|Yep.... Mystery shopped at abc Carpet and home in Manhattan! It happened August 9th, 2009.
My third time here, first time documenting. Pretty incredible building.
I didn't have too much time to browse, but impression was pretty good. Some very nice quality peshawar chobi rugs at fairly modest prices and designer trend rugs at a higher pricepoint.
A wide variety of rugs were available, as were more unique pieces which one may be hard pressed to find in a small town rug store.
Although the full gallery is on the 6th floor, below is the first taste of rugs on the entrance floor. The Chobi/Peshawar type rugs were very nice with good quality wool, very even weave and consistent knotting. An example of the prices: A 3' x 10' approximately 9/9 quality (81 KPSI) rugs were selling at $969. Great colors and pattern at a very fair retail price. With this investment range, a 9' x 12' Peshawar would be around $3,000, which was reasonable given the quality, type, and especially location of purchase.
I made my way on up the elevator to the 6th floor for the full gallery. After exiting the elevator, I noted this spot on reproduction of the Pazyryk carpet seen below. Excellent quality and superb design execution. Appeared to be very true to the original.
As I was browsing a few of the rugs, a salesman approached me with a
big smile while blurting out "hey buddy". It was great to know
I could be welcomed to one of the most reputed rug outlets in Manhattan
with similar deference of ordering a bacon cheeseburger in a New Jersey
truck stop diner.
Last time I went to this section of abc, the prices were not what I
would have considered competitive in the least. Although certain rugs
were definitely 'better buys' than others, overall, it seems as though
a fair amount of prices may have gone down since my last visit which is great. Below is
an 8'10" x 11'5" nichols art deco carpet. From the area I saw, it appeared to be in near mint
condition, with what would be considered a fair retail market asking price.
ABC has a line of carpets which fall into a collection they refer to as 'color reform'. Very interesting concept, and somewhat of an ironic twist on your traditional tea-wash. As opposed to antique washed rugs to make a new rug appear older, older rugs are treated to appeal to a more colorful, upbeat modern-chic demand.
It seems as though their 'color reform' rugs take three forms. One process appears to be a wash which saturates the rug with an overcaste of brighter colors (seen below: two separate rugs, one heavy hot pink overtone, another heavy green overtone). Most of the rugs were from Turkey: Where many older worn rugs may be found in abundance. In the writer's opinion, it's hard to justify paying $4,699 for the 5' x 10' pink rug shown below. However, this is an unusual and creative departure from what we're accustomed to in the rug business, and no doubt, there are people who seemingly are willing to pay the price for something unusual.
Another example of the color reform collection as I gathered was the piece shown below and to the right. Almost a fusion of tie dye, jackson pollock and a traditional rug design. In person, the original rug design is exceedingly faint. However, from the dark side, you can still see elements of the border prevelant. This rug was of very nice quality, worn down close to the knot heads (perhaps intentional, accelerated wear) and marked as an 'Overdye' Indian silk mix at $3,299 for a 3'9" x 6'3".
Oddly enough, I don't know how I feel about this rug. In person it had interesting features. However, I would have preferred this not have featured a base, traditional design. Additionally, as a rug such as this continues to wear, you may find the design to change drastically as dyes will be absorbed in some areas heavier than others.
Despite quotations noted by Matisse, Klee, da Vinci and O'Keeffe hanging in the color reform section to augment the "artistic" appeal of color use.... as with any post-production alteration, I love to take a look at the back side of the rug. Whereas many would consider this type of treatement to a hand knotted rug sacrilegious, it's important to remember many of these pieces may have had previously irreversible problems such as heavy color run, uneven antique wash, stains or otherwise have aesthetically compromising issues.
I do see how the 'color reform' line has strong potential popularity. The salesman did say they couldn't keep them in stock as they've been such a hit. My impression of what is being done here: Perhaps the act of severely altering the intended design of a rug shifts the perceived value away from traditional substantive value, and into the realm of art? However, I've always considered rugs an art, and manipulation of such in the manner presented is in my opinion, not necessary. My personal sentiment is that if a rug is to be a canvas, start with a blank slate. There's not much monetary value in a piece once subjected to such a process. As interesting and cool as some of the rugs were, I cannot forsee these carpets being the collectible antiques of tomorrow.
The last of what I gather 'color reform' to be includes this patchwork rug. These have continued to grow with steady popularity in the last few years. Although not as intensive as creating a new rug from scratch, there is a fair amount of labor which goes into making these carpets. On the right hand side are a few of the quotations from famous artists as previously mentioned. How can you go wrong with patchwork? I thoroughly enjoy this type, so long as the rugs integrated are not blotchy from color run.
All in all, in regards to 'color reform', there's a possibility I might be disappointed if a friend were to have paid the asking price for a few of them... Conversely, there are some pretty decent buys to be had at ABC provided you know what to look for! Be sure to check in with our Rug Forum.