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Trend Alert 2015

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 This year in the design world, it’s all about keeping it real. Whats out? Inauthenticity. That includes chalk board paint, faux fur, and Instant Vintage-something new that’s made to look old. Lucky for us(and you), we have the real deal when it comes to old furniture, rustic, textured surfaces, raw materials, and layers upon layers of ethnic prints and influences. Read on to learn more about what is trending  in 2015.

Top Looks

Eco Friendly-Inspired by Nature
This look is just what it sounds like. It’s clean, soft, neutral, and inspired by all things organic. The focus is on natural imperfection-if its lopsided, uneven or unfinished it works. Relevent materials include Copper, glass, stone, burlap, rope, linen, bone, horn, fur, and raw wood. More often than not this look incorporates raw wood in the form of Live Edge, which is a huge trend in its own right and is being used within many other decor styles as well.

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ScreenDaybedTribeca LoveseatMango Table Lamp,  Banyan Vine Sculpture,

 

Incorporated Trends:
Live edge, Cowhide, Mixed Materials, Painted wood, Textured surfaces, Nature Inspired Neutrals.

 

Ethnic Mix
This look is a large scale representation of the mixed materials trend. It’s all about the fusion and of different and often contrasting cultures, styles and textures. Getting away from the minimalism craze, this look emphasizes that more is more. Layered textiles and patterns is key, and finding complimenting qualities in seemingly contrasting items makes it all come together, often through color.  An easy way to experiment with this look is by adding bold, ethnic accents to your space, instead of starting out with loud basics.


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Chandelier, Blue Cabinet, Laughing Buddha, Folding Screen, Mirrors, Cupboard

Incoporated Trends: Textured Surfaces, Painted Wood/Pop of Color, Kilim Rugs, Mixed Materials, Cow Hide, Wire Accents, Marble.

 Industrial Chic
Once again, the merging of different aesthetics comes into play. The difference between Industrial and Industrial Chic is softness. Lighten up an Industrial decor and add soft, plush blankets and rugs in neutral tones. Incorporate raw materials and nods to nature such as live edge, petrified stumps and  plants. Or, take a soft, neutral space and add in the industrial accents such as leather, wire furniture, Edison lamps, and Industrial themed wall hangings.

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Bird Cage Lamp, Glass Coffee Table, Edith Sofa, Bookshelf

Incorporated Trends:
Mixed Materials,especially metal and wood and Mixed Metals, Wire Accents, Rose Gold.

 

 

Specific Trends

Mixed Materials
This trend is all about the clashing and merging of different cultures, attitudes and qualities, which is an overall theme in the design world this year. Wood and Metal are a common example of this trend, representing the coming together of nature and science.

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(Triple Threat Trend: Mixed Materials, Nature Inspired, Industrial Chic)

 

Rose Gold
This trend started in fashion and has spread to home design. It was once primarily popular in copper light fixtures but is now also commonly found in plumbing fixtures, hardware and flatware.

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Wire Accents
This trend is biggest in the form of lighting and side tables . It is incorporated heavily into both the Industrial Chic and Geometry looks, but can also be spotted hanging out in ethnic mix and nature inspired decors.

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(Triple Threat Trend: Wire Accents, Industrial Chic, Geometry)

 

Marble-Solid and Print
Although Marble surfaces are common in bathrooms and kitchens, marble is making its way into the rest of the home in the form of solid, marble furniture. It is also a popular print for pillows, blankets, and wall pieces.

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Live Edge

Live edge is a style of wood furniture where the natural edge of the wood is used in the design of the piece. Gnarly wood and salvaged wood which could not be used in conventional woodworking are often used in the production of Live edge.Live edge is a mix of “Western” and rustic furniture styles. It was made famous in the middle of the 20th century by George Nakashima, who was the founder of the Arts and Crafts movement.

We can’t really say enough about Live edge. We love it, and so does the design world. It is being incorporated in a variety of decor styles, and is  moving quickly from a trend to a basic.

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(Triple Threat Trend:Live Edge, Textured Surfaces, Nature Inspired)

Cow Hide
Nature inspired for sure, cow hide is a bold and glamorous statement piece while it also remains neutral with its organic colors and feel.

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Textured Surfaces
This trend encompasses many other trends, such as live edge. It works with the Ethnic Mix look and is definitely part of the Nature inspired attitude. Textured surfaces are multi-versitile and easy to work into many different looks, from shabby chic to Industrial.

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Painted Wood-Pop of Color
Painting a wooden piece of furniture is an easy and understated way to add color to a room. Although this specific piece is dipping into the textured surface trend, the painted wood look can also be sleek and smooth, almost glossy.

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(Triple Threat: Textured Surface, Painted wood-pop of color, Cobalt blue)

 

Colors

Marsala
Pantone color of the year- The spring/summer version of this trend is called “the in-harmony trend”. It is a much softer version of Marsala and mixes deep mauve and apricot shades.

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Cobalt Blue-Greek  Blue

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Natural colors
Inspired by natural landscapes like mountains and forests, this palette is all about toned down neutrals like inky blues and beige-grey. These colors Pair well with the raw materials found in the Nature Inspired look.

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 Rugs

Painterly
Rugs that look like paintings are huge right now. Think florals, swoopy designs, and uneven shapes.

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Tile Inspired
Rugs that look like a tile floor or mosaic.

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Kilim
Persian Flatweave

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All About Khotan Carpets

History

Khotan was a town in what is historically known as East Turkestan now the Chinese province, of Xingjian. This remote region is larger than all of Western Europe, and is located in the center of Asia. It is one of the most Isolated places in the world, but it holds a carpet weaving tradition that is at least 1000 years old.

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East Turkestan is difficult to access. The heartland known as the Tarim Basin-is surrounded on three sides by mountains, which serve as walls against Tibet, Central Asia and Pakistan. The fourth side is cut off by vast desert. Maybe this is one reason why East Turkistan became a destination hot spot for settlers, coming from all directions. The Tarim Basin was also a significant stop on the Silk Roads. The routes south to India, north to Central Asia, west to Persia, Anatolia and Europe, all branched out from here. The melting pot of cultures in this place is represented in the “Khotan” rugs that came from here, which is what makes them so beautiful and interesting. In just one rug you can often see signs of Islamic, Chinese and Indian design/culture.

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Portrait of a king of Khotan, Dunhuang Mogao Caves, 10th century

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It is believed by historians that between 1,500 and 1,000 BC is when the first (Indo European) settlers began coming to this region, which was then inhabited by Turkic nomads. These settlers lived in Khotan and other oasis towns, and were influenced by India, becoming Buddhists. The Turkic nomads continued to stay in the mountains.

It was not until the 9th and 10th centuries the Turkic tribes adopted Islam, and forced the conversion of the Buddhist Oasis, the adoption of their language and changed the culture of the place, creating Eastern Turkestan as it is today. However, Buddhist and other cultural influences never disappeared from the carpets.

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Rug Expert Hans Bidder wrote in his book “Carpets from Eastern Turkestan (1964)

iconoclastic Islam which spread into the oases from middle of the 10th century was indeed able to subdue the religious art of Buddhism, but the new faith proved incapable of gaining any hold upon individual arts and crafts which had their roots in the traditional customs and economic existence of the oases.”

Characteristics 

These unique works of art are characterized by stylized geometric patterns, and long, narrow designs. They are meticulously detailed. Arrangements of Persian motifs that also incorporate elements of Chinese designs are common, and the central Composition is usually Chinese in style. Colors range from rich to pale pastels. Typical hues include red, yellow, brown, gold and green. The pomegranate is often celebrated in Khotan rugs, shown as a shrub with symmetric branches, or as a fruit. This was an iconic regional symbol. Local symbols like this one are combined with Buddhist and Islamic symbols, influenced by the varying residents of Khotan.

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Khotans are well suited for modern contemporary decor due to their geometric and strongly abstract nature. In the last decade, these rugs have been frequently featured in high-end design publications and are coveted by top designers.

Here are some more of the Khotan rugs we have in our rug gallery. These are examples of some more contemporary versions, with a darker color palette than the traditional

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Check back in soon to learn more about the exciting Silk Roads and the adventures had by their explorers.

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.

Feng Shui Decorating Steps for Beginners

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Feng Shui translates to “wind and water” which equals health, peace and prosperity in the Chinese philosophy. It is an ancient art form and science which is believed to balance both emotional and physical energy. The goal of Feng Shui within interior design is to balance the positive and negative energies within your space as well as within yourself. This will bring harmony of the senses, tranquility and well-being.

It is a common misconception that Feng Shui decorating means creating a completely “Zen” environment. Decorating with Feng Shui actually means that you are catering your decor to support the best energy for whatever activities are intended to occur in a specific room or area. Following basic Feng Shui principles will help you to achieve a desired energy.

Chi means energy. In order to have good energy or “Seng chi”, the energy needs to flow through the home freely without being blocked. If the energy is stagnant or blocked it is bad, or “Si& Sha Chi”.

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Feng Shui looks at a house as one, complete being. You may have some rooms that have great energy, but other rooms that are out of control, or just confused and stuck. Many people tend to ignore these disaster areas by shutting the door, or they purposefully put things in the messy room when they don’t know what else to do with it, in order to keep the nice rooms clean. These spaces are like when children are told to clean their rooms and instead of actually cleaning they just shove all their belongings under the bed or into a closet. From a Feng Shui perspective, the messy room being ignored is affecting the energy of the entire house, and therefore the energy of the good rooms.

Though the principles of Feng Shui are extensive and complex, there are simple ways beginners can approach living in a more Feng Shui environment. Start by identifying problem areas, and make a plan for your house. Figure out what needs to change, and define the steps necessary for those changes to happen. Then just be persistent.

6 Feng Shui Decorating Steps

Step 1.Clear Clutter

In order to create good chi, you first must get rid of the old energy.If an area of your home has stuck energy, an area of your life will eventually become stuck. Clean out your garage, reorganize your storage areas. You want the goal to always be free-flowing space.

Step 2. Good quality air and light

A clutter free space with tons of natural light and clean air is like the canvas on which you will paint your Feng Shui masterpiece. These basics are necessary and without them, Feng Shui will only go so far.Lighting can also be used to alter the mood of any space. Light is the strongest manifestation of energy and as humans it is our number one nutrient. The harmful effects of fluorescent lighting on human behavior and the deficiency of sunlight or “Malillumination” according to light researcher Dr. John Ott, are widely documented. Lack of quality light can decrease your overall health, ability to learn and effect your behavior. Try to have at least three separate sources of light in every room.

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Step 3. Define your Bagua

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The Bagua is the energy map of your space that determines which areas of your home are connected to specific areas of your life. Bagua translates to “8 areas” because in ancient times people deemed that there are 8 areas of  life that are important for well being and health. Each area of your home is connected to a specific area of your life. Therefore by changing your home you can change your life.

You can use the bagua as a guide to tell you everything from how to arrange furniture to how to choose colors.

There is the Classical or Traditional Feng Shui school Bagua, and there is the BTB Western school Bagua. It is best to not use both in the same home.

Step 4. Choose Colors

Every color fits into one of the 5 Feng Shui elements.

Fire-Passion and High Energy
Colors-Red, Orange, Purple, Pink, Strong Yellow
Fire is the strongest Feng Shui element in South Bagua of your home. It can also be used in Northeast and Southwest Feng Shui areas.

Earth–Nourishment and Stability
Colors- Light Yellow, Beige/taupe, Earthy/sandy colors
This element is needed to promote inner balance and health, as well as protection of relationships.

Water-Ease and Abundance
Colors-Blue, Black
Water is the ancient symbol for abundance and a Fung Shui cure for wealth. This element brings energy of freshness, purity, and calm.
The north, east and south east bagua areas benefit from a strong water element.

Wood-Vitality and Growth
Colors-Brown, Green
This element is healing and promotes vibrancy, strong growth, as well as abundance. Wood is the main element ion south and southeast Bagua areas.

Metal-Preciseness and Clarity
Colors Gray, White
Metal is the dominant Feng Shui element of west and northwest bagua areas, and the north bagua also benefits. This presence promotes calm, precise, light and focused energy.

Step 5. Choose items

Define specific items that will add to the  Chi of your home. Feng Shui holds to the belief that energy is improved when living things are present. An easy way to achieve this is by incorporating plants, bonsai trees, flowers, fish and of course pets. A fountain is a great way to add water, a symbol of abundance. Selecting natural materials such as wood, stone and metals is another way to stick to the organic nature of Feng Shui.

Some examples of classic Feng Shui items are:
Fountains, Mirrors, Lucky Bamboo as a health cure, Images or statues of Buddha for harmony and spiritual growth.

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Step 6.Positioning

Understand how and where to position your decorating items and furniture to create the best energy for the space. Focus on the big picture, but also be able to zoom in on each specific area.Match elements to your map, or Bagua. If you want to put a fountain in your home, which is a water element, you need to put it in the Bagua areas that benefit from water, such as North, East and Southeast areas of your home.

Fun Fact: Elephants are part of Feng Shui!

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The elephant is associated with Buddha and Ganesh, who is an Indian deity. The elephant symbolizes Power, wisdom, strength, protection of the home, fertility and good luck and because of this elephants are often used in Feng Shui. Here are some of the areas an elephant symbol can be useful in.

Protection– To prevent the loss of Chi from the home, place an elephant facing outward.

Bringing Good luck– Place an elephant facing inwards, to draw good luck and blessings into the home.

Love and Fidelity– Place a pair of elephants in the bedroom to promote love within a relationship.

Fertility-Place an elephant beside the bed, or one elephant on each side of the bed.

Mother and Child-Place a statue of a mother and baby elephant in your living area or children’s room to strengthen the bond with your children.

Work- Place an elephant near the front door to attract power and protect the office from bad energy.

Management– Place an elephant on your work desk facing out. This represents caution, poise and strong leadership.

Good thing we have so many elephants around here!

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Top Summer Design Trends & Styles

Lets discuss some of the hottest trends for Summer 2014. These styles have exploded across the design world and are all likely to stick around for a while. The best part about these looks is that while they are super modern, they are also rooted in classic style and can be worked into the most simple décor, as well as an avant-garde abode.

Honey Toned Wood

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This mega trend is a refreshing switch from the darker, espresso hued woods that have reined for several seasons. Paired with white and neutral finishes, honey toned wood can really lighten things up and make a small space seem larger. The honey toned wood trend is also reflective of some of the major design themes of the moment such as “back to nature” and “rustic simplicity”.

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“I am excited about the come back of honey wood tones because I think they are easy to maintain and incorporate well into any interior. A medium tone wood is always in style, and mixes easily with other woods.”  – DeidreInteriors.com

At Mohr & McPherson 

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Ryder Bedside Chest,  Avery Mini Honey,  Honey/Alberta Taylor Chair

 

Exposed Nail Heads

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This is a versatile and widespread trend that actually dates back to 17th century France and 19th Century England. During these times, furniture was often embellished with nail head or rivet trim as a decorative way to secure materials. Today, this trend can be used to enhance traditional style or to bring a piece in the total opposite direction by making it urban and edgy, depending on the application.

Here are some ideas for getting this trend right.

Pay Attention to Detail:

*The spacing between nail heads in relation to the size of the furniture is important.

*If it fits your budget, always choose metal individual nail heads rather than plastic.

*For a rustic look, nail head trim looks great with textured materials.

At Mohr & McPherson 

 

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Gallant Loveseat (Cisco Brothers),  Rustic Whiskey Tub Chair
Crescent loveseat (Cisco Brothers),  Smoke Armchair

 

Nature/Mixing of Indoor and Outdoor/Layering of Textures

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 This concept never goes out of style, but it has become increasingly popular in the last few years, probably because of the global focus on being healthier and more economically responsible. A simple way to incorporate this trend into your design scheme is to focus on tones, textures and colors. Go for wood surfaces and use natural materials such as exposed brick, stone, bamboo, etc. Live Edge furniture and upholstery that mimics natural surfaces such as moss make great statement pieces. Natural light is also a sneaky way to open up a space and bring the outdoors inside.

At Mohr & McPherson  

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banyonLive Edge ConsoleBanyan Vine Sculpture, Mangosteen Coat Rack,  Tribeca Loveseat (Cisco Brothers)

  Continue reading

Beni Ourain Rugs: Tribal Tradition, Mid Century Modern

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These incredibly soft and luxurious rugs are all the rage right now in modern design. In fact, they are in higher demand than ever due to a variety of different cultural factors. Beni Ourains are admired and sought after by designers and the masses alike. So what’s all the fuss about? What is a Beni Ourain rug, and what makes it so special?

Origins
The Beni Ourain are a group of Berber people from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco that is actually made up of 17 different tribes. They are traditionally shepherds and goat herders who move their herds from one grazing land to the next, high within the mountains. Although these tribes all produce rugs which are similar and known as Beni Ourains, there are subtle differences in design elements and colors – all natural dyes or no dye at all. A big factor when it comes to the quality of these rugs is the superior wool produced by the sheep in this region.

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The Beni Ourain rugs are hand-woven by women and the skill and knowledge is passed from mother to daughter. The design elements used in the rugs are reflective of the weavers real life. Traditionally, the rugs record regular life events and represent major themes such as birth, fertility, nature, femininity, rural life and religious beliefs. Some people who weave the rugs believe the rugs themselves are barriers against evil spirits so they purposefully include lucky charm symbolism and tribal ceremonial symbolism. The detail and design of the rug is also used to tell the story of tribal ancestors or the life of the weaver combined with tribe superstitions which are a strong aspect of culture in these rural regions.

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6.9″ x 9.7″ Moroccan style


Patterns
Patterns usually consist of brown and black lines or abstract shapes against a white or cream background. Other designs are the Ancient Berber alphabet, geometric designs similar to Navajo-Native American patterns. Most do not have a border. Some have fringe and others not, some have fringe on one side only. The rugs tend to last a lifetime or more.

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Production
Though they are typically used as and known to be rugs, Beni Ourains were traditionally produced to be blankets or bedspreads and not floor coverings. Their loose structure is meant to conform to the body. They have thick, soft pile which is deep or shallow according to the purpose. Knots are tied in a very specific way. The rugs are woven without any pattern or diagram to follow, which is why they are all unique.

The originals were not mass-produced and no two are alike. Many of the new Beni Ourain rugs are not made in Morocco but they are referred to as “Moroccan style” rugs because they were created to mimic the original Beni Ourains. The older carpets however are softer and more detailed and varied in design. The “real” beni ourains were never made larger than 7 feet. A Beni Ourain larger than 7′ is most likely a reproduction, not made in Morocco and not old.

rkp37246__50855.1387568117.1280.12807.9″ x 9.6″ Moroccan style

Rise to fame
The Beni Ourain rugs were used by the most renowned mid-century modern designers such as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ame Jacobsen, Alvar Allto, Marcel Breuer, Charles and Ray Eames. Shag carpets were extremely popular during this time, and the Beni Ourains were a step up from the average shag because of their sophisticated nature. History and cultural developments have made Beni Ourains so popular.

“It is a fascinating set of historical and cultural developments that have made Moroccan rugs as popular as they are today. The Beni Ourain – with a penchant for abstract symbolism and geometry as well as a steady supply of fine grade wool – happened to be weaving rugs and carpets that would be perfectly suited to the design aesthetics of the Western World in the decades following the end of the Second World War. Moroccan rugs by the Beni Ourain remain among the most desirable pieces today, and are sought after the world over, both by experts in antique Oriental rugs and everyday people who appreciate the lasting artistic value of such rugs.” Ubrandsbag

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A photo of an authentic Beni Ourain in the home of Frank Lloyd Wright

Turquoise & Yellow: Trending Spring Colors

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Patchwork Overdye Turquoise                                       Patchwork Overdye Yellow

Spring is here, and not a moment too soon! So while packing away your wool blankets, make sure to replace them with lots of bright, cheerful colors. This season is all about Turquoise and Yellow, our favorite trending spring colors. These two colors are super on trend for spring and have been popping up in a range of hues all over the runways, magazines and design blogs. It just so happens that these are some of our favorite colors and we are so prepared for this trend. Check out some of our best examples below, and don’t forget to stop by our Pinterest too for even more favorites and trends!

Turquoise / Aquamarine / Sea Green / Teal
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Clockwise from left: Teak Bookcase  /  Teak Desk  /  Sideboard

 

Yellow / Lemon / Butter / Gold
Sunflower
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42269__28098.1394821898.1280.1280YELLOW_STUFF
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Handcarved Soapstone Supports AIDS Orphans

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Above: Mohr & McPherson’s store manager Karole Moe with students at the Okari School in Kinsii, Kenya.

Margaret Okari started taking in orphaned children when the AIDS pandemic hit Africa. She knew these children would thrive with education and the right advocates, so she searched for sponsors and boarding schools that would take the orphans in. As the number of orphans increased, so did Margaret’s dedication and ideas. Unfortunately Margaret died of hepatitis, but her sister Kwamboka continued to work towards their shared vision.

During the AIDS pandemic, Kwamboka Okari lived in America, importing soapstone from Kenya and selling it in upscale boutiques. Many of the soapstone carvers began to die, leaving orphans behind. Because of her work, Kwamboka was acquainted with the workers families and she used her network in America to help Margaret support and advocate for the children.

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Soapstone carvers at work on The Okari School campus. This tiny chair was carved for Karole to resemble the life-size one at the work site.

After seeing the success of the children who the Okari sisters had helped, the town of Kisii Kenya donated 5 acres of land to build a school, primarily for children who lost their parents to AIDS. They built classrooms, two dorms, and a dining hall. Today, the Margaret Okari Children’s School provides 200 orphans with a home and an education. Although there are many programs dedicated to helping orphans in Africa, the Okari School stands out because of its effort in providing a sustainable future to the children. They do this through a focus on education, health & human services, leadership and sustainability.

Our store manager, Karole Moe, spent time in Kenya, working as a teacher at the Okari School. The  school supports the local carvers by exporting their work and using the profit to support the school. We are lucky enough to sell a number of soapstone carvings at Mohr & McPherson.

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People have been working with soapstone for three millennia. It is a pliable stone used for carving and decorations. This art started in Asia – mainly China – and spread through the rest of the world from there. In ancient Greece, the Cretans used soapstone to make stamps and receptacles. The vikings used soapstone carvings in their jewelry. In Africa, Zimbabwe is known for producing many large soapstone sculptures. The height of Zimbabwe’s soapstone production was between the 11th and 16th centuries. Europeans began using soapstone in the 17th century, and the material became most popular during the Art Deco period between the 1920’s and 1940’s.

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Soapstone figurines,dishes, trays and display pieces available at Mohr & Mcpherson. 100% of profits go to supporting The Okari School.

Whiskey and Smoke: A Rustic Approach to Timeless Brazilian Leather

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“In like a lion, out like a lamb” is what they say about March. We are right on schedule, ringing in the month with a new shipment of fierce, bold leather pieces in our new “Smoke” and “Whiskey” finishes. Worthy of any man cave or any location in your home, this collection brings to mind toasty evenings by a fireplace, sipping single malt scotch while wearing your grandfather’s vintage watch.

Our metaphor holds true, with the soft, delicate luxe of this Brazilian leather facilitating a seamless transition into spring. The colors are rich but neutral. The distressed finish and wood paneling incorporate a fresh, down to earth quality. Open your windows to the spring air, and cover your coffee tables with flowers. Lounge on your leather in the afternoon sun, and feel like a new lamb.

Brazilian Leather is highly desired across a multitude of industries for its excellent quality as well as the consistency of that quality. Click here to browse our entire Leather Club Collection.

Facts about Brazilian Leather:
– Brazil is the second largest supplier of leather in the world, producing more than 40 million hides per year.
– 28 million of those hides are exported to 91 different countries.
– The United States comes in at number three for importing the most leather from Brazil. We spend nearly 260 million dollars on leather.
– China imports the most, followed by Italy. Hong Kong is fourth.
– U.S. companies that use Brazilian leather include Learjet, Ford, and GM among many others.

“Brazil is known for some of the world’s best tanneries, producing top-quality leather used in the fashion, upholstery, automotive and boating industry” Jose Fernando Bello, executive president of CICB.

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 Whiskey Loveseat

A piece of leather furniture commands attention and brings an aura of no nonsense to a room. The canvas siding and wood frames on our leather couches and chairs tone down that boldness. These materials are rustic in nature, and when paired with the sleek leather, the furniture gains an eclectic, laid back quality. We love the idea of mixing these leather pieces with traditional Indian craftsmanship, such as this elegant folding screen.

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Rise to Fame
In the 16th century, cattle were imported to Brazil to sustain the local economy. Meat and leather started to spread to be distributed throughout the country, and eventually the leather started to be exported. By the year of 1754, 5 thousand pieces of leather a year were being exported from Brazil. However it wasn’t until the 1960’s and 70’s when the world really started focusing on Brazilian leather. Artists began printing messages on leather, primarily based around the ideas of peace and love, and freedom. Leather goods became abundant at street fairs and leather artisans were celebrated.

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Let’s talk about cows!
The Leather Industry in Brazil is directly connected to the Beef Industry. Here are some figures to get you up to speed.

– Currently, Brazil has 213.3 million cattle.

– In 2008, the country held 20% of the world’s cattle market. By the end of this decade, that figure is estimated to reach 50%. That means Brazil will control one half of the entire world’s beef.

– Brazil’s economy has become the 6th largest on the planet. This means larger economic potential and stability for their leather industry.

– From 2000 to 2010, the amount of cattle per hectare increased from 0.8 to 1.2. The industry thanked advances in handling and sanitation and favorable weather.However at the same time cattle are increasing, the land the cattle graze on in decreasing.

– In that same 10 year period, pasture area decreased from 178 to 164 million hectares. The Brazilian Leather Project has taken strides to fight this, and has actively come out against deforestation.

Below are some new additions to our Indian collection. The rustic painted finish seamlessly blends together with the perfect wood and bright hues compliment the muted tones of our leather collection. They work perfectly because everything is tied together by a mutual, worn in quality.

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Practices for Sustainability
– Conservation of water, practicing cattle farm fair-trade, organic tanning technology (chrome free without using heavy metals) are techniques used by many manufacturers.

– Use of raw materials derived from eco-friendly resources which are native to Brazil.

– Brazil has committed to reducing deforestation in the Amazon rain forest by 80 percent by the year 2020. Deforestation rates (due to clearing forest for cattle) declined 27 percent from August 2011 to July 2012. These were the lowest rates ever recorded for the 4th year in a row. Brazil’s government says this represents a 76 percent reduction since 2004.

– Brazil has developed policies known as PPCDAm (The Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Legal Amazon Deforestation) that were first implemented in 2004. PPCDAm is comprised of more than 200 initiatives across 14 ministries that together aim to reduce deforestation in the Amazon.

– Ibama is Brazil’s environmental protection service, the group tasked with monitoring, catching and punishing those responsible for the plunder of the Amazon rain forest.

The Brazillian Leather Project
This is an organization created through a partnership between the Centre for the Brazilian Tannery Industry (CICB) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). Their goal is to promote Brazilian Leather throughout the world.

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Our popular rocket tub chair, previously available in only Ebony and Cigar, is now also available in the new “Whiskey” finish. Whiskey and our new “Smoke” finish are also available in our box club leather collection of armchairs, loveseats and sofas.

Click here to browse our entire Leather Club Collection.

Kantha Stitch: Traditional Embroidery of South East Asia

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We have piles of these brilliantly patterned blankets. They are warm, but the floral motifs are perfect to get you ready for spring. Prices range from $95-$175.

Adding to our collection of beloved Indian furniture, rugs and textiles, we have packed our show room with all things Kantha. These chairs, benches, pillows and quilts are brightly colored and add a pow effect to any decor. Simultaneously, the often worn, faded fabric and white stitching tone down the bold factor, so these pieces are not overbearing, but have a soft, easy quality.

Kantha is a popular type of embroidery in eastern South Asia, particularly Bangladesh, West Bengal and Odisha. Sometimes the stitching is simple and sparse, creating only a border. In some of the most mesmerizing examples, running stitches cover the whole of the fabric, creating exquisite motifs of animals, birds, flowers, geometric shapes, and themes from every day life activities. The stitching makes the cloth appears slightly wavy and rumpled, creating a “used” effect. There are many forms of Kantha, with differences stemming from region, accessible materials, the use of the textile being created, and weather it is functional or meant for decorative purposes.

Nakshi Kantha is the term used for simple quilts which are made using Kantha stitching. In Bengal, women usually layer old saris and cloth with kantha stitch to create blankets and bedspreads. These are very popular among tourists in Bengal. In Odisha, women traditionally wear “Kantha Saris”. These saris are recycled when old to create bed cushions or to be used on top of cushions. They are layered on top of each other and stitched together.

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An example of Nakshi Kantha found in our store.

In rural areas, Kantha has remained the most common form of embroidery. Traditionally, Kantha cloth was made by using soft dhotis and saris and placing a running stitch along the edges. These were known either as Lepkantha or Sujni Kantha, depending on the use of the cloth. Some of these possible uses are women’s shawls, and covers for mirrors, boxes, and pillows. In modern times, Kantha stitch is used in wider variation, such as on shirts for both men and women, bedding and other furniture fabrics.

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We have so many fluffy, soft pillows!

There is a book called Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, by Krishnadas Kaviraj written about 500 years ago. In this book is the first mention of a homemade Kantha, made by a mother for her son. However, Kanthas are believed to have existed for at least 1,000 years. This quote tells of the personal and often spiritual creation process of Kanthas:

“Kantha is like a personal diary, a letter one writes to a particular person, and is not meant to be ready by all. In East Bengal the Kantha was a personal expression, an art-craft that was made spontaneously, even whimsically. It was never commissioned by rulers, nor ordered by the landed gentry. No two pieces are the same. It was craft that was practiced by women of all rural classes, the rich landlord’s wife making her own elaborate embroidered quilt in her leisure time, and the tenant farmer’s wife making her own thrifty, coverlet, equal in beauty and skill. The Kantha is an invocation to the gods and spirits for the prosperity and protection of the family. A real Kantha is able to narrate a story, and is much more compact in design and it is made out of used materials. It has been passed on for generations, from mothers to daughters and is largely a “dowry” tradition.” – Krishnadas Kaviraj
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Types of Kantha

The Running Stitch Kantha is the traditional form. These are subdivided into “Nakshi-figured” and “par tola- patterned”. Nakshi Kanthas are further divided into either motif or scenic kanthas.

Lohori Kantha comes from the Persian word “lehr”, which means wave. These are further divided into “soja-straight or simple”. “Kautar khupi-triangle or pigeon coop”, or “borfi-diamond”. Lohori Kantha are especially popular in Rajshahi.

Lik or anarasi Kantha means Pineapple are found in the chapainawabgonj and Jessore areas. Variations are “lik tan, lik tile, lik jhumka, and lik lohori”.

Cross Stitch or Carpet Kanthas were brought to India by the English during the British Rule. The stitch used in these Kanthas is the cross stitch.

Sujni Kantha uses a popular motif of undulating floral and vine.4161541615-back

One really unique aspect of kantha is the combination of multiple fabrics, pulled together into one cohesive piece. The above images show the backside and front side of the same chair. Click here to view this chair in our online store.

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These two images demonstrate another chair with different fabrics on the front and back sides. This is a swivel chair and the exposed metal base and scoop shape give it a fresh, modern look, while maintaining vintage apeal through the Kantha fabric. Click here to view this chair in our online store.

Stitches

The most traditional stitch used in Kanthas is the running stitch, often called “phor” or “kantha stitch”. Other types of stitches used in Kanthas are The “Chatai” or pattern darning, “Kaitya” or bending stitch, weave running stitch, darning stitch, “Jessore” stitch, Threaded running stitch, Lik phor or anarasi or ghar hasia stitches.  The modern day Kantha stitches are the Kasmiri Stitch and the arrow head stitch. Occasionally, stitches such as the herringbone, satin, back and cross are used.

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Uses of Kanthas

Quilt (lep in Bengali)

Large spread (Naksi Kantha in Bengali)
An embellished quilt embroidered in traditional motifs and innovative style

Puja floor spread (Ason in Bengali)

Cosmetic wrapper (Arshilota in Bengali)
A narrow embroidered wrapper to roll and store away a woman’s comb, mirror, eye kohl, vermilion, sandal paste, oil bottle, etc. Often, a tying string is used to bind the wrap, as in later day satches.

Wallet (Batwa thoiley in Bengali)

Cover for Quran (ghilaf in Arabic and Bengali)

Prayer mats (Jainamaz in Bengali)

Cover (Dhakni in Bengali)
Covering cloths of various shapes and sizes.

Ceremonial meal spread (Daster khan in Bengali)

Pillow cover (Balisher chapa or oshar in Bengali)

Handkerchief (Rumal)

Modern day articles
Today newer uses are found for nakshi kanthas, such as bedspreads, wall hangings, cushion covers, ladies purses, place mats, jewelry boxes, dress fronts, skirts border, shawls and sharees.

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Kantha Stitch Cushion. Click here to view this in our online store.