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COSY BENI OUARAIN RUGS FOR THE WINTER SEASON

We’re into the middle of November, and even though Christmas is everywhere already, it’s still a little early for me to be thinking earnestly about the festive season!  What is nice though, and never too early to consider, is how to make your home warm and cosy, not just for Christmas, but to see you through the long cold months ahead.  A pure wool rug, with a soft deep pile is the perfect addition to any room for the Winter season.

My December issue of Elle Decoration UK recently arrived, and features a beautiful vintage Beni Ouarain rug, which sits perfectly next to the simple Christmas fir trees in this Danish home photographed by Birgitta Wolfgang.  This simple Scandinavian style setting is stunning, but with their classic designs and monochrome colours, Beni rugs sit easily with any interior style.  We have some beautiful vintage Beni rugs available in our stock in Marrakech, but we also offer as an alternative a collection of modern rugs, woven from the finest quality wool using traditional weaving techniques.  Take a look at our sample size sale, a collection of rugs in the perfect size for sitting in front of a sofa, the fire, or underneath a small table.  After weaving, these modern rugs are washed and dried up to eight times, and it’s this repeated washing which improves the appearance and texture of the wool, giving it a luxuriously soft silkiness. Perfect for sinking your feet into!  Buying a good quality rug like this is an investment, and with the right care it can and should last you a lifetime, not just for Christmas!

MARRAKECH – THE HUB OF THE MOROCCAN RUG TRADE

We’re just back from our sourcing trip to Morocco, and remain convinced that Marrakech is still the best place to source Moroccan rugs.  The weather was unseasonably hot and humid, with just a little rain on one morning which very quickly disappeared.  Staying in an unfamiliar part of the Medina, it was an adventure as always to find our way to familiar places, but souk wandering is a must when you’re here!

We’ve seen some beautiful new Beni Ouarain productions, in a range of new colours and designs (including blue and pink!) all up on our website soon…..and have some more stunning Flatweaves and Boucherouite already on their way over to the UK.  Our partner/supplier has such a vast inventory of both old and new rugs, all catalogued and photographed that we are sure that if we can’t find what you’re looking for here in Marrakech, it can’t be found!  We’ll be adding a collection of vintage Beni Mguild rugs to our website soon, reversible pieces where the design is clearly visible on the back of the carpet.

In the meantime check out our collection of Petit Beni Ouarain, some beautifully soft small rugs, made from the finest quality wool, all originally made as samples.  These are also located in Marrakech, and we’ll be uploading additional photos of these over the next few days.

BENI OUARAIN RUGS – BLACK OR BROWN?

Trawling through the internet this morning to find a suitable image to illustrate the difference between ‘black’ and ‘brown’ designs on a Beni Ouarain rug.  Unfortunately we don’t know the source of this beautiful photo, but you can clearly see that the classic lattice design on this lovely Beni rug is woven in brown wool.  So what is the difference? and how can you know what you are buying?  It is often very difficult to tell from photos whether a design is in fact brown or black. If you’re working with a neutral palette, either brown or black will probably work in a room, but we are often asked by clients specifically for a Beni rug with a ‘black’ design.

You can find vintage Beni rugs woven with either brown or black designs, but ‘black’ will often have faded down to a lovely charcoal grey over years of use and washing.  However, it is worth noting that contemporary Beni Ouarain rugs woven with undyed wool are invariably woven with a brownish coloured wool, the reason for this is simply that wool from pure black sheep has become increasingly difficult to source.  Therefore if you do find a modern Beni rug with a black design, you can probably assume that the wool has been dyed.  This doesn’t detract from its beauty in any way of course!  If you are looking specifically for a rug with a black design, we will do our best to find one for you, and this often involves getting some really good close up photos of the rug to double check the colour of the design.  A custom made rug can, of course, be made in the colour of your choice

info@marbleandmint.co.uk

SOURCING IN MARRAKECH

We will be back in Marrakech at the end of this month, spending time in the Souk des Tapis, living and breathing rugs for a while!  If you know what you’re looking for, Marrakech is still a great place to source both vintage and contemporary Moroccan rugs.  We are lucky enough to work in hand in hand with a very well established family business there who have a knowledge of the history of their rugs built up over generations of trading.   We don’t claim to know absolutely everything about Moroccan rugs, it’s a continual learning curve for us, but what we don’t know they can certainly tell us!  They have a very large stock available on the ground in Marrakech, which they source direct from the weavers.  If there is anything special you are looking for, a particular size or style of rug, please let us know, we will always do our best to find your perfect rug.  Our special relationship with our supplier means they will always be on the lookout for our clients’ requirements.   We are also regularly updated and have first dibs on any new and interesting rugs in their collection.  Their excellent weavers in the Atlas mountains also supply our beautiful custom made Beni Ouarain rugs.  Please get in touch if you would like any more information on any of our stock either in the UK or Marrakech.  We would love to hear from you!  info@marbleandmint.co.uk

NEW FOR OCTOBER…..VINTAGE KILIM BOUCHEROUITE

A sneak peak of some beautiful Vintage Kilim Boucherouite arriving this month to add to our collection…..

These colourful flatweaves are woven from pieces of recycled textiles, are light and durable, and perfect for throwing down on a wooden or stone floor to add warmth, texture and colour.  Above is a lovely kilim abstractly decorated with tribal motifs including eight-pointed ‘Solomon’s star’ (female fertility) symbols.

Although you may find many similar kilims, no two are exactly alike.  In contrast to the kilim in the first photo, the one above has an orderly vertical zig zag design with contrasting horizontal weaving at each end, and below a traditional lozenge design.  Easy to clean, they are perfect for kitchens, bathrooms and children’s rooms.  All three arriving later this month….we will keep you posted!

 

 

A GUIDE TO CLEANING YOUR MOROCCAN RUG

There’s a lot to be said for the good old fashioned idea of ‘airing’ a carpet, and taking it outside to give it a good beating.  Cleaning a rug in Morocco is very similar…….shake it, wash it, dry it.  Simple but effective,  it’s common sense really, and they don’t have moth problems.   The rugs are taken outside and washed with soapy water, either with buckets and brushes on roof terraces or in streams or rivers, and then left in the sun to dry.  Great…but not so easy unless you have these facilities and the weather to go with them, but you can follow the same basic principles.

We’re in the process of producing a printed guide to go out with all our rugs, but in the meantime here are some basic do’s and don’ts….

DO…..

  • Air your rug regularly and shake it outside to remove the dirt and dust
  • Hoover your rug from side to side only (not along the length)
  • Spot clean any marks with a mild detergent
  • Consider a specialist carpet cleaning service for cleaning the whole rug.  Washing is great, you could use your bathtub, but these rugs are extremely heavy when wet….I’ve tried it! A small Boucherouite rug will be easy to wash and dry, you may even be able to fit one into your washing machine and tumble dryer, but a larger wool rug requires different handling.
DON’T….
  • Use any harsh detergents, chemicals or bleach based products.  These can damage the wool in a rug and leave unsightly patches.

So there you go….a common sense guide to caring for your rug!

 

AUTUMN – TIME TO COSY UP….

After a long hot Summer, Autumn is finally here and time to think about long cosy evenings ahead.  Bare floors are great in the warm weather, but when this time of the year comes, we all want something nice and soft to sink our feet into, next to the sofa in front of the fire, or to welcome you when you take your shoes off in your hallway.

Changing or adding a rug with the season is a great way to instantly update your room, adding colour, texture and warmth.   The colour purple is set to be the next big noise in interiors, following on from Autumn/Winter 2016 catwalk trends.  We have some beautiful vintage Boujaad rugs available now in soft aubergine and purple tones, originating from the Haouz region of the Middle Atlas Mountains.  Investment pieces to see you through this and the coming Winter season.  A little early to be thinking about Christmas, but the jewel tones in these rugs would be just perfect for the festive season too!

Vintage Boujaad Rug £995

 

TRADITIONAL BERBER TEXTILE DESIGN AND THE FASHION WORLD

Fantastic to see this beautiful coat at New York Fashion Week by Ulla Johnson…….Gorgeous or what?

It clearly takes its inspiration from the design of traditional Berber wedding blankets or Handira, embellished with hundreds of sequins and fringing.  It’s not the first time we’ve seen this inspiration recently.  This beautiful jumper is available from Plumo’s Autumn collection, and takes the same inspiration.

Photo credit Plumo Studio
Photo credit Plumo Studio

It’s not unusual to see trends from the catwalk filtering down to interiors.  Colour trends, designs and textures usually follow down from one to the other, but it’s great to see the reverse, the catwalk taking inspiration from traditional textiles.  That beautiful coat by Ulla Johnson appearing at NYFW is a sure sign that something similar will soon be in our high street stores!  Stunning….it’s definitely on my Christmas list.

 

HOMES AND ANTIQUES – OCTOBER ISSUE

Homes and Antiques October edition is out now, and we’re very honoured to be featured in their list of must follow business.  The current edition is an Art Déco special, so it’s a perfect issue for us to be featured.  The Art Deco era is a personal favourite and it’s also the period of time when mid-century modernists first introduced Moroccan rugs to the world of interior design.  There are some great interiors in this issue and please don’t forget to follow us!  You can find news of our latest products, travels and interior inspirations on our Instagram account and Facebook pages.  Just look for @marbleandmint

 

 

CUSTOM BENI OUARAIN RUGS – DUBAI AND THE UAE

Tribe Dubai are our agents for our beautiful custom made Beni rugs in Dubai and the UAE.  They will be moving to their fabulous new studio in The Courtyard, Al Quoz on the 1st September and we’re having some really great size samples made for them to keep in their studio and for loan to designers.  Tribe offer a free consultation service for their rugs, so they will be happy to bring samples out to your home to see exactly how they look in situ.  Contact Jo or Valentina at Tribe for more details! info@tribedubai.com