Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Rugs in today and more on the way!

These rugs arrived yesterday! Not sure which one is more beautiful. The first rug is a finely woven piece from Yayla. Size is 4'10" x 6'7. Design is Sultanabad. The blue-green in this rug, really adds a special depth. The colors in the tulip border are deeply saturated. There is an unusual burgundy accent color, throughout rug that works surprisingly well! I found it hard to stop looking at this one which is always a good sign.

The large navy Herez, above, looks even more beautiful in person.

This last one is very interesting as it was woven in Afghanistan but really has some of the qualities that until now, I have only seen in the best Persian Gabbehs! It is tightly woven, has a heavy body, the colors are perfectly chosen and the rug sparkles! The name of this is Aryana Shaal. It measures 6'4" x 6'6". The wool on this rug is of excellent quality and spun by hand.

More rugs coming in keep your eyes on my site!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Princess in Paradise!

Had a gal in my shop on the weekend and her daughter was dressed in holiday cheer.
She snuggled up and created a little play house with a few small rugs and I just had to capture it with my camera.
Aptly named, "Princess in Paradise".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beautiful 10 x 14 Light Green Oriental Rug

This beautiful piece just came in.
This is a 10 x 14 rug from Afghanistan. The design is Turkish, taken from an old Ushak. Colors are a bit lighter in person. Rug is in gallery one, on my site. Gorgeous rug!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Many new rugs in this week!

Hard to leave the store but I did it and have returned with many new and interesting hand woven pieces.
Of potential interest to the tribal rug guys...Quchan Kilims, mostly mid 20th Century, each of which I found unique and beautiful. Quchan, is in NE Iran, close to Turkmenistan and the these kilims are woven by Kurdish weavers. They are colorful and each piece is a bit different. Quite durable also. The work and artistry in these flatweaves comes out loud and clear with up to three different weaving techniques employed in each piece! Sizes are very tribal; 5 x 10, 6 x 11, but for those that love flatweaves and kilims, worth taking a look at. Mixed into all the galleries.

Also in recently are some very fine quality (tightly woven) antique design rugs from Ariana Rugs, Inc. in unusual European and old Agra (India) designs. These are high end pieces and truly look like antique rugs!

Additionally, many new runners, up to 15 feet with varied looks and styles.
Many smaller rugs in also, some of which will be quite affordable but too many to photo and get up on the site in one day. I will be adding these to my site as quickly as I can. As I add rugs to each gallery, the new rugs, will always be at the bottom of the gallery.
Just the way the gallery program works.

If any questions, I am always available. Contact info in on my site, including my direct line.
Hope you enjoy, a few of my new pieces are featured above!

Friday, July 24, 2009

New rug that is pretty amazing....

This rug has now found a home!
Just thought I would give this piece a little attention. Arrived two days ago and the more I look at it, the more I see. This is a Persian Luri recently woven in Southern Iran. The wool on this rug feels like silk and of course, 100% vegetable dyes. Have a look!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My new favorite rug! World class Persian Bijar!

Have a look at this beauty. This is a 6 x 8.3 Persian Bijar. Woven in Iran by Kurdish weavers with excellent wool dyed and vegetable (plant based) dyes.

It just came in yesterday and when I opened it, I was truly mesmerized. It's obvious that I'm in love with the rugs I sell but this Bijar has the true magic. The colors are so harmonious and the weaving so impeccable that I would say with confidence that this is one of the best rugs I have ever seen.

The drawing (this is the design outline) is calming yet interesting and although
the basic layout is a geometric rendition of the pendant medallion design, little flowers are subtly worked into the background and secretly appear as you continue to study the piece. The yellow at the edge of the field (area inside the border) is just amazing. Not too bright, not too muddy, not too soft...just exactly right. In the detailed border design, the light blue accents give just the right touch of a sparkle. And then there is the deep green in tiny increments throughout the piece.
I believe this rug is spectacular. Look it over carefully and each time, you will notice something else, you missed at first glance. A perfect rug continues to fascinate, endlessly.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday morning Farmers Market in Sebastopol. Belly Dancers and More!

The dancers were back and this time, I had my camera! Above are a few photos of the belly dancers at the Sunday morning Farmers' Market, in Sebastopol, California, taken June 28,2009. The wonderful dancers are the Raks Rosa Dance Company. The director is Elana Quihuis. For those of you interested, their web site is

The weather was HOT but there was ample shade and the mood was relaxed and friendly. Many vendors with fresh, organic produce and an assortment of exquisite hand-crafted items and delectable food. The entertainment was great. This market runs all summer so come and check it out on any Sunday morning. The market is held right in the center of downtown Sebastopol in the park and runs from 9:00 AM to 2 or 3PM.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Favorite Rugs! Paradise Oriental Rugs

Anyone care to see my current favorite rugs? They are right above...just love these. I believe the Khamsehbaf and Qashqai rugs that I am in the fortunate position to have at my gallery will be the antiques of the future. They are woven with great care, excellent wool, the best dyes and are incredibly hearty. A number of the designs, such as the above pieces are gorgeous. If you haven't seen any of these, take a look. I feel these are my best rugs and over the long term, will be good investments.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Questions About Rugs and My Best Advise!

I recieve many emails from people far and near and so I've decided to post the questions and my responses so that the information is available to one and all. Here's the most recent:

"I saw your web site and you seem to be knowledgeable about rugs. This is my carpet. I've been told by my rug cleaner, one of the few guys who still cleans by hand in Los Angeles, that this rug is over 75 years old, Belgian, and probably machine made. I really like the rug, but as you can see, the wear is getting bad. Is a rug like this worth restoring? Can a rug like this be restored? I love the aged look of it, but I think it's a little TOO aged. One of his guys offered to "color" the bald spots. If the rug isn't worth that much, is that a way to go - or will it look painted? Any advice you could give would be most appreciated."

Melanie Graham

My response:

Dear Melanie,

There is really no investment potential in older machine made rugs. If they are in perfect condition, there is some value there, but never as much as a good hand-woven rug.

Babylon rug cleaners on Westerm in Los Angeles is the best one that I know of. Link below.
If they can put a bit of the color back where it's worn out, it may look better for a while but don't spend a lot of money on that. These guys are the best in LA and VERY fairly priced.
If it's clean now, my best recommendation is just to arrange your furniture so the worn spots don't show and use it until you are done.

Machine woven rugs cannot be restored. You are right, it is a very pretty rug.
Hopefully this helps.

Best Regards,
Penny Krieger

What's up with Sebastopol? Sebastopol, California.

Just found a cool article about Sebastopol so here's the link.

Of course, my Oriental Rug Gallery, Paradise Oriental Rugs is in Sebastopol, just in case you were thinking of a visit.
I will be at the Healdsburg Antique Show August 30, 2009, Downtown Healdsburg in the Park! Show hours: 8 AM - 4 PM
Bringing some beautiful rugs and a few antique tribal pieces so it should be fun!
The show is free to attend so hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Babylon's Ark. Incredible book I finished today!

As you may have noticed, if you've ever been to my web site , I have listed on the front page and also on my links page, two environmental organizations, one of which is the called the Earth Organization.
Welcome to The Earth Organization - conservation organization,environmental organisations,environmental organizations,environ...

The founder of this organization, Lawrence Anthony is not only a fascinating individual, he is also an uncommonly brave and dynamic human being that we all could learn from on the subject of integrity. What is integrity but doing what you know is right, regardless of the outcome to yourself or your personal needs and comforts.

Being the first civilian that entered Iraq after the start of the war, his mission was simple. Rescue the animals in the Baghdad Zoo. With little resources and sheer guts he was overwhelmed when he arrived to discover only 35 starving, dehydrated animals left on the brink of death from a former population of 600. No water, filthy cages, broken pipes destroyed by bombs...the question was where to start. This is an amazing story of hope and inspiration that shows what ONE individual can do to make a difference.

Here's a hint. Not one animal died after his arrival. This book is a must read.

Here are the links.
Babylon's Ark: The Incredible ... - Google Book Search

Enjoy and if you want to help, get involved, make a donation, do whatever you can. It's our planet and none survive alone.
Our Founder

The name of the book is Babylon's Ark by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Amazing Camel in Downtown Sebastopol on Thursday in front of Paradise Oriental Rugs!

I arrived to work yesterday and there was a large trailer parked in front of my rug store. I didn't think twice about it until someone asked me, "Is that your camel?"

I was busy on the phone and getting set up to open when it was pointed out to me by one of my neighbors on Main Street, that there was a real, live camel, parked in a trailer, directly in front of my rug gallery.

I waited patiently until the caretakers of Kazzy returned as I had no idea if she was friendly or even how to approach her. She appeared to be completely relaxed with cars going by and one and all, magically pulling out their digital cameras, including me! When her owners returned, I was amazed to find out she was a therapy animal from Lyon Ranch in Sonoma County and was in between visits to convalescent hospitals while her owners were out to lunch.

When they returned, I was offered the opportunity to meet her along with everyone else! She was so sweet and affectionate, it was fantastic! I asked many questions and found out Kazzy is one smart camel. She is trained and works as a therapy animal bringing smiles to the faces of all she meets. She's particularly fond of men with beards, I was told by her owners, but friendly to all and truly enjoys her work as a therapy animal.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Decorating with Antique Oriental Rugs

I do believe this is a beautifully created space and recently received this photo in an email from one of my loyal clients. The three rugs you see here were purchased at my gallery a little less than a month ago, so I was thrilled to see all.

The small piece you see hanging on the wall in the back of the photo is the front of an old Persian saddlebag. These are known as bagfaces in the trade. The piece is an old Persian Qashqai and I think her placement on the wall is excellent.

The faux finish wall with the blue hues bring this whole dinning area together and speaks to me of Greece or Italy, reminiscent of days gone by. I think it's just stunning with the old rugs. Another facet of this space is that it remains interesting as one continues to look over all. She has kept the space open, allowing the wood floors to add an elegance while still retaining a very individual quality with her signature look.

The rug you see under the dining table is an old Kurdish rug with deeply saturated colors woven is a bold tribal design with a whimsical quality. This piece was quite dynamic in it's large scale geometric drawing and smartly, she has given it breathing space. The last rug I will comment on, placed right at the entrance to the dining area is an old Ersari Turkoman. It was slightly faded but still smiling. This little charmer was one of my favorites as the wool had a beautiful sheen (antique patina) and the rug was quite charismatic. Notice that each piece is a different size but the overall look of the room is balanced.

Just thought I would share, as this space was created with three antique rugs, all of which were somewhat different from one another. What she has achieved here is harmonious and contemporary, while still retaining an old world charm.

Paradise Oriental Rugs

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why I love Sebastopol.

On Sunday, my gallery opens at noon. As usual, I was running a few minutes late and was slightly distressed about this and my lack of a parking spot close to the front of my store. I decided to park my car down by the theaters in town as there is a huge lot there and always space. Luckily for me, when I walked through the Plaza on the way to my shop, there was a troop of belly dancers dancing to fantastic Arabic music.

I stopped in my tracks and watched. It was awesome! There were six dancers and I surmised that a few were students of the one dancer that stood out light a gleaming blue white diamond. Her manner was so confident. Her moves impeccable and timing perfect. I truly learned a lot about performance just watching her. She was not emanating, "I'm in love with myself" but more of a warm, loving, "I am here entertaining you and offering you my art!" I enjoyed it perfectly and decided I needed to learn how to do that! OK....keep you posted.

Many years before I was in the rug business, I worked at a night club in Hollywood as a waitress. It was a Greek nigh club with a full 6 piece band and one of the best belly dancers in the world. Her name was Helena Velahaos. She was on the Johnny Carson show and a complete talent. She had superlative costumes, incredible moves and was professional by every definition. One of the many skills she was able to perform in her show was folding a dollar bill whilst lying on her back with the muscles of her tummy. People used to gasp on that trick but the point being, I might recognize a good belly dancer if I saw one!

When I first opened my rug gallery in Sebastopol, I hired a belly dancer for my grand opening. I interviewed more than one and this lady was the best. Her stage name was Karawan and she danced to Arabic music. She was very good and made it look so easy! She formerly danced in San Francisco and Sonoma County at numerous venues.

The pictures you see above are of her at my shop: Paradise Oriental Rugs, Inc. in Sebastopol. She danced at my grand opening a few years ago and who knows, she may dance at my gallery in the future if a special occasion calls for some superlative entertainment.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oriental Rug Articles. Decorating with Persian rugs and more.

Just got this email from Scottland the other day and it was a lovely communication to read with my morning coffee!

"Hi, I just wanted to drop you a note to say 'thank you' for such an interesting web site. Last weekend my wife and I went to a "sale" of oriental rugs being held in a city hotel in Glasgow here in Scotland. The sale was supposedly brought about by the 'credit crunch'. The rugs were all heavily priced but with the promise of huge discounts.I just did not like the feel of the place or the tone of the salesmen. We resisted the sales patter because it was all so confusing. Once back home I found your website and all its hugely interesting articles and I am now more confident in 'how to buy an oriental rug' - so armed with the knowledge and help you have given me its back in to the market place for that first purchase.Many thanks, well done and best wishes.
R. B."

The beautiful green Perisan runner above was a rug I sold a few years back to a gal in Berkeley and I think she did a spendid job of find a spot for it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Mannequin Chronicles Come to Paradise...

As anyone may have noticed I can get enthusiastic and when the girls came to see my Oriental rug store, all had great fun! It was a buying frenzy, for sure!

Here are a few shots taken by Dannell Powell of The Mannequin Chronicles - Mannequin Art for the Masses, a very talented artist and also my friend. As you can see, these women really have an eye for the antique Oriental rug trappings and the better rugs at my shop! Ultimately Dannell Powell and I will be putting a number of these limited edition prints on display at my gallery!

Enjoy! The fun begins!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Discovery of a Live Art Form!

I pretty much live for art. All forms that make life worth living are important and valuable. Superlative moments of wonderful communication with a fellow human being are, in themselves a moment of art…timeless and perfect.

Imagine that someone has actually created an art form that engages others, draws them out (as in extroverts them), invites their participation and even gifts them with their own, unique 15 minutes of fame! Creativity abounds in my admired associate’s body of work. Numerous individuals were invited to participate; some children, others adults and Mother Nature was not forgotten either! Amazing and fascinating.

I don’t want to give too much away but the basis or tool used here is photography but there is so much more than just point and shoot. Each scene is artistically created and the cast of characters, fun and fascinating! Satire, aesthetics, comedy and originality all rolled into one. Humorous, witty, fun and adorable are also musts on the descriptive. You will only understand when you see the images. Your imagination is invited…this is a traveling, living as in, “endowed life” art form unlike any you have seen.

I currently have 4 of these fantastic limited edition prints in my Oriental Rug Store and after our photo shoot this week; will be featuring the girls in Paradise!

Am I excited? Absolutely.
Take a peek and let your imagination run wild. The girls are going shopping!

Friday, February 27, 2009

How to ensure your small business survives in these trying times.

An interview with gallery owner,
Penny Krieger of Paradise Oriental Rugs, Inc.
[This interview will be coming out in the next ACNA, Antiques & Collectibles National Association newsletter]

How long have you been in business?
I started my business in 1997 with two rugs that I had purchased from an individual. Prior to this I had worked at a commission only sales job selling rugs for another firm for seven years.
For the first 6 months with my new small business, I ran classified ads in newspapers and sold by appointment only from my home while working at second job.

After less than a year, I made the total commitment and quit the second job. Just as an aside, I did have a business licence and collected sales tax as the goal was to eventually get a retail store going.
My finances were pretty much hand-to-mouth for the first couple of years but loved the rugs so much I was very persistent and pushed forward.
Whenever I did well, I purchased more rugs and whenever I created an ad that worked, I noticed. I also maintained a keen awareness of what individual tastes were in my area...and used that as an index for any new rugs I bought.

When did you open your first retail gallery?
I opened my first retail gallery in 1999 in Santa Rosa, California. In 2006 I moved my business to Sebastopol, CA which is about 6 miles from my former location. The town where my gallery is currently located [Sebastopol, CA] only has 7000 residents but we're 10 minutes to Santa Rosa, which has over 150,000 people and a little over an hour from San Francisco.

Who are your customers?
I used to consider my client base rug buyers within a 50 mile radius but with my site, I now feel that anyone that has online access and is interested in the types of rugs I have is a potential client.

What are the most important qualities that determine the value of an Oriental rug?
Here are the factors from my perspective that matter the most, in their order of importance.

Beautiful colors. Colors are the paramount, second only to the artistic rendition of a good drawing. The drawing is the layout of the design.
Quality of the wool and how it is produced. The very best wool costs more than inferior wool. Hand spun wool has higher labor costs than it's machine spun counterpart.
Quality of the dyes and the skill with which they are applied. Natural or vegetable dyes are more time consuming in use and costlier to procure.
Skilled weaving. Look at the back of the rug. Is it a mess or are the rows neat and orderly?
Availability. Obviously, scarcity creates value, particularly is the piece is gorgeous.
Demand. Is the type of rug in question, all the rage or last years left over?
Cost of fuel as this affects shipping prices.
Value of the American dollar in international markets.
On antique Oriental rugs: Condition, beauty, actual verifiable age, rarity and market conditions all affect the value. The venue where it is sold and skilled marketing also influence the price. The large international auction houses in NYC and London have some of the most affluent buyers in the world so if a piece is museum quality these organizations have the widest international audience.

How have you managed to stay in business when so many rug stores have closed in the last few years?
By selling what I consider to be good quality rugs and having a specific niche that is mine. I've never liked what I call, "cookie cutter rugs" which is what you will find if you go to most of the large department stores. I was always more fascinated by pieces woven in small villages with a tribal look, beautiful hand-spun wool and deep saturated colors from the vegetable dyes, many of which are one-of-a-kind.

The Oriental Rug industry is interesting as some wholesale prices have gone down in the last few years and others have gone up. I guess my willingness to buy better quality merchandise and only from reputable wholesalers and producers has paid off. I have never used the cliche, "going out of business sale" or "lowest price" with the rugs falsely labeled some astronomical amount that is more of a fantasy than a reality. I did go by one local rug retailer's shop a year ago when he had been "closing" for seven years! He had a 3 x 5 silk rug priced at $17,000. but now it was only $3500! Suffice it to say, this was not a good deal.

When the Iranian embargo was lifted in 2000, I was literally was a kid in a candy store. The rugs that became available were nothing less that woven art. These were one-of-a-kind tribal rugs coming out of Iran that had never before been available. I filled my shop with as many as I could afford. The were not inexpensive wholesale but I took a chance and when qualified buyers entered my gallery, they were usually mesmerized. I had something different and although higher priced than what I had been selling prior, they were very well received and continue to be my best selling rugs, even now.

I also maintained communication with my clients by sending out a quarterly newsletter which always included some tantalizing photos of a few special pieces.

How has the business been the last couple of years with the Real Estate market declining and the different financial factors that are currently out there?
In all simplicity. More challenging. I have had to work harder, give better service, provide the potential client with what their needs are to the best of my ability.
I realized a while back that I needed a web site and it has proved to be a smart idea. I got my site started in 2006 and have added to it and improved it consistently since it's inception.

How many of your sales have come from your web site?
Minimally 30% of my sales last year were a direct result of my web site and as a sales tool, over 60% of my clients have been to my site, read my articles, and studied the rug photos in considering a purchase. The site has been invaluable. I have satisfied clients as far away as New York City, Virginia, Rhode Island and am working with a gentleman in Houston as we speak.
Even if it's only a sale here and there, it all ads up. When a gal walked in to my shop a while back from Montana and knew every rug in my store, I was very pleased that I had created my web site and my hard work was beginning to pay off.

How people find your web site?
I have spent the greater part of the last six months studying Search Engine Optimization and that is an entirely different conversation but what I have learned is this. People are looking on the Internet for information and if you give them accurate, understandable information for free, you can earn their trust. I have numerous articles on my site all based on questions I have been asked repeatedly for the last 15 years in the Oriental rug business.

With all the GOB's (going out of business sales) out there why do you think people buy from you?What I have heard most often is, "Penny, you have the most beautiful rugs!" The other comment I have been told over and over is that they trust me. I took the complements I have heard most often and used them in my advertising. That translated to my current ad campaign, "Beautiful rugs, sold with integrity!" Another quote that has gotten me countless sales is, "I will never sell you a rug unless you absolutely love it."

Is there any information you would like to share with other retailers?
I have seen numerous small businesses close in my area (Sonoma County, Northern California) in the last 6 months and not one of them put much energy into marketing with a little push or increasing their service! If you are not lazy and listen to your clients, give fantastic service and are actually selling something of value, you can get through this. Put up a small web site, work on it when you can. Write articles, hold small events, do whatever you can to promote within the context of your budget and when things get better you will be far ahead of the crowd and positioned quite possibly for a prosperous future!

Last man (or woman!) standing gets the prize! If any more rugs stores close, I may be the only Oriental rug dealer left!

Penny Krieger is the owner of Paradise Oriental Rugs, Inc., located in the San Francisco Bay Area in Sonoma County. Her gallery at 137 North Main Street, Sebastopol,CA, specializes in tribal rugs and carpets woven with hand-spun wool and plant based dyes with a strong emphasis on Persian rugs. 707-823-3355

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Where to see antique rug in San Francisco!

San Francisco Tribal & Textile Arts Show is ON now!

This incredible show starts tomomrrow with the "Preview Gala" on as I write!
If you have never been and you love rugs, this show is a must see.

Why? To see is to learn...the more rugs you see the better your understanding will be of new rugs, old rugs and Oriental rugs of merrit.

Old rugs have a certain mood and attention to detail that one often does not see in newer pieces. Many times they are more finely woven and you can really percieve the weaver's true intentions in the finished product...The museums are filled with such pieces and dealers from all over the globe will be there with their finds.

The SF Tribal Arts Show is on this weekend at Fort Mason Center and for those of you that live in Marin or Sonoma County, this is just across the bridge. It's only $15.00 to get in and having attended once, my opinion is that this is a very fair price!

Here is the link for anyone interested.

In addition to tribal rugs there will be other tribal art forms from all over the world. Arrive early and enjoy!

Here are few photos to get you in the mood.
The above rugs are all new rugs woven with vegetable dyes and hand-spun wool in antique designs from my gallery...timeless and beautiful.

Hope you find this information useful!