Saturday, July 21, 2012

Carpet Buying

Virtually every bazaar I've been to has at least one, if not two, carpet dealers. The dealers roll out their carpets, lining them up against walls or outside on sidewalks to showcase their wares. The carpets are beautiful, with gorgeous colors and patterns. But beyond the visual beauty of the carpets, is the stunning feel of the carpets--sometimes soft silk or a silk and wool blend. Of course, you can buy practical wool in gorgeous patterns.

At the last coffee morning of the season, before most expats flee the country in droves, I saw a carpet dealer and decided to stop and look at his carpets. They were so beautiful. And it occurred to me that I have bought very few pieces of furniture or household items in my lifetime. I'm not kidding. We bought a used couch while living in Sweden that we sold or gave away when we moved. We bought beds for everyone when we moved back to the States. I found a beautiful used dining room set. Other than that, most items were given to us. It's time to move beyond hand-me-downs. I've been married for 14 years. We've paid off our debts, are living simply and on a budget, and we have savings. So I decided it was time to buy a carpet.

A funny thing happens though when you make such a big purchase. It is nerve-wracking. After spending some time with the dealer, I wasn't ready to make such a big purchase without my husband. I asked the dealer if we could visit his shop. He has a shop in the Diplomatic Quarter, but he offered to bring a selection of carpets to our villa so we could choose there. We set up an appointment and then I left with a couple of small carpets to try out.

I loved the carpets when I got them home, but they weren't the right size or colors that we wanted. So I waited for our appointment with Mr. Ahmed, carpet dealer. On Tuesday evening, Mr. Ahmed brought a huge truck filled with carpets in 4 different sizes for us to look at. His assistant carried in rolls of carpets and laid them out for us to inspect.

The selection was overwhelming. Most of the carpets were made in Kashmir, Pakistan. Mr. Ahmed and his brothers, come from Pakistan. They travel around Kashmir and buy carpet made by craftsmen in small villages and then import them into Saudi Arabia. All the carpets I looked at were handmade. They came in three different selections: silk, silk/wool, and wool. Then the patterns and colors were exquisite. The intriguing thing about the color patterns is that when you look at the carpet from one direction, it will be dark. Looking at it from the opposite direction, the colors will turn light.

The carpet designs are named after the areas in which the originated. There is the traditional Iranian/Persian design which most of us are familiar with and then there are designs made in small villages around Kashmir. The dealer showed me a small video he took on his cell phone of a man making a carpet. You can't even begin to imagine the time that it takes to make even a small section of the carpet.

After 2 hours of looking through carpets, we decided on two beautiful carpets that we think will last us forever. In our living room, we have a handmade, silk, blue carpet that has a traditional Persian design. And in our bedroom, we have a silk/wool red carpet in a modern design made in Kashmir.

It was such an adventure.


  1. Gorgeous!!! I wish I could have you get me one for my living room, but there is no way I could afford that. How exciting to have a carpet dealer come to your house, it sounds like something from a book!

  2. Thanks for posting about it! I was curious how it went.