We had a recent enquiry from clients who had been recommended to us from friends, when they lived in Belgravia, London. They have since moved to Scotland and had three oriental rugs they wanted advice on.
On arrival at the house, I was shown firstly a vintage Afghan Ersari rug, a small Turkman Tekke tribal rug and a large flat woven Kilim runner.
The Ersari rug was in great condition and only needed a dust extraction, specialist hand cleaning and dry with a final moth treatment. It was typical in colour, being wine red and navy blue wool on a cotton foundation. The Turkmen Tekke rug was also in good condition, slightly unusual in that the predominant colour was brown with a dark brown pattern, made of wool and again on a cotton foundation but was curling in, along the long edge which we refer to as the cord. The Kilim which was about 10ft long had been completely eaten by moths at one end and was in need of some serious TLC.
We advised that the cost of repair would possibly be more than the rugs value and that they may consider just a salvage option such as reducing the rug past the damage and creating a slightly shorter rug. On many occasions we would completely rebuild the end of the rug, however without the sentimental attachment here, the economic value dictated the clients decision making.
We dust extracted, hand cleaned and moth treated the Ersari and the Tekke in our usual way using organic shampoos and soft brushes. We dried them over ventilated pipes to ensure they remained in shape and lay flat on the floor. The lanolin in the wool was resurrected as a result of this process, and both rugs looked like new. We stretched the Tekke to take the curl out and we added leather strip binding up both edges to stabilise the rug. The whole process was a complete success.
In the end we shortened the Kilim past the moth damage and created a new fringe on the cut end. As Kilim rugs tend to have a repeating pattern, this reduction in size was invisible. We secured the other end which had some vacuum damage and then carefully hand washed the rug. The colours came up even better than we expected and the finished article looked great albeit a bit shorter. We made the cut at a point where it did not look obvious and it would have taken an expert to tell it had been altered.
The result was, our client got their two rugs back looking like new and a kilim that had looked beyond reasonable repair, made very usable.
The Ersari and tekke are now on the floor in the lounge and the Kilim has pride of place in the hall, where it looks like it was meant to be, colour and size.
Needless to say, our clients were delighted with the professional hand cleaning and stabilising of the two rugs but were over the moon at our honesty and advice regarding the Kilim and the great result achieved from us doing the work.
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