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New Year, New Leather

 Here are some of our favorite pieces from the New Leather line, available now at both Mohr & McPherson locations for a limited time. Also for a limited time they will be marked at 20% off retails for our new arrival leather promotion!* These fresh colors are sure to bring new life to your own collection, just in time for 2016.

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Leather Tub Chair in Racing Green, Vienna, Grey (left to right)

 

 

sofa etc

 

Patchwork Ottoman, Linen/Vienna Sofa, Low bench, Leather/linen side table

 

 

office leather

Cantilever Dining ChairCantilever Arm Chair

 

 

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Vienna/Linen Arm Chair, Vienna High Back Chair, Low Arm Chair

 

 

pretty chairs

Vienna Wing Chair, Grey Wing Chair

 

Like any, or all of the styles you see here? View the entire collection on our website by clicking here or on and of the style names below their corresponding pictures in this post. We would also love to see you in person at either of our shops.

*Offer good through the end of January 2016 only, cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers

 

 

Kevin’s Travel Log: Sunflowers and other Wonders- Mae Hong Son Thailand

 Our founder Kevin McPherson has relocated to Thailand. As Kevin explores his new home, he is snapping some photos for all of us back here in New England.

Here are some photos and notes from Kevin’s recent adventures, as well as some additional information about one place he and Nok visited-Northern Thailand. Read on to learn about the popular destination of Mae Hong which is famous for its exquisite and bountiful Sunflowers.

Travel Log

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Kevin and Nok traveling

IMG_1200“View in Pai, a hippy town in Thailand near the Laos border.”

 

FullSizeRender-5“Village clinic in San Patong just outside Chiang Mai.
We met A lady in her late 70s who ran it.”

 

IMG_1203“Sunflowers in Mae Hong Son”

Learn about Mae Hong Son

Northern Thailand is known for its beautiful scenery all year round, but from November to December things get even more extraordinary. This is the time of the famous sunflowers. One particularly lovely Sunflower hotspot is Mae Hong son. This is Thailand’s second Northernmost provincial capital. The town is sheltered by high mountains and had once been isolated from the rest of the world due to poor accessibility.  There is a strong Burmese influence here, which is exemplified in the many temples and Burmese style architecture. 

The drive to Mae Hong Son is the best way to catch some of the countries most rewarding views, but also includes navigating many narrow, bendy roads through the mountainside. If you’re up for the trip, you will  also be able to stop along the way to see some worthy road side attractions, such as the Long-Necked Women. These women belong to the  Pa Dong Karens tribe. This is a community of rice, tea and tobacco farmers, who are known for their exotic aesthetics. Women in this tribe wear many brass coils around their necks, a practice which is begun at an early age. More coils are added over time, which elongates the neck and is believed to enhance beauty. Older women may wear as many as 20 coils.

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Another popular attraction is the Pai River. People love to raft, boat and hike along this river.  Mae Sam Laep, a  hamlet off the Salawein River, is also popular for rafting. This area of the Salawein divides Thailand and Myanmar.

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Mae Sam Laep

North of Mae Sanang are the Mae Ha Cave and Mae Na Hot springs. The Namtopk Mae Surin National Park is home to the Mae Surin Waterfalls, believed to be the highest waterfall in Thailand.  The forests of Doi Mae U-Kho are made up of 250 acres of Sunflowers, which you can see in the photos below.

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Doi Mae U-Kho

 

 

 

Wiki Wednesday: Kilim, Flatweave, Pile

For more information on Kilims and other carpet and rug terms, check out our Rug Glossary Here

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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 incorporate 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.

Flatweave
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.)

Pile
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.

Travel Tuesday: Temples of Chiang Mai

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You may have heard that our founder Kevin has relocated to Thailand. Since then, all of us at Mohr & McPherson have been continuously learning about the colorful and ancient culture of this fabulous country. An important aspect of Thai culture is Buddhism. Building “everlasting” temples or “Wats”, was a way for Thai Kings to leave their mark. The long-standing sustainability of these temples is proof of the advanced skills of the builders. There are over 200 temples in Chiang Mai alone,  many of them dating back to the city’s  founding date of 1296 AD. Read on to learn about some of Chiang Mai’s most famous Temples

Wat Chiang Man

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Wat Chiang Man was the first temple ever built in Chiang Mai. It was built in the North East Corner by King Mengrai in 1296. This temple was part of the original construction of the city, and holds two rare Buddha statues. One statue is Marble, and the other is Crystal.

Wat Phra Singh

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This is one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai. It was built in 1345, and is a classic example of Northern Thai architecture. Amongst many revered Buddha statues, Wat Phra Singh houses a learning center for young men and boys who are studying to become monks.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the most well known temple in the area. It sits to the north-west of the Chiang Mai, near the very top of Mt. Suthep. This temple was established in 1383 under King Keu Naone, and pone of Chiang Mai’s most sacred temples. The place was “chosen” by a white elephant, who was sent by a monk to wander the mountains with a Buddha relic mounted on its back. When the elephant died, The Wat Suthep temple was built in the place of its death.

To get to the temple, you have to walk up a 306 step staircase, which was built to be meditative to the climber. Or, there is a tram visitors can also take if they do not wish to climb the stairs.

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There is a shrine on the first floor terrace of the temple, honoring Sudeva, the hermit who lived on the mountain, and a statue of the white elephant who carried the Buddha relic.

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Wat Suan Dok

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This temple was built in 1371, and was originally a royal  flower garden owned by King Keuna. The King gave the flower gardens to a very revered monk from Sukkhothai.  There was a Buddhist Relic transported to this temple, and it split into two pieces. One piece was kept here, and the other was the relic strapped onto the white elephant we learned about earlier, leading to the birth of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Also at Wat Suan Dok is a 500 year old bronze Buddha statue, one of the largest in Thailand.

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There are also many white “Chedis”, and many of them hold the ashes of the former Chiang Mai royal family. This temple is also home to a Buddhist University, and is located 1km West of the city.

 

Wat Umong Tunnels

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Wat Umong is built in the foot hills of Suthep Mountain, which are still heavily forested. This temple was built in the late 14th Century, and is named for its many tunnels. “Umong” is the Thai word for tunnel.

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A large mound was built on a flat space, and then criss-crossed with tunnels.  The legendary reason for the maze-like tunnels was to keep the highly regarded but “mad” monk who ruled here, from wandering off.  At some point the temple was abandoned, and not occupied again until 1940. The overgrown, moss laden environment of this temple can partially be attributed to its many years of being uninhabited.

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Rain Drums of Ancient Southeast Asia

Our South End showroom  has just received a brand  new container from Thailand. Exciting new furniture and accessories abound, including these magnificent Rain Drums.

Dong Son Drums, also known as Rain Drums, are often casted from Bronze, and are usually decorated with tribal designs and images with themes of fertility, animals, war, deities, and nature.It is argued that the Dong Son culture of Vietnam entered the Bronze Age before any other part of South East Asia. Cast Bronze drums have been found at the most ancient Dong Son burial grounds, which date back to 1000 BC. This is how these drums were given the name “ Dong Son”. Throughout history, these drums spread throughout South East Asia, and took on different meanings based on various cultures.

Along with the Dong Son, the Karen people of Burma and Thailand used these drums to summon the rain, because of the unique, rain-like sound they make. This is how the common name of “Rain Drum” came to be. The Karen people also believe that the sounds of the drum are pleasing to the spirits or “nats”, who live in the trees and water.

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Karen man casting a Rain Drum, 1923

The drums are used for various ceremonies to summon ancestors, and for calling soldiers. A certain beat on the drum replicates the sound of marching soldiers, and is widely used as a trick to give the impression of a large army.

In Indonesia, the Rain Drums have been present for 2500 years. In Bali, which is primarily Hindu, there is a famous drum called the “Moon Drum”, that is known for its very large size. In the small Indonesian Island of Alor, “Moko Drums” play an important cultural role. A man who wishes to marry must present a Moko Drum to the woman’s family. Because these drums are hard to come by, many men or couples must leave the island in order to marry, because they cannot find or afford a Moko Drum.  Moko Drums are also heavily decorated with Hindu symbolism.

Across most primitive communities within South East Asia, possession of a Rain Drum signifies not only status and material wealth, but also the ability to communicate with and influence spirits and the powers that be. In fact, one village in Vietnam considered the ownership of a Rain Drum to be more impressive than owning seven elephants.  Although here in Boston, owning  just one elephant would probably win.

Today’s versions are modeled after drums from thousands of years ago, but in modern design they are commonly used as tables. Rain drums are great for side tables, coffee tables, and are especially common for the yard or garden. Adding a glass top is an option for making the drum seem more like a conventional table. A Rain Drum is a simple way to add a touch of exotic intrigue and rustic charm to any space.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

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We have tons of hand stitched wallets, clutches, purses, and tote bags, in every color!

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These adorable tea cups double as a measuring set.

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A vase is a great way to dress up a bouquet.

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Fill one of these ornate boxes with treasures for your mama!

Lots of chests

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Classic earrings for the glam mom.

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Assorted necklaces, bracelets, and ceramic and marble dishes, perfect for jewelry storage. Come to our showroom to browse our full collection.

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Gorgeous, authentic Kimonos.

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Kantha stitch blankets are an age old Indian tradition. The craft is passed down from mother to daughter, and these blankets are often made and given as gifts to women by their  mothers and other female relatives for important life events such as new babies and marriages. A perfect gift for your mother too! We have many to choose from, and each is unique and handmade in India.

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pretty hides

 

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We also have Kantha Stitch chairs.

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When in doubt, get your mom some throw pillows.

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Self Love-5 Ways to Recover from the Holiday Season

The Holiday Season is all about excess. From Thanksgiving to New Years, celebration can take the form of a whirlwind, sweeping Americans into an exhausting funnel of food, alcohol and spending. Although it can be a joyous time, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Between trying to find and afford the perfect gifts, fighting through crowds of shoppers, and socializing at numerous holiday parties, finding time for your health and peace of mind are often last on the list. Unfortunately, stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet are some of the top enemies of the immune system. To stay centered, it is so important to take a little time for yourself. If you are finding yourself depleted, exhausted, or just a little off in the wake of celebration, read on. Here are some easy ways to boost your immune system, relax your mind and body, detox from too many treats, and find some of that “peace on earth”.

 

1.Yoga

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Though historians are unsure exactly when Yoga originated, they know that it started in India, at least 5,000 years ago. It is now considered a form of alternative medicine and consists of stretching, meditation, balanced poses, and breathing excersizes. The goal of Yoga is to bring peace to your mind and body, helping to manage  stress and anxiety. The practice is all about the link between mind and body, and how the state of one affects the other. The key is balance. Yoga varies in style and intensity. Certain Yoga practices facilitate extreme flexibility and physical strength. Beginners will likely benefit from Hatha Yoga, which is one of the most common forms. This form has a slower pace and gentler movements.

A study published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback found yoga helped relieve chronic insomnia
“A number of studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.” From the Mayo Clinic.

Benefits
-Reduces depression
-Increases emotional positivity and enhances mood
-Increases ability to handle stress and unexpected problems
-Promotes mindfulness

 

 

2.Meditation-

meditating novice or trainee Buddhist monk by MattRavel on Flickr

There is a vast amount of research on the benefits of meditation when it comes to mental health. It is a common misinterpretation that meditation is simply relaxation. While mediation does involve ceasing to exert unnecessary effort, it is also about mindfulness.  The goal is to empty the mind, and by doing so, you let go of stress and become more aware of reality, truth, and your own existence.

“Mindfulness helps the stress-sufferer to recognize unhelpful patterns of thought that give rise to the stress response, and also involves the active cultivation of positive mental states such as kindness, compassion, patience, and energy.  “Wild Mind Buddhist Mediation

Benefits
-Reduces depression
-Reduces Insomnia
-Increases emotional positivity and enhances mood
-Increases ability to handle stress and unexpected problems
-Promotes mindfulness

 

 

3.Sleep

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Studies have shown that lack of sleep will affect your immune system. People are more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus when they don’t get enough sleep. Recovering from sickness also takes longer.  Lack of sleep spikes your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisone, which can lead to weight gain. Another study found that moderate sleep deprivation impairs your cognitive performance to the same level as being intoxicated.

“During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep. ”  Mayo Clinic

 

 

4.Tea

Black and Green teas both contain L-theanine, an amino acid which strengthens gamma delta T cells and increases those cells ability to fight infection. L-theanine also promotes relaxation and well-being by increasing the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Tea also helps fight free radicals because it is high in ORAC ( oxygen absorbance capacity). Damage from free radicals can result in cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration.

White Sage, Red Raspberry, Mugwort, Echinacea are all known for their healing properties and have been used for centuries to fight illness.

Here is an excellent recipe for an immune boosting tea you can make at home.  This drink is also great for alkalizing the body with lemon, and boosting metabolism with turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne.

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Benefits
-Tea can boost exercise endurance. antioxidants in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel.
-Fights free radicals and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, parkinson’s disease
-Hydrates the body
-Strengthens the immune system

 

5.Green Smoothies

Green Smoothies are trendy, but their positive impact on health and easy, D.I.Y. nature have caused them to spread from the world of “hippie stuff” and into the focus of mainstream health, where they have stayed for well over a decade. Smoothies are a quick way to get in all your fruits and veggie servings at once, and they pack a powerful punch of nutrition. Regular consumption of green smoothies will make your body and mind feel better in no time.

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Benefits
-Clean, glowing skin
-Decreased inflammation (which can be  helpful in alleviating joint pain and stiffness
-Improved energy and mood
-A healthy immune system that will keep you from getting sick
-Increased Focus and mental clarity

 

Recipe:

  • 3 T Hemp Seeds
  • 2 cups mixed Greens (I’m using Swiss Chard and Green Leafy Kale)
  • 1 stalk Celery
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh peppermint
  • 1 apple
  • 1 kiwi
  • water – amount varies. Start with enough to go about halfway up your ingredients. Try blending it. Add more if it’s not smooth enough.

 

 

Helpful Hint

Immune Boosting Foods

Garlic
Yogurt
Fish
Oregano Oil
Japanese Mushrooms
Cruciferous vegetables-kale, broccoli, lettuce and cabbage
Avocado
Ginger
Oatmeal
Black Currents
pomegranate Juice
Pumpkin Seeds
Sage
Graviola
Larch Supplement

 

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.

Objects of desire by the Mohr & McPherson Staff

I recently sat down with our sales staff to discuss what new or exciting items they absolutely love and would like to have in their own homes. It was interesting to see their choices based on their own style and preference.

Our Holiday Sale runs for the next two weeks and is the perfect time to stop in and find the perfect desirable compliment to your home.

Click on the photos below for more information on each piece.

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Luccia 96” inch Sofa by Cisco Brothers
“It’s deep seats and tufted back are a fabulous combination of comfort and elegance.” MC
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Kilim Trimmed Patchworks
“These are the best of both worlds, with the formality of antique rugs, but they have also been updated with a beautiful handmade border. These have options in several sizes and would make an excellent accent piece.” MC
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Live Edge Tables from Thailand
“If you want one piece of really impressive furniture in your home, then our live edge tables are the way to go! Each is unique and they come in both varied looks and dimensions for every dining room. These are sure to go so come in early…” MC
Lacquered Chinese Buffets & Consoles
“Our recent shipment of Chinese lacquered furniture has some great consoles which also can make great buffets. I see them making a very welcoming piece for an entry or front hallway. We have a varied selection of both sizes and colors in these so come in to see them during the sale at their discounted prices.” MC
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Eve Belfer-Ahern
eve@mohr-mcpherson.com
Antique Turkish Rugs
“These are ridiculously inexpensive and totally now (despite the fact that some are over a fifty years old). Great find for the textile or fashion lover!” EB
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Octagonal Ornate Coffee Table
“In a word, Awesome! This coffee table is a really great size and is both rustic and elegant. This is a great example of the one of a kind products we have, and is like nothing I have ever seen in my time with Mohr & McPherson. We are really loving higher coffee tables like this right now.” EB
Teak Indian Cabinet
“This versatile piece would be a welcome addition to any home. It can go with either a modern or rustic esthetic, and would make the perfect
mini-bar at home.” EB
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Karole Moe
karole@mohr-mcpherson.com

Seda Sectional by Cisco Brothers
“I love this so much that I own it! My family, friends and dogs have incredibly good times on this comfy piece.” KM

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Banyan Tree Vine Sculpture
“The movement in this natural sculpture is just so exciting and uplifting to me.” KM
Chinese Elm Sideboard
“I love the natural elm wood from China. This vintage piece is timeless and so useful!” KM