Newark Star Ledger, NJ
April 8 2004
Thursday, April 08, 2004
BY BETH D’ADDONO
Nothing finishes off a room like an Oriental rug. Hand-made and
carefully crafted, each one has a story to tell and can speak volumes
against your polished hardwood floors and favorite furnishings.
Whether a rug is the finest heirloom quality silk or has more humble
beginnings, it still can add style and flair to just about any room.
There are literally hundreds of styles of rugs from exotic places
like Turkey, India, Iran and Tibet, but choosing an Oriental rug
doesn’t have to be one of the inscrutable mysteries of the Far East.
“Don’t let the names confuse you,” said Paul Mobasseri, the
Iranian-born manager of Oriental Rug Weavers Outlet in Green Brook.
“Each rug is named, not for the place where it’s made, but for the
village where its original design comes from — places like Bijar and
Tabriz in Persia, now known as Iran. But the important thing is to
look at a lot of rugs and then buy what you like.”
Buying a fine Oriental is like introducing a piece of history and
culture to your home. The tradition of rug weaving is a rich one.
Fragments of flat-woven carpets have been discovered in ancient
Egyptian tombs, dating back some 4000 years. The weaving of pile rugs
is generally associated with nomadic sheep-herding tribes in the
Middle East and parts of central Asia, long before 2000 B.C. “The
rearing of sheep, the prime source of carpet wool, is a traditional
nomad occupation,” according to the Web site “Add to
this the necessity of thick coverings for people having to endure
extreme cold, and it’s likely the craft of weaving developed to
replace the use of rough animal skins for warmth.”
What started out of necessity continued as a reflection of cultural
tradition and aesthetics. Antique Persian rugs are generally the most
expensive on the market, but many Persian designs are being produced
successfully elsewhere in the world, especially India. Everything
from the quality of the wool and density of the weave — counted by
the number of knots tied per square-inch — to the type of dye and
detail of design influences a rug’s value.
Depending on its quality, a 6 x 9-foot rug can take 3,000 man-hours
to produce, which accounts for higher prices on some types of
In general, silk rugs are the most expensive, followed by a mixture
of silk and wool and 100 percent wool, which are considered the most
At Oriental Rug Weavers Outlet, prices can range from $850 to $20,000
for an 8 x 10 rug, depending on the quality of the wool, sharpness of
the design and density of the pile.
“A beautiful Oriental rug adds tremendous character to a room,” said
Marilee Schempp of Design I in Summit. Schempp recently redid a
dining room for a client in Chatham, using a 9 x 12 $12,600 Tibetan
rug from Tufenkian Carpets in Hackensack as the room’s anchor and
touchstone for color.
How do you know what size rug to buy? Mobasseri recommends using a
sheet or newspapers as a pattern, trying the dimensions on for size
until it looks right in the space. If you’re buying a rug for the
dining room, anticipate a four-foot border around the table, allowing
chairs to stay on the rug at all times. A reputable rug dealer will
let you bring a rug home to try in your room for a day or two. This
is truly the only way you’ll know for sure if the rug is for you.
About the only rule when it comes to placing an Oriental rug in a
room is that generally you want to center a rug with a prominent
center medallion. Other than that, rugs can complement existing
prints or other runs in adjacent rooms. Colors should harmonize, but
patterns don’t have to match for a rug style to work.
“Once you’ve established your budget, then it’s just a matter of
finding a rug that you fall in love with,” said Joyce Gibson, manager
for Tufenkian Carpets’ Hackensack showroom. Gibson recommends
building a room around a rug, instead of trying to match a rug to
existing paint color and furnishings.
In general, rugs with curving or curvilinear designs enhance formal
and traditional room settings, while geometric patterns work well in
more rustic or modern décor. Tufenkian Carpets specializes in rugs
produced in Tibet and Armenia, including commissioned designs by
Barbara Barry, Clodagh, Kevin Walz and Vincente Wolf. Company founder
James Tufenkian, produces most of the rug patterns, inspired by
Prices for an 8 x 10 can range from $2,200 up to $13,000 and up. If
you want to spend more, you can also custom design a rug to fit your
world — a feature that has turned celebs like Goldie Hawn and Kelsey
Grammer into Tufenkian customers.
Once you’re ready to shop, spend some time at several different rug
stores, comparing styles and quality. Check out the price range for
the style of rug that you love most. Patronize an established and
reputable store that offers a wide variety of styles and price ranges
and will allow you to take a rug home to try out in the room.
What you don’t want to do is go cross-eyed counting the knots on the
back of the rug. “Don’t get caught in the knot count trap,” said
Gibson. “Some rug designs demand a looser, coarser weave. In general,
the higher the knot count, the more detail in the design. But the
bottom line is the value of good design and color and what you fall
in love with — that’s what ultimately sells a rug.”
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress