I call it the carpet. I own one. So two close friends. A favorite cousin. Some members of my group are talking. Lots and lots of social media friends. Thousands upon thousands of people who leave reviews on retail websites. In this way, it’s like the home décor version of the horror movie “The Ring”: first you buy The Rug and seven days later you discover that there is everyone else in the world, too.
Tanya Underwood-Best and her husband Tim Best came to The Rug via a detour. They wanted to travel, see the world and introduce their two young children to different cultures. When an apprenticeship opportunity opened up for Mr. Best, 44, in Hong Kong, the family left their row house in Philadelphia.
The only question: how do you fit your new apartment in Repulse Bay with a comfortable landing spot for your daughters Winnie (4) and Lettie (8) who are both aiming for ballet flats?
“I found the rug online when we were in Hong Kong and actually bought it from Overstock US,” said Ms. Underwood-Best, 43, a writer. “I couldn’t find anything locally that wasn’t cheap or prohibitively expensive.”
As it turns out, the rug she shipped around the world has become a staple in many American households. Its growth is a seemingly organic phenomenon. The design, most commonly referred to as the “Moroccan grille,” comes from Rugs USA, a company with headquarters in New York and distribution centers in New Jersey and California. It is loosely inspired by vintage hand-woven Berber carpets, the imperfections of which underscore their status as folk art. It’s available in 10 colors and 34 sizes at various home decor retailers such as Wayfair, Overstock.com, and Amazon, which currently has more than 16,000 reviews.
Krishna Gil Marshall of Santa Monica, California said the first time she noticed the carpet was when an ad surfaced on Instagram. “I follow a lot of dogs, designers and travelogues where the algorithm has probably taken me,” said Gil Marshall, also in her early forties. “The funny thing is that I try not to be too gaudy with my decor and get one-offs from Etsy.”
When Sarah Tackett bought the rug with her boyfriend for her Brooklyn apartment, she said, “We knew we were buying a mass-market version of a beautiful rug that is common among Instagram influencers, but it turned into a running joke it did there are only four carpets in the world anyway. “
One of those Instagram design curators, Amanda Terry, who borrows from @therusticredfox, calls her style “modern farmhouse”. She bought the rug in gray from Amazon because with two cats, two dogs and two young children she needed something durable that still had personality.
That kind of personality can be found in a unique vintage Beni Ourain Berber rug, made from the soft sheep wool that grazes in the high Atlas Mountains and made popular by design publications like Domino and Elle Decor, but it costs thousands of dollars. The Rugs USA version is available for around $ 100.
Speaking from the Kennedy Airport cargo terminal picking up an incoming shipment of vintage carpets, Nathan Ursch said he understood the appeal of the production version, which has become one of Rug USA’s best-selling designs.
Mr Ursch, who owns the Breuckelen Berber boutique carpet shop with his wife Brin Reinhardt, specializes in the sale of vintage Berber carpets. “People always” discover “them,” he said. “In the 1950s, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright used Berber carpets to soften the strict lines of their work. The carpets are warm but imperfect and create a contrast. “
Omri Schwartz, General Manager of the Nazmiyal Collection in Manhattan, sees little aesthetic appeal in The Rug. “What makes Berber carpets of all 17 tribes so special is their lack of symmetry,” he said. “The variations give you a feeling for the personality of the craftsman. The more you look at it, the more it starts to develop. This version – it’s flat, there is no sense of movement. It should be bought and then disposed of. “
Unsurprisingly, Koorosh Yaraghi, founder and president of Rugs USA, had a different mindset. The appeal of The Rug is that “it’s an accessible Moroccan-inspired motif,” he wrote in an email, “with a unique look that compliments any interior style, at an affordable price, and with a power-borne synthetic material which makes it durable for high traffic areas and daily use. “
In other words, it is meant to capture the unique spirit of a handcrafted textile that might have been acquired on an adventurous trip to an open air market. But it’s also designed to be discreet enough to blend in with furniture and endure the punishment of children and pets.
While lacking many of the properties of its reference, the carpet does contain interpretations of traditional Berber fertility symbols. “I would just say be careful,” warned Mr. Ursch the haunted parents who make up the carpet’s primary population. “There might be some unexpected babies in your future.”