Category Archives: Rugs We Love

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!

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.

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.

Timeless Rug Designs

timeless rug designs

I spend a lot of time focusing on design trends, interior styles, and emerging colors.  These areas of interior design change quickly and losing track of what customers want in their home can be devastating to small businesses like ours.  The oriental rug industry is very aware of changes in the consumer market and work quickly to react to the changing landscape.  But even in this “wild west” of styles, some designs and colors remain almost immune to these changing tastes.  What makes these timeless rug designs so special?  Let’s take a look.

timeless rug designsAs it turns out, most of these timeless rug designs have common traits.  And many of them have been around for hundreds of years, while some of their design motifs have been traced back over 3000 years! These designs have evolved over time and have essentially survived through changing styles over centuries. They rose to the top, best of the best, survival of the fittest and all that…

The first common trait among timeless rug design is color.  Most of these rugs are dominantly red and blue with highlights of golds, soft blues, and green.  This color palette is one of necessity, not necessarily of choice.  Chemical dyes didn’t really emerge until the 1890’s, so until then people had to use natural vegetable dyes that they could collect locally and manufacture themselves.  The ultimate goal of ancient times was to create vibrant color, and reds and blues were the easiest to create.  That’s why there is such an abundance of these colors in the market, there are simply hundreds of years with no way to make greys, purples, or varied greens.

timeless rug designs herizThe second common trait is pattern.  Typically there are two variations of “field patterns”, medallions and repetitive motifs.  Medallion rugs were often prized, as it took skill to create a uniform medallion well centered in the rug.  Both of these styles are usually bordered with one of 5 major border types, but most of these involve repetition of floral or geometric motifs that “meander” or rotate 180 degrees every other repetition.  While all of these patterns can be classified as geometric or floral, they are all basically stylized floral forms.

The third common trait is origin of the pattern.  With the exception of just a few Indian and Turkish designs, all of our most popular timeless rug designs originated in Persia (modern day Iran.)  While we can trace back many carpet patterns nearly 3000 years, the height of rug design occurred during the Safavid rule of the 16th and 17th centuries.  These Safavid rulers placed emphasis on art, design, and architecture and the rug industry flourished because of this patronage.  These timeless patterns spread across the globe and represent the majority of most basic patterns produced today.

If you would like to see some of these timeless rug designs, visit our Lexington, Kentucky showroom.  We would be very happy to show you some of our personal favorites.  You can also see a huge variety of rugs on our website at www.lexingtonorientalrugs.com .

Kalaty Pasha

Kalaty Pasha PH-993

Kalaty Pasha PH-993

Interior design and home decor requires balance.  Balance between form and function, balance between timeless and trendy… and balance between quality and budget.  Oriental rugs are no different.  We work very hard to find the perfect balance between the colors and styles of the most recent trends.  And of course, we have to work very hard to get the best quality possible for a price our clients are willing to afford.  The Kalaty Pasha collection is built around balance.  These rugs take some of the best time-tested designs from the old world and inject fresh new colors in a construction that is durable, intricate, and affordable.

Kalaty Pasha PH-992

Kalaty Pasha PH-992

The success of the Kalaty Pasha collection is no coincidence and the recipe is simple.  Find the most versatile and popular designs of the last 200 years and change the colors to reflect the most popular colors over the last 10 years.   The result is a collection of patterns and colors that will work with most decors and will remain “in-style” for generations to come.  Now manufacture these rugs in the most durable and quality-driven way possible- hand-knotted and rendered in 100% premium hand-spun wool.  Our clients and customers demand a rug that will last a lifetime that can withstand all of the daily rigors life throw at them. And the Kalaty Pasha collection performs.  Balance of style and function, construction and price.  Beautiful!

The Kalaty Pasha collection contains pattern that are floral or geometric, also with central medallion or repeating patterns.  Most of the rugs within the collection are based around the same color palette, so finding coordinating pieces is an easy task.  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 Kingsley

Loloi Kingsley

What are the hallmarks of valuable antique oriental rugs?  On initial inspection it would seem that most collectible antique rugs have a few similar characteristics.  The are evenly worn and very thin after at least 100 years of wear and tear.  They are faded in color from generations of natural light and oxidation of dyes.  The fibers are soft and smooth, developing a patina of sorts as they are massages by feet over decades.  What if you could mimic these attributes to a minute detail?  Let us introduce you to the Loloi Kingsley Collection.

Loloi Kingsley 04Oriental rug manufacturers have been looking for ways to make new rugs look antique essentially as long as rugs have existed.  While many questionable techniques exist to accelerate the aging process, the best way to make a new rug look old is by making it the old way.  Hand-spinning wool gives the pile a slightly nubby, more imperfect texture.  The lack of perfect spin and strength of thread requires that many of these rugs be sheared to a very low, thin pile.  Add to this mix the use of natural, vegetable dyes with some eye for very soft color and you end up with an antique looking rug.  It looks old because it is made the “old way.”  And with practice, some finer manufacturers have made collections that will pass as true antique rug at a mere fraction of the cost.

The Loloi Kinglsey collection of antique reproductions has left an outstanding impression on rug dealers and interior designers alike.  The pile height is very minimal, and the texture is reminiscent of rugs that are well into a century old.  Exceptionally soft color palette mimic decades of use and exposure to natural light.  The Loloi Kingsley Collection features traditional designs in subtle, sophisticated colors. Hand-knotted in Pakistan of 100% wool, each piece undergoes an antique washing and sun drying process to fade the designs. And thanks to its fine wool fiber, Kingsley is an easy collection to maintain.

If you would like to see the entire Loloi Kingsley collection, stop by our showroom and experience them for yourself.  You can also see them on our website by clicking here.

Kalaty Origins

Kalaty Origins OR-772

We live in and conduct business in the heart of the Bluegrass, in Lexington, Kentucky.  We are surrounded by thoroughbred horses and rolling hills.  Our beautiful home is known for bourbon and hospitality.  I like to think that we are living in a small town that is pretending to be big.  Typically, Kentucky style consists of mahogany and leather in federal style homes.  But lately, we are seeing more and more homes with contemporary or transitional style.  With this shift in style, home decorators and interior designers alike have been looking for a way to bridge the gap between their modern decor and traditional style homes. The Kalaty Origins collection of rugs has provided a solution with clean lines and simple colors to help tie differing styles together.

Kalaty Origins CollectionWith their simple-yet-compelling designs, the borderless rugs in the Kalaty Origins collection complement today’s popular transitional interior design trends. All of the rugs in this collection are hand knotted in a Tibetan weave using a combination of wool and Silkette (a proprietary fiber developed by Kalaty.) Silkette, looks and feels just like silk, but at a fraction of the cost.  And unlike most contemporary rugs with bold shapes and loud colors, these rugs are soft, muted, and utilize patterns that attract attention without overstimulating the senses.

Most of the interior designs we work with use these rugs to tie antique and modern together.  The theory behind this is that by mixing the two styles together, your decor will never really go out of style.  Why go all in on the newest style trend that may be gone in a few years, when you can get the best of both world to last a lifetime?  Sounds like solid logic to us.

We love the Kalaty Origins collection and think you will too.  They are soft. stylish, and an amazing value considering the amount of work put into making each one.  To see the collection, stop by our showroom, or you see them on our website by clicking here.  THANK YOU to all of our awesome customers for allowing us to be a part of their homes!