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Handmade carpets with a personal thread

These custom-made carpets are contemporary yet timeless

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Handmade carpets with a personal thread

January 04 2012
Nicole Swengley

A bespoke, site-specific carpet is a luxury increasing chosen by design-conscious homeowners. “People are realising we can create a modern, yet timeless, design that’s completely suited to their interiors,” says John Erkelens, European regional sales director for artisan carpet producer Tufenkian. The commissioning process is not in the least daunting for clients visiting the company’s Chelsea Harbour Design Centre showroom. Here they can adapt styles, shapes or colours from designs in Tufenkian’s standard range or develop a totally original creation with a design expert.

After approving initial computer sketches, clients receive samples to check the colours and texture before the carpets are handmade from start to finish in Armenia or Nepal. Colour-fast vegetable dyes are used on non-bleached Caucasian or Nepalese wool, silk, hemp, linen or combinations of these natural materials. “The quality is really the best you can get and we’re very strict about all the environmental factors involved,” says Erkelens.

Some clients adapt standard designs such as Barbara Barry’s Temple, which one client ordered in colours that matched his curtains. Others take a more innovative approach. One wanted the pile of his hand-knotted carpet to look like a grizzly-bearskin. Another made his staircase (which was wider at the base than the top) look like a growing rose-bush. “The carpet for each stair had to be made separately so an installer came and hand-knotted it on-site,” explains Erkelens. Tufenkian can also weave carpets whose design and construction flows seamlessly around bends in a staircase or landing.

Bespoke carpets cost up to 10 per cent more than standard designs, which are priced between £600 and £1,500 per square metre. It’s good to know, though, that 50 per cent of profits go to welfare programmes in the company’s weaving communities.

First picture: Golden Moondrops carpet from Barbara Barry’s Astral collection for Tufenkian. Second picture: Kaibab rug from Strata collection by Clodagh.