Mike and I just got back from an amazing trip to Athens, Santorini, and Istanbul. It was a perfect mix of ruins, relaxation and city-time. Bonus – we got things for our apartment!
One of our goals in Istanbul was to buy a kilim – which is essentially a flat rug. We read a lot about people who were ripped off by thinking they bought a silk/old/authentic Turkish rug, and we were a little nervous. However, we had one thing going for us: we didn’t care about any of those things. We didn’t want a silk rug – we wanted wool. We didn’t care if it was old or new…we’re not that fancy. And finally, we weren’t concerned with confirming that the rug was made by women in the Anatolian region of Turkey. To us, a rug was a rug was a rug, and if we thought the pattern was nice and it looked sturdy, we were good to go. We didn’t really set a price point for the rugs but we knew that we needed to haggle – something I’m terrible at (surprising since my job involves negotiating). Luckily, Mike is a genius when it comes to the Haggle (which I’ll talk about in the next post), so we set off to the Grand Bazaar on our last day in Istanbul.
We took a lap around the place and found a store that looked like it had a lot of the types of rugs we were interested in (specifically, we were not looking for Persian pile rugs – we wanted kilims). We sat down and they went through the typical sales routine that we read about. They offered us drinks, laid out rug after rug, and talked about how great each of them were. After about 20 minutes, we narrowed down the options to three rugs – a larger one that was new, a medium-sized one (maybe 3’x5′) that was semi-old (meaning less than 40 years old), and a semi-old runner. That’s when Mike got to work.
Initially we both thought we’d get two at the max, but as Mike started haggling, he quickly realized that haggling the price down for two would make buying all three even more of a steal. Once he threw the runner into the negotiations I had a minor panic attack, since the Turkish lira is about 1.5 times the value of the dollar and I thought we were spending way over our budget. But I calmed down, and ultimately was super pleased with the price and getting all three of the rugs.
The biggest kilim was one of the first ones they laid down, and Mike and I couldn’t get it out of our heads. It matched a lot of what we already have and we loved the pattern. (Don’t mind the kitten…he was trapped in prison, aka my parent’s house, while we were on our trip, and he needed a LOT of attention when we got back).
The medium-sized kilim was less traditional but we loved it too. When they would lay down each rug, we’d compare it to the one we currently thought we liked the most. None of the medium-sized kilims could top this one.
The runner looks most like a traditional rug, but it has some really interesting and intricate patterns, which we liked. They looked tribal and more “authentic” than most of the other runners, and it wasn’t too long. We knew we’d put it in the hallway leading to Mike’s office, which has a lot of darker reds and creams in it already, so this was really the only rug we knew would work in our apartment.
We don’t yet have a spot for the large or medium kilims, but we’re not worried. We’re obviously not staying in our apartment forever, and that might be the only time we’re going to be in Istanbul, so we wanted to get what we could while we were there.
Next up – the art we bought!