  For example, we had a client with a coral color sofa that she purchased about ten years ago.  She has since gotten rid of the lime green accents and updated, but the coral sofa stays.  We showed her the Sovereign Emir, with minimal amounts of coral and green blended into a palette of blacks, golds, and blues.  It worked perfectly!

If you are trying to update the look of your home without completely redecorating, you should definitely take a look at the Karastan Sovereign collection.  It is durable, soft, and can work in almost any room. If you would like to see the collection, stop by our showroom.  You can also see them all on our website by clicking here.

Loloi Heirloom Collection

loloi heirloom

We just received our first rug from the new Loloi Heirloom Collection and we are awestruck!  Do we have a favorite new rug in our showroom?  Just maybe.  If you are into antique reproductions with modern colors for a transitional home, keep reading!

Loloi Rugs has long been on the cutting edge of modern decor.  They are very good at modifying their collections to exhibit the latest color combinations and designs.  In our opinion, the way to make an outstanding oriental rug is to combine the best of old-world weaving and techniques and design, with a flair of present through color or manipulation of pattern.

The Loloi Heirloom Collection really nails it.  They have been experimenting with some fabulous oushak weave and low-pile knotting (also called zero-pile.)
The modern color palettes, using light blues, greys, and ivories, is perfect for today’s home.

These rugs are also very competitively priced from the manufacturer, allowing anyone to afford an antique-looking rug at the fraction of the cost of the 100+ year old original.

We love this collection and think you will too.  You can see the entire collection at our showroom very soon.  You can also see them online by clicking here!

2016 Shamrock Shuffle

2016 Shamrock Shuffle

We are just a little bit late in posting this.  We hope you guys will forgive us… Team Lexington Oriental Rugs came out to the 2016 Shamrock Shuffle 3K in support of Lexington Habitat for Humanity. People and events like this are what make this city great! Nice work Team Lexington Oriental Rugs, your shenanigans made us proud!

The Shamrock Shuffle 3k is an annual road race (for runners, duh) in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.  The proceeds from this wonderfully fun event support Lexington Habitat.  Lexington Oriental Rugs was happy to be chosen as the Presenting Sponsor for this local favorite among hardcore runners and first timers alike. Team LOR sponsors teams for many local charity events, but this team was one our largest to date with almost 40 registered participants!

This 1.8 trek through the heart of the Bluegrass is locally organized, and 100% of the proceeds go to benefit Lexington Habitat for Humanity.  Since 1986, Lexington Habitat has helped 400 families achieve home ownership through building simple, decent, affordable housing alongside community volunteers. Find out how you can donate, volunteer or get involved at lexhabitat.org.

2016 Bowling for Kids SakeWe also had a chance to hit the lanes for the 2016 Bowling for Kid’s Sake event to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass. Bowl for Kids’ Sake is Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass’ largest and most successful fund raising event each year. For over 30 years, this event has helped to provide the resources needed to put mentors in the lives of children that need and want a Big Brother or Big Sister. Companies and other groups work together to create bowing teams of up to five participants. These teams raise donations by using pledge sheets.  Luckily for us, our pledges were not based on our scores.

Team Lexington Oriental Rugs is a group of Employees, Clients, Friends, and Family that participate in community activities to improve our Lexington Home!  Hugh James, owner of Lexington Furniture, was a Big Brother in the past, and has continued his support of the group by sponsoring a Bowl for Kids’ Sake team for many years.  If you would like to learn more about our team, please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/teamlor .

Rustic Cabin Rug

rustic cabin rugWe recently had a client who came to us looking for a rustic cabin rug.  Tribal oriental rugs typically look great in rustic settings and we jumped at the chance to see this customer’s home for ourselves!

This beautiful home was located in Paris, Kentucky and nestled next to a creek with a beautiful view of the water and open fields nearby.  As if the view wasn’t enough to make us jealous, this customer also had a wonderful collection of antique furniture and art that accentuated the look and feel of the cabin.

We wanted the rug to be large enough to provide ample coverage for a living room space with a full size sofa and chairs.  We also needed something that would work with a very large stone fireplace.  To keep with the rustic cabin feel, we decided to go with a tribal pattern with rusts, browns, blues, greens, and golds.

The customer gravitated towards the softness and durability of Indian rugs, so we worked to find an antique reproduction that would look the part of a centuries old tribal rug, but would have the softness underfoot of a new production rug.  This piece did just the trick.  With hand-spun wool and vegetable dyes, it looked old without the added wear and tear or added cost.

We love how this project turned out and applaud the work done by the interior designers involved.  Are you ready to create something beautiful?  We can help!  See all of our oriental rugs in our showroom or online at www.lexingtonorientalrugs.com


Persian Rug Embargo Lifted

persian rug embargo

After months and years of unfounded rumors, the Persian rug embargo has been lifted.  The embargo has been in place fully since September 2010 as part of an effort to persuade Iran into dismantling their nuclear programs.  Tensions have been high between the US and Iran since the 1970’s, and embargoes have been commonplace.

Persian Rug Embargo Lifted

Iranian and U.S. officials announced on January 23rd that Iran had complied with the terms of last summer’s landmark deal to dismantle its nuclear program and that the sanctions that have crippled the nation’s economy would be lifted. The move will give the Iranian government access to more than $50 billion in frozen assets and oil revenue. It also allows some exceptions to trade embargoes against Iran. (The full trade embargo has not been lifted.)  Of particular interest to us is the ability to now import Persian rugs.

Estimates show that the United States accounted for more than 20% of all of Iran’s rug export prior to the re-enactment of the embargo in 2010.  The lifting of the Persian rug embargo will certainly help oriental rug dealers in the US and Iran, but will the market follow suit?

How will this affect prices?

I’m no oracle, but I think that prices of Persian goods will drop from current levels.  (More supply with slipping demand.)

Throughout the most recent embargo, many oriental rug dealers raised prices on all of the Persian goods, saying that the lack of supply could no longer meet demand.  While this may have been true of exceptional quality high-end pieces, it was not necessarily true of more common pieces.  Supply abounded in the US, even without trade lines remaining open.  The move to raise prices by oriental rug dealers proved a poor decision, and the market for true Persian rugs in the US faltered.

The supply of Iranian rugs is now beginning to trickle in again.  Will the demand for Persian rug return to pre-embargo levels?  Only time will tell.  Personally, this rug dealer doesn’t think so.  Quality and construction techniques from other countries such as India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have increased to meet or exceed most Iranian rugs that will be imported.  For collectors and consumers wanting an investment-quality piece, exceptionally fine Persian rugs and antiques will dominate the market.  But for consumers looking for antique reproductions at a more affordable price-point, other countries will likely lead the way.

Looking to the future.

On a personal note, I am very excited to see the re-introduction of Persian rug into the market.  The significance of these items not just in the world of textiles and floor covering, but in the art world in general, is impossible to measure.  Over 3000 years of design and art history are represented in each one.  Anytime you can bring something of that nature into your home, it is a great experience.

Stay tuned for more information on this subject.  We will be sure to update as events unfold.

It takes a village… Rug Weaving

weaving oriental rugs

Not all oriental rugs are made the same.  Even some rugs that are made in the same method, start in very different places and travel a differing path.  That’s part of the reason why many of our program rugs (available in different sizes) can actually cost more than our one-of-a-kind pieces.  Seem confusing?  We can explain.  Read on to learn why.

Basic Rug Pricing

In it’s simplest form, oriental rugs are priced by the square foot.  How much cost is involved in the materials and time needed to produce that square foot of rug is key.  One-of-a-kind handmade rugs take a long time to make, but the infrastructure needed to make such a piece is relatively small.  Programmed rugs require a much larger infrastructure to keep reproducing the same pattern and colors in multiple sizes, and therefore will generally cost more per square foot.

Unlike machine-made rugs, handmade and hand-knotted rugs stand apart , with over 80 steps in production before a rug is ever inspected and shipped to the United States.  From the purchase of raw wool to the final finishing and washing steps, massive amounts of skilled artisan effort is needed to ensure a consistent product.

Weaving Oriental Rugs – The Numbers

When they say it takes a village, in terms of weaving oriental rugs, the statement is literal.  As an example, Jaipur Rugs, one of our manufacturers based out of India presents the following numbers:  Initial sorting of the raw wool takes 50-60 workers.  Another 15-20 are employed to wash the raw wool.  60 skilled workers are needed to card and separate the wool.  For hand-spinning wool into yarn (about half of our inventory is made from hand-spun wool) approximately 12,000 skilled artisans are needed to create enough wool yarn to keep up with demand.  35 master dye-makers will procure and create dyes to be applied to the yarn.  A whopping 28,000 weavers will be employed under master weavers, and another 500 will be used to specialize in finishing.  40-50 workers specialize in transportation.  THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE needed to create the rug in your living room, huh?

Urban Mountain Challenge 2016

urban mountain challenge

The third Urban Mountain Challenge happened on January 30th, 2016 in downtown Lexington and Team LOR was there to take home some hardware!

The Urban Mountain Challenge involves climbing the 31 stories of stairs in “Big Blue”, the 5/3 Bank building in the middle of downtown Lexington.  This year the event had two challenges entitled “Climb Big Blue” (A stair climb of the 31 story Big Blue Building) and “The Downtown Double Challenge” (A five story parking helix climb followed by a climb of the Big Blue Building).  Proceeds from the event benefit the Downtown Lexington Corporation Foundation.

urban mountain challenge

The view from the top!

Team LOR has competed in this event before and was excited to field a team again this year.  ALL of our team competitors went home with awards!  Tim Tharpe was the overall winner of the event.  Becca Atkins placed first in her age group.  Amanda Lisembee placed first in her age group.  And Chad Tussey finished 3rd in his age group (not bad for a broken down old rug man.)

If you have read this blog before, you have heard us talking about Team Lexington Oriental Rugs. It’s a group of employees, clients, and friends that get together to participate in community events, charity road
races, and habitat builds. Team LOR is just our way of giving back to the community that has supported us while having a little fun along the way.  Why are we doing this? We like punishment. (Have you seen how many rugs we unload when we get new shipments?) And we love raising money for great charities. Would you like to get involved? Let us know.  We provide team members with a team jersey and sponsor entry into any events. Thanks for helping us to make our community the best!  www.lexingtonorientalrugs.com


Bourbon County Historic Home

historic home living room

kentucky homes and gardensWe made the cover!  Well, technically, the home and the interior designers made the cover of Kentucky Homes and Gardens Magazine.  But we had a rug and furniture as the focal point in this amazing Bourbon County historic home, and that makes us feel pretty special.  Actually, we had quite a few rugs and pieces of furniture for this client, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who was involved in the project!

The customer recently moved to Kentucky from Florida and began renovating this 1800’s home on a working horse farm in Bourbon County, near Georgetown and Paris.  The homeowners worked with both Kimbrel/Birkman Interiors and Polka Dots and Rosebuds Interiors to create a comfortable home with modern amenities and timeless decor.

historic home dining roomParts of the interior feature original hardwood floors, with reclaimed hardwoods filling spaces that could not be salvaged.  With this much hardwood, a few good quality oriental rugs would be needed.  The main living area features a large Nourison Nourmak with soft seafoam greens, rusts, and ivories.  The flat-woven texture gives the look and feel of a time-worn antique.

The formal dining room opens to an enclosed porch, and has very traditional Chipendale dining chairs and pedestal table.  Another rug from the Nourison Nourmak collection was chosen to accent wall colors and window treatments.

historic home living room 2The living room rug needed to be a bit larger, durable, and have a punch of color to highight green swivel chairs and window treatments.  This Afghani Peshawar met the demands of everyday heavy use, while keeping with the old-world, antique look of the decor.

A guest apartment off of the formal living room features sofas and loveseats with a damask pattern to match the overstuffed chair.  Two matching rugs from Jaipur Rug’s Opus collection added a punch of color to coordinate with existing distinctive patterns.

historic home guest roomWe love how this project turned out and applaud the work done by the interior designers involved.  Are you ready to create something beautiful?  We can help!  See all of our oriental rugs in our showroom or online at www.lexingtonorientalrugs.com

Oriental Rug Project in Louisville

indian oushak oriental rug

We recently took on an oriental rug project in Louisville, Kentucky.  After searching locally for the perfect combination of oriental rugs to finish a new home, the homeowner and interior designer decided to make the 60 mile trek to Lexington Oriental Rug Co. to look for a solution.  After looking at floor plans, paint swatches, and fabric samples, we were able to make some suggestions about what we thought would fit the customer’s wants aesthetically and needs durably.

This home features dark, wide-planked wood floors, soft beige and blue walls, detailed white woodwork, and stone countertops.  Even without furniture or oriental rugs, the home was architecturally beautiful!  Our customer wanted a masculine rug in the office to coordinate with a rustic theme and adjoining rug in another room.  They also wanted a large living room rug to compliment the soft tones in the furniture that would be durable enough to handle heavy use.  The master bedroom required a large oriental rug with blue and beige tones.  This rug needed to be as soft as possible while remaining durable enough to handle to medium size dogs that have made the master bedroom their own.

afghan oriental rugThe oriental rug selection for the office was relatively easy.  The customer wanted brown and rust tones with a rustic feel.  (He also had an affinity for unique, one of a kind rugs.)  We selected a few Afghan rugs and he immediately gravitated towards this one.  The geometric patterns added a masculine element while the nubby texture of the hand-spun wool pile made this new rug look old and rustic.

For the living room, we narrowed down four or five selections to a single choice.  This 10×14 Indian Oushak perfectly blended the tones in the detailed woodwork and paint, while coordinating with furniture and fabrics.  The idea was to find a rug that tied it all together without stealing the show.  She wanted the rug to be seen and noticed, but not to be the focal point of the room.  Oushaks are known for being muted and soft, and this rug fit the space wonderfully.  (Plus, it is durable enough to withstand daily heavy traffic.)

karastan euphoria monoghanThe oriental rug that we chose for the master bedroom was selected by necessity.  Our customer had two primary needs that we took into account before color or pattern:  those were softness and durability.  We decided to look at the Karastan Euphoria collection.  This collection features Karastan’s proprietary Smartsilk fiber.  This fiber is amazing soft, feeling similar to a blend of silk and cashmere, with a built instain resistance.  Luckily, many of the rugs in this collection have a subdued color palette that worked well with existing colors and fabrics.  In the end, we went with the Monoghan Sandstone 90266-471.

We were elated that our customers were happy with our work and chose us as their source for oriental rugs.  If you would like to let our interior designers find the perfect rug for you, give us a call!  You can also shop our entire inventory online at www.lexingtonorientalrugs.com

Bamboo Silk Rugs

Loloi Kensington 100% Bamboo Silk Rugs

Loloi Kensington 100% Bamboo Silk Rugs

Food for pandas?  Or is bamboo something much more than that?  As it turns out, bamboo is an extremely versatile textile that has an amazing range of uses including the old world industry of oriental rugs.  There has been a massive surge in rug production with the use of bamboo silk as a pile material.   These rugs are soft, stylish, and durable at a fraction of the cost of a real silk rug.  Continue reading for more information about bamboo silk rugs.

Real silk is a wonderful product.  It is soft and smooth, extremely durable, and is a natural product.  Unfortunately, real silk is very expensive and difficult to care for.  Unless it is blended with another fiber such as wool, real silk rugs are reserved for extremely low traffic areas or for use as wall hangings.

Bamboo silk gives rugs the look and feel of real silk, but at a fraction of the cost and with added cleanability.  Bamboo is essentially a woody grass.  It is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, with some breeds growing as fast as 1 meter per day!  Bamboo is an organic product, easily sustainable, requires very little water, limits soil erosion, and is extremely efficient in CO2 reduction and oxygen production.  With properties such as these, it is no surprise that oriental rug manufacturers have looked for ways of incorporating bamboo silk into their production materials.

Bamboo is steamed and crushed to release the cellulose fibers within the plant.   In this process the woody part of the bamboo is crushed mechanically before a natural enzyme retting and washing process is used to break down the walls and extract the bamboo fiber. This bast fibre is then spun into yarn.  In fine counts the yarn has a silky touch.  The same manufacturing process is used to produce linen fabric from flax or hemp. Bamboo fabric made from this process is sometimes called bamboo linen.

The biggest downside to bamboo silk rugs lies within stain resistance.  While somewhat resistant to stains, bamboo silk is not as resistant as our most popular material, wool.  We suggest that 100% silk or bamboo silk rugs be reserved for areas with lower traffic and little likelihood of staining.  Probably not the best choice of rug for underneath a kitchen table…

In terms of performance, our Bamboo Silk tests 3.7 out of 5.0 for Stain Resistance (after cleaning).  To put this score into perspective, the rating key has 1 being lowest performance and 5 being superior performance with a rating of 3 considered satisfactory.  As a comparison, high grade New Zealand wool tests 4.6 out of 5.0.

Regarding cleaning of our Bamboo Silk, it is best to use a professional.  However, there are times when a quick response is needed.  Gently blot the soiled area, using a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb liquids from spills.  Air dry; heat drying should be avoided.  Do not scrub.

You can see more 100% Bamboo Silk rugs by clicking here.