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Rug Speak:

We are so immersed in the rug culture we forget sometimes that our customers don't necessarily speak the rug language. When explaining qualities of a rug to a customer they will frequently ask, "What does that mean? I don't know much about the carpet industry." For those of you who want to know more here is a brief and simple explanation of the terms "antique" and "vintage" when it comes to area rugs.

In the rug world the "antique" designation can only be assigned to rugs that have reached the age of 100 years or more. In different collectible markets such as pottery or furniture, the definition of antique can vary from that in the rug industry. The word antique purely describes age and nothing more - not all antiques are valuable, as with other areas of collecting, condition and rarity have more to play in valuation than just the age alone. 

"Vintage" is a much broader term, it can literally be used to describe any rug that is not brand new. Essentially vintage rugs are anywhere from 1 to 99 years old. Even though the definition is less exclusive, in general we only use the term for rugs that are older but have not reached the antique status yet. As you can tell from the broadness of the term the designation "vintage" does not ascribe any value to a rug. That is not to say that vintage rugs have no value, the value of a vintage rug will come from it's condition and desirability.

Meet the Bradford's Rug Gallery family!

Some of you know us well, some of you know us only a little, as it's the start of a new year, I thought it would be a good time to re-introduce all of us so you can know us just a little better. As there are only four of us and we are all family, this both an easy and a challenging feat. None of us enjoy having our pictures taken, in fact you're more likely to find a picture of one of us making faces rather than smiling happily in a family portrait. Which makes it particularly difficult to take and share more personal pictures - rugs never argue when you take pictures of them. We want to have a personal connection with all of you, our customers, no matter how far away you live. For that reason I have forced everyone (amid much reluctance and complaining) to let me take a "nice" photo and share a brief profile. I hope you enjoying getting to know a little bit more about our family!

 

Bradford Ross

Brad Ross (the Bradford in Bradford's Rug Gallery) is the co-owner and founder, and father of two - also THE most difficult to photograph. Brad got his start in the rug business at the young age of 18 while working at a small rug store in Freeport, Maine. Always a history buff, Brad was immediately drawn to the history to be found in the traditional rug making culture. With his enthusiasm for vintage and antique Persian, Caucasian, & Turkman rugs Brad slowly began to amass a collection of rugs until he reached the point at which he was ready to begin his own venture - in 2006 he opened Bradford's Rug Gallery. He continues to be dedicated to the study of old rugs - always educating himself with his extensive personal library - looking, learning, and comparing. Brad is proud to say that his work is truly his passion - if you have ever worked with Brad, his passion is evident.

 

Elizabeth Ross

Elizabeth (Beth) Ross is co-owner as well as Brad's wife, she is the contemporary style-savvy, technical-savvy half of the business. Beth started working with Brad from the beginning, she would bring their younger daughter, Isabelle, to the store with her a couple days a week while also working a second job. Brad frequently remarks that he couldn't have got the business up and running without Beth's help and support. Beth also managed to complete a Bachelor's degree in Political Science at the University of Southern Maine all while helping Brad run the store and fulfill all her other roles. A tireless worker, Beth dedicates herself both to the store and her family - taking care of all of us. She keeps an eye on current trends in interior design so she always knows how to keep our customers up to date and in style. 

 

Courtney Ross

Courtney Ross - that's me - I'm the blog writer, photo taker, rug repairer, and Brad's younger sister. I started working part-time for Brad and Beth in March of 2014 and in 2017 became a full-time employee. Years of retail experience, and being a trusted family member made me the obvious choice to be Brad & Beth's first employee. It also happened to work out nicely that I have a personal interest in the fiber arts, so I have vast knowledge of wool and it's properties, as well as an understanding the process of spinning yarn as well as weaving which made me a prime candidate to learn the art of repairing and restoring rugs. In February of 2017 I completed a rug repair class with Robert Mann Rugs in Denver, Colorado. I've been enjoying doing more and more in-depth repairs and restorations and hope to visit Robert Mann Rugs again soon to further my training.

 

Abigail Ross

Abby Ross is Brad and Beth's oldest daughter - and the most photogenic of all of us. At 17 she is in her Junior year at Gray New Gloucester high school where she is Junior class President, a member of the National Honor Society and captain of her varsity soccer team. She mostly works on Saturday's, occasionally adding an extra day when she is on a school break. Abby is greatly appreciated, we all enjoy her smiling face, her sense of humor, and her willingness to do the not so fun jobs like filing paperwork or cutting rug pads. She keeps us tidy and organized and we love having her here.

Trends to look for in 2018:

Looking at 2018 interior design trend predictions, rug style trends seem to be conspicuously absent from most of the predictors. So, I thought I would put together my very own list of area rug trends I expect to see in 2018. What do YOU think about my predictions? Anything I'm missing?

 

Blending Neutrals - Greys and Beiges

Grey was the IT color in 2017, this year, I predict that beige and browns will be back but combined with those grey and black tones. Giving a warmer overall feel but still firmly rooted in the soothing neutral family.

 

Simple Strong Geometrics

The Scandinavian look is growing in popularity again, and I think you'll be seeing a lot more of it in 2018, which includes clean, strong, geometric type patterns. 

"Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century, and which flourished in the 1950s, in the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden."

 

 

Old & Worn Persian Rugs

There is nothing quite like a comfortable, well loved, broken in pair of shoes. I equate that feeling will the sense of comfort and livability a nice old, worn rug provides in a room. What we call "scrappy" rugs have increasingly become popular and I think this year they will be ubiquitous. But the great thing about these rugs is that no two are the same so you'll always have your own unique, original style.

Old rugs are great for many reasons: They have lived a long life and there probably isn't anything you can do to them that hasn't already been done. They are typically less expensive - condition is a big factor in valuing old rugs so when a rug isn't in great condition it's value to collectors is small, thus you can typically find scrappy rugs at great prices. They are really good at hiding spills and stains - anyone who has lived with a traditional oriental rug will tell you how well they have lasted and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the pattern will help hide any number of stains.

 

 

I look forward to seeing what other area rug style trends move to the fore-front in 2018. To keep your finger on the pulse of style check out some of our favorite style sites:

ELLE Decor

Design Sponge 

New England Home

Pantone Color of the Year:

2018 - Ultra Violet

"As individuals around the world become more fascinated with color and realize its ability to convey deep messages and meanings, designers and brands should feel empowered to use color to inspire and influence. The Color of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design, reflecting the Pantone Color Institute’s year-round work doing the same for designers and brands."   -pantone.com

Some great area rug options that have ultra violet or would coordinate with ultra violet accents: Available in a range of standard sizes.

1.) Galaxy 02 - Hand tufted 100% wool

2.) Tangier Multi - Hand hooked 100% wool

3.) Dromen - Hand knotted - wool with bamboo silk accents

Come visit us at our 297 Forest Avenue Gallery to see the full selection of rugs that work with the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year!

 

 

Cleaning Your Wool Rug - Quick Guide for the Holidays

It's that time of year to gather together with family and loved ones. That means increased foot traffic, increased potential for food and beverage spills, and all the other things that come with making merry. We spend so much time beautifying our homes to welcome our loved ones, and don't want to waste our time being overly focused on keeping things nice and tidy. To help I've put together a comprehensive, but easy guide (with the help of Hibernia Woolen Mills) to help you clean up even the worst of spills during this holiday season - or any other time of the year.

When faced with spills, speed is of the essence and applying the right treatments, promptly will help prevent stains and damage. Wool is naturally water repellent. If liquid is spilled on the carpet it will form beads, allowing time for you to blot them up before they can be absorbed. Please read through all instructions before attempting cleaning - some processes require multiple steps and if not followed exactly could potentially damage your rug.

  • In the case of spilled liquids, the recommended method is to blot the spill with an absorbent, white cloth - so it does not bleed color when wet.

  • If solids are spilled, they should be scooped or picked up quickly with a spatula or dust pan. Any remaining residue should then be treated – as per the cleaning instructions detailed below.

  • When applying cleaning agents, never apply them directly to the carpet and use a small quantity at a time.

  • By working your way inwards from the outer edge of a spot, you can prevent the stain from spreading.

  • When cleaning up spills and spots, avoid rubbing as this can cause the spot to spread or distort/felt the pile.

  • Keep the carpet as dry as possible during cleaning. After applying the required treatment, blot the area as dry as possible with a clean cloth and then cover with paper towels to dry.

*Mud: It is best to leave mud to dry then vacuum it off the surface of the carpet.

 

Cleaning Agents for Spot Removal:

Detergent Solution -

Mix one teaspoon of clear dish washing liquid with a cup of warm water. This solution must be well rinsed with clear water.

Ammonia Solution -

Mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia (3% solution) with 1/2 cup of water. After using, this solution must be neutralized with vinegar solution.

Vinegar Solution -

Mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.

Solvent -

Mineral Spirits

Absorbent Cleaners - 

Host or Capture

As always if you are not confident on how best to clean a spill: remove any solids, blot out as much of the spill as you can with a white cloth and warm water. The less you do the better. Then contact us to have your rug professionally cleaned.

Don't worry about your rugs, enjoy your holiday season!

Rugs in Pop Culture

Even though area rugs can be masterful works of art they can still become a back drop rather than the feature in a room. An area rug can quietly provide a distinct ambiance in a room without overpowering everything else. Nowhere is there a better example of this than area rugs used in television and movies. TV and movie sets are designed to be a backdrop on which the actors carry a scene, yet every single prop is chosen with care and attention in order to convey a very specific atmosphere, this includes the floor coverings.

As someone who notices rugs everywhere, lately I have been noticing how ubiquitous traditional Persian area rugs are in the entertainment industry. It is an excellent demonstration on how a nice, traditional rug will never go out of style. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of those "famous" pop culture rugs. Here are my 5 favorites (in no particular order):

1.) Persian Kashan on Shark Tank

If you haven't seen it, Shark Tank is a reality tv show on which ambitious entrepreneurs present their breakthrough business concepts in order to receive funding. The kashan has become famous for being the floor covering where the entrepreneurs stand while presenting their business ideas.

2.) Persian Kashan in The Big Lebowski

If you haven't seen the movie The Big Lebowksi then you are missing out on a late 90's cultural icon. In the movie, "The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. “That rug really tied the room together.” is a frequently quoted movie reference. That Kashan really did tie the room together....

3.) Persian Heriz on Friends

If you haven't heard of the television sitcom Friends you've probably been in a coma for the last two decades, but in case you are unfamiliar, it follows the personal and professional lives of six 20 to 30-something-year-old friends living in Manhattan. If you know the show, you'll remember their favorite coffee shop hangout, underneath their favorite orange, velvet couch is a beautiful old Heriz. You can see other great Persian rugs scattered about the coffee shop but the Heriz is the only one seen clearly enough to identify.

4.) Various Persian rugs on Elementary

This television show is a modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City. My favorite part is that the character of Watson has been re-imagine as a female. Sherlock and Watson live in a run down old brown stone with some fabulous run down old Persian rugs. You never quite get a clear enough view of any of the rugs to identify them, but in general they all have the appearance of age and wear - which gives them some great character.

5.) Various Persian rugs on NCIS - New Orleans

A spin-off of the original NCIS, it is about the local field office of NCIS that investigates criminal cases involving military personnel in "The Big Easy" (New Orleans). The NCIS - NOLA team's office is full of great old Persian rugs. Again, you never quite get a clear enough view to see exactly what they are, but they all have some age to them. As a little extra aside, one of the characters - Sebastian (a quirky, brainy type) - also has some layered Turkish rugs in his house. They are all fun bright colors, they create a wonderfully eclectic feel.

 

Across genres, across decades traditional Persian rugs have held their decorative relevance. There isn't a better testament to the classic longevity of a great traditional area rug.

If you would like to explore our available inventory like these Pop Culture area rugs click on the links below:

Kashan

Heriz

Worn Persian 

Persian Scatter

Bright Turkish

 

The Bijar (Bidjar)

"The Iron Rugs of Persia"

Bidjar is a city located in the Kurdistan Province of northwestern Iran populated primarily by Kurdish tribes who can trace their weaving tradition back for centuries.

Bidjar carpets are universally famous for their durability... The carpets have a tightly compacted triple-weft weave. The high tension of the weft pulls the warps into two layers, this gives the carpet great rigidity making Bidjars particularly strong and heavy. 

For this reason a Bidjar is capable of withstanding up to 200 years of heavy use. We have quite a few vintage and antique Bidjars in-stock that are ready for another 100 years of hard wearing. The longevity and charming colors and designs of the Bidjar makes them desirable to consumers worldwide. This desirability has lead to a strong retail value for most Bidjar rugs, condition plays a large part in the ultimate valuation though.

Interestingly, the weavers of Bidjar made rug samples, called "wagireh," to use as a design cartoon in carpet weaving. Wagireh rugs have partial design motifs of the background, borders, and medallion to enable weavers to follow the pattern. To complete a carpet the design would be duplicated by mirror image; for a larger carpet the design would be woven numerous times. Occasionally, these unique samples can be found, for example we believe one of our in-stock antique Bidjars may be a wagireh due to it's unbalanced and off center design - click here to visit it's product page.

 

Bidjar carpets are counted among the best Oriental carpets for everyday use, modern Bidjar workshop carpets are still of excellent design and construction. Stop by our Portland, Maine gallery to see our full selection of both old and new Bidjar carpets.

Rugs in Kitchens?

It is commonly thought that kitchens are the worst place to put an area rug, there are too many possibilities for spills, stains, and food getting mashed into the rug. In fact kitchens are one of the best places to have area rugs. Kitchens are probably the place we stand the most in our homes, it's not only more comfortable to stand on rugs while working at the sink and stove, it's also better for your feet and back.

People often think that a nice quality, wool rug in a kitchen will just get destroyed. But really kitchens are the best place to put a nice quality wool rug and these are the reasons why:

1.) Color and pattern are the best ways of hiding a multitude of sins, well made hand knotted rugs offer a large range of great colors and pattern. It's very difficult to spot any stains or dirt on a multi color, patterned rug. One of the reasons a good Persian rug can be handed down through the generations.

2.) Wool is naturally stain resistant, it gives you a window of time to clean spills before stains set. Lanolin coats the wool fibers creating a barrier to moisture that prevents spills from being absorbed immediately. Getting to spills before they fully soak in is key. But, even if you do end up with a stain, the colors and pattern can help hide the stain.

3.) Wool rugs can occasionally be sent out to be fully hand washed. We work with knowledgeable cleaners (Coastal Cleaning Solutions) who do the hand washing and they have the skills to address most special cleaning requirements. Rugs in kitchens may need to be professionally cleaned more frequently than rugs in other areas of the house, but a good quality wool rug will with-stand more frequent cleaning than other options.

 

If you just can't bring yourself to buy a high quality, wool rug for your kitchen, for fear of destroying it, there are still other good options at a lower price point. Polypropylene (Indoor/Outdoor) rugs can be a good compromise. 

 Top reasons to get a poly rug for the kitchen.

1.) Poly rugs are typically less expensive, making them less dear to replace when they become too soiled for continued use.

2.) You can be aggressive about cleaning it. Any house hold cleaner (spot test first) can be used with a soft bristled brush to scrub out spots and spills. You can also take poly rugs outside to hose them off. So in an area where there are a lot of spills you have the ability to clean the rug vigorously. Please note that even though poly rugs are plastic they can still be stained, as with wool rugs, color and pattern are always helpful at hiding spots and stains.

 

Treat yourself right, don't stand on a cold hard floor while cooking or washing dishes, give yourself something soft and padded underfoot. It will help make your kitchen a homier place to be. We all know kitchens are the heart of the home, consider warming it up with a lovely rug!

Some of my favorite options for kitchen rugs:

To learn more about various rug materials and which are ideal for kitchen environments and why please read our blog Materials Matter.

To see more great kitchen rug options please visit us at our Portland gallery, or contact us

Temporary Forest Avenue Closure

Please note that starting Saturday, November 11th through 7am Monday, November 13th the section of Forest Avenue starting at Marginal Way and going to the Interstate 295 overpass will be closed. That will include closing the Interstate 295 6A and 6B north bound exits and entrances. The store will not be affected in any way - we will be open our regular hours - but getting to us may be a little more challenging during the road closure. We'll keep you updated as the work progresses.

If you need assistance re-routing to our store from Interstate 295 please follow these directions: I've included a satellite maps that will help show you the route.

  • Use Interstate 295 Exit 7 to Franklin Street (directions are the same for those coming from both the north and south)
  • Almost immediately take a right on to Marginal Way
  • At the intersection of Marginal Way and Prebble Street (the first traffic light you come to) take a right on to Prebble Street.
  • At the intersection of Prebble Street and Baxter Boulevard (first traffic light) take a left on to Baxter Boulevard.
  • Almost immediately take a left into the Hannaford Shopping Plaza.
  • Stay to the right and follow the the road it will shortly bring you up along side our building and out on to Forest Avenue.
  • Take a right on to Forest Avenue, and an immediate right into our parking lot.

If you have any questions or need any further explanation of the detour route please give us a call: 207-772-3843

For more information please visit the City of Portland Website or their Facebook page.

Choosing the Right Rug Size

There are a few simple guidelines that will help making choosing the right size rug a breeze. Just follow these simple dos and don'ts to get a beautiful designer look in your own home.

DO make sure the rug you buy for your living room is large enough to get at least the front feet of all your furniture onto the rug, especially in open floor plan homes. It will add warmth, clearly define the space, and make it feel larger.

DO NOT buy a rug that you cannot get at least some part of all your furniture on - and make sure that if you have a coffee table it doesn't obscure the entire rug. A small, un-anchored rug floating in the middle of the room will make a room feel smaller and less cohesive.

DO layer rugs - if the rug you love is too small for your space that's ok. Buy a solid color or textured rug in the right size and layer it underneath the rug you love.

DO NOT settle for a rug you don't love - if the rug you love doesn't come in the size you need consider layering. You will be living with your rug everyday - you will never love something you settled for more than the day you bought it.

DO buy a rug in a size that will serve it's functional purpose. If you are buying a rug for your bedroom, make sure the rug covers the floor in all the areas you will be barefoot. i.e.: along the side of the bed, in/infront of the closets. Consider buying several smaller rugs to place in those areas if one large rug is too expensive or cannot cover all those areas.

 

 

 


 

 

DON'T leave the floor bare where you most want to have a rug underfoot. Observe how you use a space and measure to determine a rug size that will best cover all your traffic patterns.

DO make sure your rug is big enough to sit down at your dining room table and have plenty of room to pull out your dining room chairs. It is recommended that the rug should be no less than 18" larger than your dining table on all sides. The ideal is to have 24" on all sides to allow for chairs.

DON'T buy a rug that is too small for your dining table - if your rug is too small as you pull the chairs out and push them back in, the friction of the chairs on your floor and on the edge of you rug will cause damage to both the rug and the floor. Making the rug a moot point and costing you more money in the long run.

We highly recommend getting out some painters tape or newspaper to mark out potential rug sizes in the room to get a good visual sense of what will work or won't. Since rugs typically come is standard sizes (i.e.: 5x8, 6x9, 8x10, etc.) it's good to keep those sizes in mind - but also measure your ideal size, there are always some variations on standard sizes out there. It's also helpful to measure your minimums and maximums in either direction to know what your possible ranges for sizes are.

Good luck, have fun, and remember to buy what you love!

For even more helpful info on choosing the right rug size visit our website: https://www.bradfordsruggallery.com/pages/size-guides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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