A popular style trend currently for home interiors is the layering of multiple rugs on your floor. This is a particularly terrific design solution if you're renting and don't have the luxury of ripping up the carpet and replacing it. It got us thinking about all the stunning rugs on the market at the moment, the colours, designs and origins. As such, we thought we would catch up with an expert in the industry to find out more about these beautiful additions for your home's floor.
Daniel Axiak is the owner of West End Co - a handwoven rug store in Brisbane.
"West End for those that don’t know it is an area that was once fairly industrial and is now a pretty hip and cool inner city suburb. Seeing that West End Co is located in an old warehouse that was built in the 1920s, I figured I would give my business a name that reflected the building’s heritage," comments Daniel.
West End Co was established 15-months ago by Daniel after a career managing mining camps. "Me, myself, and I, with help from my son and friends," states Daniel proudly when asked who else is involved in the business.
Daniel goes on to say that West End Co is "Brisbane’s best place to buy a Tribal or Oriental rug that is ethically sourced, and sold by the guy who sources the rugs himself and has a deep interest and understanding of his rugs."
Spending time with customers, explaining the provenance of the pieces they are interested in, and learning about rugs are all things Daniel enjoys doing on a daily basis at his store. "I love working with my rugs because they are crafted by people and not machines. I think we as a society are losing ourselves and slaves to consumption and mass produced items. I like the idea of buying a rug that will still be around in a few generations".
So when it comes to the variety of style and rugs on offer, what should a customer look for?
"Each rug has its own origins, background and processes involved in bringing it to life", comments Daniel.
Three of the most popular types of rugs sold at West End Co are Tribal, Oriental and Persian.
Handwoven by nomadic tribes across the western Asian regions who spend their lives travelling and crafting their wares from whatever resources are available to them. Whether the materials are bought in trade or, sourced from the animals the tribesmen keep to sustain themselves, these unique rugs are woven from the travels and experiences of each individual weaver. As such, Tribal Rugs have an individuality and uniqueness never seen before. Tribal Rugs also tell an individual story in both their craftwork and design.
A mix of handwoven and machine-crafted rugs from the ‘Orient’. While this term traditionally denotes countries specifically from the Asian region (such as China and India), it has been extended to include Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus and Cyprus. Though traditionally handwoven, due to the rise in worldwide popularity for rugs of this style, some cheaper variations have emerged from countries engaging in machine craft style production. Oriental rugs are known for their richness in variation and design due to the many cultures that have begun to produce these rugs. Oriental rugs tend to carry individualistic markings, stylings and symbols specific to the region in which they are made.
An ancient art in Persia (Iran) for thousands of years and one of the country’s biggest and most well known exports to this day. Persian Rugs are hand crafted by the most skilled artisans and produced to only the highest quality. The weaves are produced with such precision and strict standards that rugs can take from anywhere from a month to several years to complete depending on size.
So, how does a customer decide what rug is perfect for them and their needs?
"I usually start by explaining to customers the difference between a kilim and a knotted rug. The easiest way is to liken a kilim to a weave, something like a crocheted piece, and a rug is thousands of knots on a base of either wool or cotton," says Daniel.
"Typically, Persian rugs are very fine, often ornate, with a double weft and higher knot density. Tribal Rugs are courser, often in darker colours, with more imperfections, but with lots of character," states Daniel. As such, it really comes down to a customer’s style preference and budget when selecting a rug.
All of West End Co's rugs are made from wool "although many have a cotton warp and weft," comments Daniel.
Given Daniel is the sole operator of the business; we guessed that he was the lucky person to go on buying trips to source the rugs?
"Yes, these trips happen once a year and most of my buying of Afghani piece is done in Pakistan. I have a trusted supplier with whom I do most of my trading. He takes me to visit two or three smaller traders that have some of the harder to get, and sort-after, pieces. It isn’t at all like buying a rug in one of the bazaars in Turkey. I know the market so there is no need to haggle. The buying trip is more about choice, seeing if I can find some very special pieces, and building stronger relationships with my suppliers," comments Daniel.
"Persian Rugs are often the finest; however I personally like the beauty and story behind tribal rugs. I see the perfection in their imperfections," notes Daniel.
When it comes to identifying the quality of a rug, Daniel identifies a few key points to be aware of.
"Certainly the knot density and quality of wool and dyes is always worth looking for. It really depends on the rug type. Faults or inconsistencies are common with tribal rugs however as I said earlier, this is what makes a tribal rug so desirable and unique," notes Daniel.
So when it comes to selecting the rugs, does Daniel also design or create any himself?
"I deal mostly with Afghan rugs and regrettably Afghan weavers are the most resistant to change of all weavers. We certainly like to advise on some colour combinations of certain rugs, however for the most part, we leave it to the weavers and don't submit designs ourselves."
West End Co is obviously based in Brisbane but the good news is they ship nationwide.
"All our rugs can be shipped anywhere in Australia and what's more, it's free! So, if you fall in love with one of our rugs and you're not visiting Brisbane anytime soon - not to worry! Simply buy online and it will be sent to you for free," explains Daniel.
Finally, when we asked what advice Daniel would give to a potential customer looking to purchase a rug for their home he doesn't hesitate to answer, "Don’t overthink it. Choose something you are going to enjoy being around".
And with advice like that, it's no wonder Daniel's West End Co business is fast becoming the place to go when shopping for a beautiful keepsake rug.
The team at House Of Home would like to thank Daniel from West End Co for his time and advice when it comes to shopping for a rug for your home.