A carpet can completely change a room. They’re gorgeous, but purchasing one can seem a little intimidating at first. We asked 5 readers to share their carpet and rug choices with us, and tell us more about the buying process. (If you’re looking for some hints and tips to make sure your gorgeous carpet lasts as long as possible in great condition, here’s a quick guide about carpet care!)
Juliette Genillard, French
We relocated to Singapore supposedly for two years, but three years later we’re still here. We left most of our belongings in storage in Switzerland, so we had to furnish the entire house when we moved in. I knew what I didn’t want: old carpets. But I didn’t have a specific idea in mind. Also, as we intended to stay for only a short period of time, we didn’t want to spend too much money. I remember talking to a friend about my carpet search and she immediately recommended Ruby Slipper’s website. I was instantly attracted to the fact the rugs were adapted to Singapore’s weather and lifestyle, and I found the choice of patterns and colours totally suitable for my situation. I liked the simplicity of the patterns, their Indian touch and the brightness of the colours, and I felt they could fit perfectly. I immediately sent an email to Lucy, who responded less than an hour later; I really appreciated her responsiveness.
I ended up purchasing seven rugs, one for each of my children’s bedrooms, one for our room, one for the guest room, one for the hall and one for the living room. The house was almost empty aside from some mostly black or white items, so I tried to give it personality and warmth by picking patterns and colours that would match my children’s personalities and ages. Lucy offers a personalised service; she understands your wishes, gives sensible advice and has an eye for colour. She delivers the rugs herself and is very particular about the quality of the product; she runs her business in a very elegant manner.
Shoko Iwanaga, Japanese
I’m renovating our new apartment and wanted the master bedroom to look as cosy as possible. We have a dark wood floor, and I thought a plush carpet under my bed would add warmth to the décor. My colour scheme was ivory, sandstone and ‘greige’ (a mix of grey and beige) – a hard colour to find anywhere. I wanted the carpet to fit the width of my headboard with a specific design and colour, therefore it was inevitable I’d need a custom-made rug. I wanted the design to be a frame of ivory white, which would exactly match the colour of my curtain, and a mix of sandstone and greige for the inner section. I visited The Rug Maker’s show flat and was convinced they could make my custom rug – they had an amazing colour choice and a wide selection of materials. I ended up purchasing a bamboo silk rug, 2.2 by 3 metres, with a framed design customised to the colours of my master bedroom. I found the exact match for my curtains, and was also able to mix two shades of grey and greige together with ivory white, to add character to the inner design of the rug. Bamboo silk was my first choice as it’s softer than wool, so that first touch when you get out of bed in the morning is amazing. The Rug Maker staff were responsive, gave me professional advice and brought their colour scheme box to my home so I could choose colours on site. I was very grateful to Chin Lee for being very patient with me and taking the time to help me choose the colours.
The Rug Maker 1092 Lower Delta Road | 6270 2823
Richard Helfer, US and Cambodian citizen
When I came to Singapore in 1986, I undertook the furnishing of a residence that required carpets and Hassan’s was recommended to me. I purchased my first carpets at their then regularly scheduled carpet auctions. As a collector of numerous objets d’art and accessories, I always begin by reading up on what I’m interested in collecting and then use the following as my guide in purchasing: a good quality piece that I like and understand, and at a cost I can afford. Abdul Rahman Talib took note of my interest and through him I began to learn about hand-knotted carpets. It was also through Rahman that I met Suliman Hamid, and over the years both Rahman and Suliman have become my lifelong friends. Suliman has been my mentor on many of the hotel and lifestyle projects we’ve undertaken in Singapore, the region and internationally. I’ve worked with Hassan’s and Suliman on the acquisition of hand-knotted carpets for a number of these projects, including the restoration and redevelopment of Raffles Hotel, and our work for One Farrer Hotel & Spa (pictured). The latter, our most recent project, is a hotel with contemporary style and décor, and we’ve acquired over 70 pieces for it, including carpets from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and selected fine Persian pieces from Iran. Hassan’s have been welcoming and straightforward, generous with knowledge, and fair in pricing, and they regularly inspect the carpets and assist with their washing and repairs when required.
Hassan’s Carpets Outram Road Tan Boon Liat Building, #02-06 | 6737 5626
Vandana and Anant Bhide, Indian
We weren’t actually looking for a carpet when we met Abid Mir from Lotto Carpets, but had gone to enquire instead about their carpet-cleaning services. After cleaning our carpets, Abid introduced us to fine antique Persian rugs, and we realised that what we owned had nowhere near the quality or antiquity of the ones that he showed us. In the past, we had approached carpets as decorative floor coverings, but we have slowly been educated about the intricacies of designs, weaves, and the origins and history of rug-making. Abid’s personality and knowledge of antique rugs have impressed us immensely. We purchased a range of carpets, including a lovely Keshan and a Melayar; both are from the 19th century, and the latter is a particular example of weaving brilliance. We also bought a mid-19th-century Turkmen Ersari made by the Charshango tribe in the area of Northern Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The carpet’s octagonal guls (flowers) are referred to as Fil-Pai, Persian for elephant’s foot. We also purchased a striking Russian Ersari and a stunning Bokhara, which is an exceptional example of weaving finesse. When buying carpets, it’s natural to not be certain whether a particular piece may gel with the ambience of your house. Instead of making a decision right away in the shop, at Lotto Carpets you can take your choices home to try them out and then make a considered decision. What really struck us about the antique carpets were the vibrant natural colours, the intricacies of the designs and weaves, and their pliant feel. But more than that, Lotto Carpets introduced us to the intriguing subject of antique rugs that has enriched our lives – hopefully, the journey will continue!
Leah Llamzon, American
We were looking for a carpet that would wear well, and we wanted something different in our living room to bring the design together. We were hoping for a piece with lighter tones that would be a good contrast to the dark leather furniture in that room. However, given that we have two boys (aged 13 and 11) and it’s a high traffic area, we wanted a design that would camouflage small mishaps. Hedger’s Carpet Gallery is a member of the Handknotted Carpet Association (Singapore), and that was important for us. We have received a Certificate of Authenticity for each carpet that we’ve purchased, so we have a brief history and description of each one. You’re assured of the quality of their carpets, and can buy with confidence. We were invited to attend a Hedger’s Carpet auction at the American Club, and quite spontaneously decided to purchase our Persian Birjand carpet along with several others. We liked the colour scheme of the Persian Birjand, and my husband in particular appreciates the compartmental designs. The added bonus was that the carpet was Persian. Hedger’s Carpet Gallery goes out of its way to ensure that you understand the product you’re purchasing. You have the freedom to explore carpets at your own pace with no pressure to purchase, and being in the store is always an experience. We’ve grown to trust Hedger’s; we purchase our carpets exclusively from them, and we couldn’t be happier!
Want more home inspiration? See our home decor section!
This article first appeared in the December 2015 issue.