The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 2 -- HERAT ORIENTAL IMPORTS (Alexandria, VA)
Many years ago while working on the living room for a client who I have affectionately nicknamed 'The Lone Wolf' for his ability to track the best of the best at the best price, all the while juggling CEO responsibilities and the demands of a brood of beautiful kids, I was introduced to Zia and Firoz, the nicest guys in the carpet business. The brothers own and run Herat Oriental Imports, and offer possibly one of the most comprehensive inventories of Oriental carpets on the East Coast. Housed in a industrial complex located near the train-tracks, their warehouse (just recently opened to the public) is the place for professionals in the design trade to obtain just about anything woven within the past hundred years (or two, or three). Hand-woven carpets come from about nine premier weaving centers located in Iran, India, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Turkey, Afghanistan (and parts of the other Caucus countries); can be generally classified into tribal or city carpets, and are based on traditional designs with small variations based on the aesthetic preferences of certain localities. The colors range from subtle variations of earth tones to spectacular combinations of brilliant blues/corals/turquoise, with just about something for every taste (and price point).
Recently, Zia shared, there has been a huge demand for vegetable-dyed carpets which depict crisp geometric and abstract shapes somewhat resembling an idealized 'nature;' the Tibetean carpets are very popular with designers today, and show up in all the glossy home magazines where they easily blend with transitional or modern components, and confer the 'of the moment, yet timeless' feel. Also, quite popular are tribal carpets where pattens and color are bold and rich, and perfect for homes filled with antiques, overflowing libraries, and pooches who trample in and out of the garden. I love worn, thread-bare tribal carpets which can be tossed over tables, or used as bed-coverings in the winter months, or hung on the wall to be admired from near (and afar). Art critic David Sylvester's London loft featured in Architectural Digest is forever imbedded in my mind. Although I no longer have that particular issue, I clearly remember soaring ceilings with miles of moldings; deep and moody colors; aged carpets on walls and floors, an antique table or two with art-books; African masks, and paintings by Bacon and Twombly. Really, the pinnacle of Western civilization as evidenced in the arts, creatively displayed within two rooms - and all this without fuss!!
If looking for a beautiful carpet to start (or finish) the room, please consider stopping by the warehouse and be prepared for a dazzling display of Orientals, or visit their website at www.heratimports.com. You'll be extremely satisfied by their personalized service, find whatever your heart desires, and you'll never purchase another over-priced imitation from the chain-store catalogue (or from those questionable places where going-out-of-business have hung for the last six or seven years).
Please enjoy today's visual treat, as well as the latest issue of ELLE DECOR which proudly states 'The Return of Color.' What a relief, cause for some time now, I felt like the bewildered camper paddling upstream (against a tide of beige/white/beige/white).