Vintage Rug Hunt

Vintage Rug Hunt

Now that we are officially done with the most painful floor refinishing project of all time (be sure to check out our last post), it’s time to move on to finding a rug to cover them right back up! That’s right. This week we take you on our epic hunt for an affordable, room-sized vintage rug for our master bedroom.


 

When we kicked off our search, we didn’t quite realize what an obsession we we were about to turn this into.

 

Day 1 of this nearly drug-like addiction started when we walked over to Kebabian’s rug shop on our lunch break to take a quick browse. We had no idea what to expect. For those of you not from the New Haven area, it is one of the oldest oriental rug shops (est. 1882) in the country. And let me tell you, all that experience sure can add a few dollar signs to the price tags. Don't get me wrong. The quality completely warrants the cost. It's just that we aren't quite at the place in our lives to spend such top dollar.

So for the rest of our lunch break, we played along as the new-homeowner, husband and wife architects, hoping they wouldn’t catch on that we absolutely could not afford to be in that store. Even though it was a fun, slightly educational rendezvous, we knew we were not about to drop $6000 on a rug for our bedroom.

One of the early contenders in our shopping experience was this beautiful 8' x 10' Bokhara rug from Kebabian's. Based on this visit, we quickly realized how much we liked this particular type of rug. Defined by their tribal-like, repetitive stamped patterns, these handmade Turkman rugs tend to have a geometric quality that would fit in great with our overall house style.

One of the early contenders in our shopping experience was this beautiful 8' x 10' Bokhara rug from Kebabian's. Based on this visit, we quickly realized how much we liked this particular type of rug. Defined by their tribal-like, repetitive stamped patterns, these handmade Turkman rugs tend to have a geometric quality that would fit in great with our overall house style.

Another lovely rug at Kebabian's was this Afghan Serapi. According to "the internet," the name Serapi originates from the village of Serab. Today, Serapi is a trade name given to better quality Heriz rugs thought to have been woven before 1900. In the United States, the highest quality of Heriz rugs are called Serapi. In the case of the rug at Kebabian's, this was a new, never-been-owned rug rather than an antique.

Another lovely rug at Kebabian's was this Afghan Serapi. According to "the internet," the name Serapi originates from the village of Serab. Today, Serapi is a trade name given to better quality Heriz rugs thought to have been woven before 1900. In the United States, the highest quality of Heriz rugs are called Serapi. In the case of the rug at Kebabian's, this was a new, never-been-owned rug rather than an antique.


 

Time to get educated

Next stop was another rug shop here in New Haven called The Kilim Company. It is owned and operated by a professor of Middle Eastern History who has a true passion for Turkish and middle eastern textiles. With the relaxed atmosphere the owner, Steven, has created for his shop, it made for a seriously pleasant Sunday afternoon.

A true Turkish delight

Together with the owner, Owen and I spent about an hour flipping through rugs and learning how to identify the different types and patterns. It was so educational and informative. To underscore what a host the owner is, he even offered up some turkish delight treats while we shopped. If you know me, that is seriously a quick way to my heart. Unfortunately, in spite of the beautiful rugs we viewed and the fun we had, the price point still didn’t quite meet the budget we hoped to stick to. Even though we didn't end up buying a rug, we definitely plan to return at some point in the future to snatch up one of the fantastic rugs found in this great little establishment. 

 
One of our favorite rugs throughout our search was this Kazak from The Kilim Company. We loved the reds, blues, and golds that are often found in this style of rug. Typically geometric in pattern, Kazak designs often include animals, flowers and medallions similar to tribal rugs but are almost always implemented with straight lines.

One of our favorite rugs throughout our search was this Kazak from The Kilim Company. We loved the reds, blues, and golds that are often found in this style of rug. Typically geometric in pattern, Kazak designs often include animals, flowers and medallions similar to tribal rugs but are almost always implemented with straight lines.

Heading south for Owen’s birthday, we expanded the rug hunt to Virginia. We spent a full afternoon with Owen’s mom haunting the various antique malls of the Northern Neck. To no avail, our last stop was the homestead itself. The vintage rug search at this point went from a hunt to a bit of a dig as we scavenged the “lodge” at Owens parents’ property. Unearthed from this warehouse were some seriously viable options.


Although the price (aka free) was right, none of the options were quite the ideal size or look.

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And into the depths of the internet

At this point we had exhausted almost all of the physical locations we could think of. This is where the search took a bit of a turn from normal to obsessive. We started the deep dive into the World Wide Web of online textile shops. If you’ve ever tried to buy a vintage rug online, you know what a black hole it can be and how it can easily make your head spin.

Curated vintage rug shops

We began searching the stock from a series of shops I found on Instagram via the hashtag #dsnicerug. If you're looking for a more curated collection of vintage rugs, be sure to head over to sites like Loom and Kiln, Woven Abode, Kennedy Rose Interiors or Southern Loom. Sites like these definitely make it easy for the buyer in terms of pre-sorting and finding you only the most stylish options. Even though we found some interesting rugs that would have looked great in our space, they still weren't quite in the price point we were looking for.


One outlier though that I would recommend from that category of store types would be the northwest-based shop called Homestead Seattle. They didn’t end up having exactly what we needed for this particular instance but they had a huge inventory of really great looking rugs and homewares at what I would say was a fairly reasonable price point.

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After exhausting the list of all the trendy shops we could find, we spent several more days browsing eBay, Etsy, and the general web. We narrowed in on two affordable sources: Manhattanrugs.com and Handknotted.com.


And we've zeroed in on a source!

In the end we found several great contenders from Handknotted.com, a large scale supplier based out of South Carolina. What was great about their site was that it had a huge inventory of not only new, but also vintage rugs. They also provided the most in depth information and number of photos compared to rest of the sites we looked at.

As I said, there were so many that we liked, it seemed impossible to choose just one. The next logical step was to do a mini mock-up to see how each of them worked in the space. We were also keen on seeing which parts of the patterns would be covered by the bed.


We chose a handful of rugs and made a diagram of each to see how they would fit. This was a super helpful step to the decision making process.


Although we loved the size of Option 1, a 30 year old Bokhara, we couldn’t quite handle how dark it would be in the space. We liked the overall look of the semi-antique 40 year old Afghan Akhche as seen in Option 2, but it wasn't in quite as good of condition as the others and was missing some fringe.

Option 3 was actually our favorite from a quality and design standpoint. This 40 year-old Afghan Mouri rug was in excellent condition but unforuntely, given that the majority of the beautiful center pattern would be covered by the bed, we couldn’t quite justify spending the extra money for this beauty.

The last option ultimately won out as the best rug for the space given the pattern, overall color, size, and affordable cost. Clocking in at $800, it wasn’t the most deluxe or inherently interesting rug we saw throughout our search but it checked all the boxes of what we needed for the space.

With our decision made, we placed our order and were on our way to taking our first big rug gamble.


We felt pretty good about our decision given the return policy that was on offer. If we didn't like the rug in person or it wasn't as advertised, or worse it smelled awful, we could easily return it at no cost for a full refund.

A mere 3 days after we placed the order, it arrived at our door step! We went ahead and added a custom rug pad to our order, as well. It is definitely important in the life of a rug to have a proper rug pad. 

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The balance of orange-red tones with cream and navy in this geometrically patterned Afghan Akche rug truly sold us and turned out to be beautiful in person when it arrived. We knew we were taking a risk with buying a rug online, but in the end it was totally worth it. What do you all think? Did we make the right choice?

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