Thanksgiving Ready-Tables, Chairs and Accents for your Holiday Hosting

A Look Back at Mohr & McPherson’s History

Learn All About Handmade Rug Types & Terms in our Rug Glossary!

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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Ready-Tables, Chairs and Accents for your Holiday Hosting

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Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? Family, friends, food and football. Thanksgiving is a time to relax, and appreciate the blessings in our lives, forgetting the stress of the daily grind. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner in your home however, this day of peace and gratitude can become very stressful! The last thing you want to worry about amidst the chaos of kitchen timers and relatives is table space. Every guest needs a seat, and each dish needs a place at the table to be displayed. Luckily, at Mohr & McPherson we are running out of space for all of our tables. Here are some of our favorite dining tables, coffee tables, buffets, centerpieces, and extra accents to help you entertain the people you are so grateful to have.

 

Dining Tables

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Industrial reclaimed wood dining table with cast iron base. This table top will add texture and color to your dinner conversation. There is something about eating at a rustic table that  enhances the appetite.

Style Idea:

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Add this matching Industrial reclaimed wood bench with cast iron to your Table for a perfect fit

 

 

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Acacia dining table with cast iron base and built in seating that swings in and out.This style seats eight, ask about availability of four-seater.
This table is ingeniously convenient. Not only do you not have to provide chairs, the seats fold back in! Now you have extra space around the table for standing and talking with guests before and after dinner, perhaps for a dessert buffet.

 

 

 

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Crank Table-Round iron dining table with industrial crank mechanism. Height adjusts from 28″ to 40″ high. 39.5″ diameter.
Evelyn Dining Table-Mango wood with splayed legs in Natural finish. 48w 48d 30h.

These round tables are great for a smaller party in a tight space. Sleek and sophisticated, nice and easy.

 

Style Idea:

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Painted iron six candle stand. Add this to any table as a centerpiece, or a side table for some detail and mood lighting.

 

Chairs

 

 

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From Top Left:

Classic style dining chair, iron with blue painted finish
Alberta Wishbone Chairs. Classic Mid Century Modern with Alberta Fabric.
Beautiful wooden dining chair. Also great in a room setting.
Iron & leather dining chair with arms.

 

Sideboards

 

 

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Easton 2 section, 6 drawer buffet with an open hutch, multi colored mango wood drawers. Hutch is 12 deep and secured to buffet.This is a beautiful statement piece, which also serves as practical. Great for storing anything you may need to grab or stash somewhere quickly, as well as displaying photos, candles, ceramics, books, or anything you want to show off to your guests.

 

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Parker buffet with three drawers, two doors and bottom shelf. Brass ball handles. Mango wood, honey finish. AL:so available in a natural finish. Classic, simple and neutral, this buffet is great for storage, or a record player, while also supplying extra surface space for whatever you need to display.

39116__95208.1407924459.1280.1280Narrow mango wood console table with tapered legs, Natural finish.

 

 Extras

 

 

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From Top Left:

Iron rack with wood handle, holds ten wine bottles!
Square tray, made from steel with nickel plating.
Shesham coffee table with bright blue painted finish.
Painted iron coat rack with flourishes.

A Look Back at Mohr & McPherson’s History

Kevin-McPherson-Portrait-by-Jessica-WeiserKevin McPherson, owner of Mohr and McPherson, recalls his journey to building the store we know today. He also shares insights on design, eastern culture, and his passion for travel and discovery.

When did you first make the decision to start the company? What brought you to that decision?

In the early 80’s, I operated a small furniture retail business selling factory produced contemporary furnishings. In 1990, I was doing small renovations and general contracting with my business partner, John Mohr. I had the idea of returning to something related to home furnishings. 

This time around, I wanted to sell things that were hand crafted with some real provenance… something genuine & authentic. I felt that I had a calling in that realm and we decided to open a small shop in Cambridge. After each borrowing $5,000 on personal credit cards, John and I opened Mohr & McPherson’s doors on a shoestring budget in March 1991.

 

 

 

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Photos from our original Cambridge location in 1991.

 

Did you start traveling in search of exotic furniture before you opened or after?

The original inventory was crafted by American artisans, and we acted as their agents. Most of our sales were custom items based on the samples we had in our shop.  After 2 years in that business, I bought out my partner and started traveling to the west coast. There, I purchased furniture from China, Indonesia, Japan and Morocco and had these items trucked to Cambridge. My interest in rugs from the rug producing countries also took shape after meeting two Afghan brothers in San Fransisco, who helped me establish a rug business. In 1995, we were doing enough business for me to make my first trip to Asia to buy a 40 ft sea container of goods to ship directly to the store.


Where were the previous store/s located?

The original store was on Concord Avenue in Cambridge. We also rented another location across the street that acted as our warehouse annex. We’ve lived a nomadic experience in the past 22 years, with locations in Charlestown, Alewife & Moulton St in Cambridge, and Arlington St, Boylston St & Dry Dock Ave in Boston, before consolidating at our current location at 460 Harrison Avenue in Boston.

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460 Harrison Ave in Boston’s South End

 

What do you love about Eastern Design?

I was in love with the aeshetic From the moment I can first remember seeing asian design. It has always called out to me. The simple Japanese zen wabi sabi approach was the most interesting to me, but the over-the-top, highly ornate approach from India and China also caught my eye. I was also intrigued by the idea that these uncommon things came from the other side of the world.

What are your favorite materials used in Eastern Design?

Asian textiles are fascinating to me. I also love the wood carvings from Java, India and China. Ceramics from Japan, China and Vietnam are amazing. Rattan, bamboo and other materials from Thailand, Phillipines, Burma and China are great examples of the efficient use of simple local materials to produce durable lightweight furniture, baskets, etc.

What can a piece of furniture from the east add to a western home décor? 

A home decorated with only modern, machine-made goods lacks a human touch and can feel a little like an office environment. A hand-crafted rug, antique cabinet or tribal carving brings humanity back into the environment. 

Also, Asian color sense, especially in textiles, is different than the current western movement towards black, white and gray. It adds color where it is sorely needed.

If someone could add one Eastern item or piece of furniture to their home, what would it be? What about attitude/philosophy? Are there any cultural outlooks on homelife you have witnessed in your travels you think westerners should adopt?

Many modern home interiors look a little like a museum or a hospital. There is something calming about the lack of clutter and sense of order in the modernist aesthetic. What it lacks is any reference to the passing of time. It is frozen in the moment and does not allow for the patina that is a part of the natural process.  Modern homes and furnishing were not designed to show age well. 

The zen term wabi sabi (literally translated means humility and rust) is the zen acknowledgment that nothing is permanent, that all things age and deteriorate and that we must accept or even grow comfortable with this fact.  I believe that the eary modernists were inspired by the spare aesthetic of the Japanese zen aesthetic, but left out the important reference to the passing of time.

Mohr & McPherson Timeline:

    1991: Opened Mohr & McPherson in Cambridge

    1993: Started selling Asian pieces

    1994: Opened annex

    1995: Rented warehouse in Charlestown, Started traveling to Asia to buy

    1997: Opened on Arlington St, Boston, Moved warehouse to Seaport 

    1999: Opened 20,000 sq ft Moulton St warehouse in Cambridge

    2001: Opened Alewife location

    2004: Opened Boylson St location

    2008: Moved to 460 Harrison Ave

    2011: Opened warehouse at 460c Harrison Ave

Learn All About Handmade Rug Types & Terms in our Rug Glossary!

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We don’t mean to brag, but our rug gallery is one of the most unique in New England, and is absolutely stacked with a large and distinctive collection of only the most beautiful, handmade pieces. Bold, vibrant, understated, detailed, simplistic, and a great mix of both modern and traditional – we have got something for everyone’s taste. For me, the most interesting part of a visit to the rug gallery is all the incredible history behind each type of rug, and the huge level of detail and work that goes into the creation of every one. Touring the gallery with Callum McPherson will give you a first hand look into the amazing world of handmade carpets. You can learn about the origin of the rug, the techniques used to weave it, the history of the design style, and so much more. To prepare for our upcoming rug sale, we are creating several guides on how to purchase a rug for your home. Here is a glossary of terminology, important to know when viewing and purchasing. Check back soon for our free rug buying guide later this month!

Design and Technique Terms:

Abrash 
Difference in color throughout the rug. This comes from the variations of the wool used to weave the rug. When the wool is dyed before the rug is woven, the dye reflects differently based on the specific pile of wool it is used on. These variations in color give the rug a natural feel.

Flat Weave 
A type of rug, which is woven, rather than knotted. They are much flatter and thinner than knotted rugs because they do not have pile. This makes the rugs easier to transport, and they are therefore still utilized all over the world as wall tapestries, for prayer rugs, and as saddle pads. Many middle eastern countries still weave these by hand, while other rug manufacturers have switched to machinery and tools to produce rugs faster, which also makes the rugs less expensive than the hand woven ones. (note: Mohr & McPherson does not specialize in machine made rugs.)

Overdyed 
A recent technique developed to give rugs, an overall color and a more modern esthetic. Often this is done to salvage an old rug, which will have had undesirable colors or have become faded. The original color is stripped down to more of the natural base colors and the rug is saturated with one, vibrant color. By Dying over the original colors and designs, the rug becomes more fluid and flexible in style. It is easier to add a rug to a room when it is one color, rather than multi colored and heavily patterned, such as the traditional Eastern rugs that were popular in the west in the early to mid 20th century. Now people are looking for less design, which can make a bolder statement, while still remaining simple. The original markings of the rug can still be detected beneath the dye, giving it a rustic quality, and creating nuances and variations within the solid color.

Pile Weave 
A type of rug which is knotted rather than woven on a loom. It consists of three layers- the base threads, normally made of cotton which, are the foundation, a woven layer that acts as a cushion, and the final layer, which is the ends of each individual knot after being cut and is called the pile of a rug. You can run your hand over the top layer of this rug, and the pile will brush back and forth. This is where sheen may come into play.

Sheen 
When buying a rug, you may be looking for one with a certain level of sheen. When walking around the perimeter of the rug, you will observe that the light picks up certain colors more brightly from different angles, and the shadow of each thread makes it appear darker. This is based on the direction the knots were tied in, in relation to the angle you are looking from. If the brightness and depth of the colors does not change with your position, the rug does not have a high level of sheen. This is a result of both the quality of wool or silk used in the rug and the washing process done before use.. Silk rugs will also always have a much higher level of sheen than wool. This element is relevant when purchasing a pile rug, but will not be a concern with a flat weave rug.

Styles of Rugs:

Beni Ourain (Thick Pile) 
This style of rug is named after the Beni Ourain tribe in Morocco, which is made up of 17 different Berber tribes within the Atlas Mountains. This tribe is known for their plush, soft, cream-colored rugs, with black or brown stripes, usually in diagonal, intersecting patterns. The rugs are made from sheep wool. The vintage Beni Ourain rugs are neautral in color and abstract in design, which is perfect for the modern décor styles of today. They are versatile, and low in price. During the birth of modern design in the 20th century, these rugs were used by many famous designers, and are therefore linked with classic modern style. The vintage ones were not massed produced originally, and no two are alike. Now they are extremely popular and made in several different countries.

 

Indian Dhurrie (Flatweave)
This style of flatweave is almost always made from tightly woven cotton, which gives it a light feel and makes for the perfect rug in a light room. The colors used in an Indian Dhurrie are often brighter pastel colors and look very current when coupled with their traditional geometric patterns.

Khotan (Pile)
These are similar to the Mamluks, but less geometrical. The designs, while also based often around a center diamond shape, are more flowery and delicate than the framework of the Mamluk.

Kilim (Flatweave) (Persia, Turkey, Balkans and Eastern Europe) 
This style dates back to the 5th century. and is a flat weave with no pile. The patterns are based in a geometric style, often featuring medallions, diamonds, and the famous Mahi (Herati) design which is a diamond medallion with a small fish through in. Unlike the Mamluk, the rug is not always focused on one, large and central diamond. The pattern may be free form and repeating. The more modern versions of the Kilim sometimes in cooperate turquoise, and purple with the traditional reds, green, blue and white. The boldness and geometric quality of the patterns have also become more strong and distinct with modern times. Rug collectors often start with Kilims, because they are cheaper than Pile rugs. It is sometimes thought that because Kilims tend to be less expensive that they are also less substantial in quality or status. This is not true, and Kilims have become increasingly popular in recent years. The lower price was originally based on the Kilims being produced for indigenous use, instead of on a commercial level. Kilims gained popularity when collectors started to value authentic village weavings.

Mamluk (Pile)
This is a type of rug based in traditional style, always featuring a large, central diamond. These are similar to the traditional Eastern rugs you might see in your grandmother’s house, especially in the framework. However, the Mamluk’s style is much more geometrically based. These rugs are currently very desirable, as they provide both traditional and modern style.

Oushak (Pile)
Traditionally from Turkey-the Oushak is a style of rug which has found recent popularity due to it’s subdued light or earthy tones. Another distinction comes in their unique style of weave where the sides of the knots are visible, so each rug has a unique feel. Their designs often include either central medallions, representative of designs used on Ottoman Manuscripts, or the “Star Ushak”. The patterns are often a combination of geometric and floral motifs, mixed together. The colors are distinctive and tend to include a variety of orange shades, reds, maroons and blues in the background. The motif colors are usually greens, blues, ivory, black and yellow. The colors often look faded, giving this style of rug has an incredibly rustic, and aged feel.

Patchwork (Pile)
Patchwork rugs have very recently become a popular reuse of rugs which may have been damaged or tattered. These rugs are given a new life by being repurposed as a very rustic looking collection of different patterns (often overdyed) and stitched together. Patchworked rugs will give any room a great splash of color while preserving the legacy and authentic feel of an antique hand made rug. Although these rugs are made from what were originally pile rugs, they often have very little of the pile left which is what gives them an antique look and feel.


Sari Silk
The same silk that goes into a traditional Indian sari has recently been used to effectively take beautiful traditional patterns and bring them to life. Not only do they have the extremely high level of sheen that is found in a silk rug but they also have a vibrant color scheme that will make you forget everything you just learned about rugs!

Traditional Oriental/Persian Rug
These rugs always have a border, and typically are centered on a large, central design, such as a medallion or diamond. They are heavily designed and pattered, and tend to have a somewhat muted color palette compared to the vibrant colors used in modern overdye. These rugs are based in structure and form.

Click here to view our extensive online inventory, or stop in our Boston Showroom or Rug Gallery to view our rugs in person!