Thu, 06/07/2012 - 7:05pm

Cats and dogs everywhere have reached a consensus: There's no better place to hang than on a beautiful Oriental carpet. Check out some of our patrons' four-legged friends enjoying their favorite O'Bannon purchases.



"Here we see Izzy getting ready for her post-breakfast nap time.  She is so fond of the piece that when the position of the rug is changed for any reason, she becomes visibly irked until it's returned to an accessible position. Izzy has good taste, as I fondly call this piece my Rothko rug."

-Lance Wyatt, IT Manager



"I came home from work one day to Fleur relaxing on this rug. She looked up and said: "Mom, I know I'm not allowed on the table but this isn't really the table-- it's a rug, and I love it!"

-Gretchen Wyatt, PCA Accountant 





Posted By Kristen

Wed, 05/30/2012 - 4:17pm



Lance Wyatt is the friend you call when your computer comes down with a mysterious case of the sniffles. He’s an IT manager, or as he puts it: “a professional geek.” He met Kristen through his wife, Gretchen, who worked with her at the CMU library. After graduating from college, the couple bought several rugs from O’Bannon and have been patronizing the shop ever since. Lance favors bold, masculine rugs with stark colors, but says he might consider some of the more intricately patterned pieces if he ever bought a castle.


How would you characterize your décor?


Modern, contemporary.


What’s your favorite room in the house?


I’d say the sunroom. There’s actually three gabbehs in there. [Gretchen and I] are patrons of the arts, but we probably buy more rugs than anything.


If you had to pick one rug to take home today, which would it be?


[Gabbeh pictured left.] It’s soft, mild and calm, but the coolest thing about it is the way you almost get this sort of gradient in the geometric shapes that weaves in and out. I’m drawn to geometric patterns. That might just be the computational side of my personality. 


What’s your favorite decorative object?


The Turkish Evil Eye. I think is supposed to ward off evil spirits. There’s something arcane about them that gives them sort of an odd feel. I’ve always thought they were cool.


Are you superstitious at all?


As one of those people of science you say no, but in the back of my mind yes. Do you tempt fate? No. [Laughs] 


Where would this go in your house?


Somewhere where the cats couldn’t get it. Probably on a mantle.  


-Andrea O. Bullard


Posted By Kristen

Sun, 05/20/2012 - 11:48pm



The lexicon of Oriental carpets gives us many sumptuous words on which to feast: words like abrash, amulet, weft and lanolin; words like Soumac and spandrel, kilim and Qashqai. At Kristen’s suggestion, I plucked three words from her glossary and used them as inspiration for three pieces of flash fiction. Today's word, the third and final of the bunch, is "lanolin." 


Lanolin- the natural oil in sheep’s wool that protects the rug, keeping it lush, lustrous and flexible


To the left you'll find two close-ups of a shimmery gabbeh runner that owes its rich, creamy texture to the presence of lanolin. The rug feels simply divine underfoot. Stop in the shop, kick off your sandals and see for yourself. It makes a great landing pad for beside the bed.


The word lanolin got me thinking about preservation, and the ways in which humans attempt to preserve both youthfulness and tradition. You’ll find the first and second installments posted below. Happy reading!


The summer she turned thirty-five, Cora began to apply the night cream the way her mother did and her grandmother had and her daughter, only six, someday would. They were a family of routine and ritual. Tea in the afternoon, Christmas at Nana Rosemary’s, the beach house in the summer. Each woman grew into the woman who had gone before her, staving off the wrinkles into her sixties, serious, complacent, brave in times of crisis. “I want to go to the mountains this year,” Cora’s little girl said at breakfast one morning. “I want to look for fossils in the woods.” Maggie had entered a defiant phase that Cora hoped would end very soon. “But you love the beach,” said Cora. “All the pretty seashells.” Maggie guzzled her milk and spat it back into her glass. Cora told herself to stay calm. Getting too emotional, her mother always said, was bad for the skin. Once they got to the beach, Maggie would forget all about the mountains. She would forget the silly fossils in the woods


Gabbeh measures 2.07x9.05' and retails at $2575.00.  


-Andrea O. Bullard



Posted By Kristen

Thu, 05/17/2012 - 8:34am

Cats and dogs everywhere have reached a consensus: There's no better place to hang than on a beautiful Oriental carpet. Check out some of our patrons' four-legged friends enjoying their favorite O'Bannon purchases.



"When you get these mutts at the pound you never know what's in store. But we lucked out with one of the sweetest creatures God created and she also looks great on an O'Bannon rug!"

-Suzan Shultz, Interior Designer



Finn and Molly gather for story time on the trout carpet. Is Molly listening to the tale or is she dreaming of fresh caught fish?

-Jenny Gollick, Allison McGeary Florist Inc.


Georgia Blue 

"Every morning Georgia lies on this Gabbeh at the top of the stairs, waiting for me to come up to brush my teeth before heading to work. We say goodbye with pets and belly rubs. It's fitting that she picked a carpet that's the color of her middle name."

-Kristen Rockwell, owner, O'Bannon Oriental Carpets



Posted By Kristen

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:38pm


The lexicon of Oriental carpets gives us many sumptuous words on which to feast: words like abrash, amulet, weft and lanolin; words like Soumac and spandrel, kilim and Qashqai. At Kristen’s suggestion, I plucked three words from her glossary and used them as inspiration for three pieces of flash fiction. Today's word, the second of the bunch, is "abrash." 


Abrash- (n) used to denote variation in hue and saturation within a single color; caused by a change in wool or dye batches during the weaving process.


To the left are three photographs of an antique Arabian saddle cover that beautifully illustrates abrash. Notice the variation within the purple sections of the piece. The word got me thinking about variation more abstractly and I used it to tell a story about a man discovering his new girlfriend’s chameleonic personality. We’ll post the third and final "word story" soon. (The first installment is posted just below this one.) Happy reading!


There were seven of her. Something like that. Seven Silvias. Made it kinda strange at the wedding. She let the teenagers drink her champagne without saying a thing, when I’d figured her for a strict sort, like a schoolteacher with a bun. She danced real close with the drunk uncle, but then she wouldn’t laugh at the best man’s speech because she had some kind of grudge against him. At dinner we sat next to the family dentist, who made a rude joke about women, so she gave him the wrong directions to the bathroom, but then she helped his son tie his undid shoelace. Made me wonder how much of my own shape was drawn by other people. “You were so quiet tonight,” she said in the car on the way home, picking bobby pins out of her hair. “You’re kind of shy, aren’t you?” I wanted to say no, but I stopped myself. We were only just getting to know each other.


Saddle cover measures 4’3’’x 6’7” and retails at $2,265. 


-Andrea O. Bullard



Posted By Kristen

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 1:19pm


The lexicon of Oriental carpets gives us many sumptuous words on which to feast: words like abrash, amulet, weft and lanolin; words like Soumac and spandrel, kilim and Qashqai. At Kristen’s suggestion, I plucked three words from her glossary and used them as inspiration for three pieces of flash fiction. Today's word is "amulet." 


Amulet- (n) a small object said to carry magical properties, sometimes used to hold religious relics or shamanistic inscriptions; often represented as a triangle 


To the left we’ve included photographs of three pieces that incorporate amulets into their designs: a Turkish Tree of Life carpet, an Afghani Ikat carpet, and an embroidered Turkoman hat with an amulet sewn onto the crown. We’ll post the other "word stories" over the next couple of weeks. Happy reading! 


The best day of the old woman’s year was the day the little grey bird flew in through the open French doors and landed on the painting of her granddaughter, who was now calling herself an Atheist. She was always looking for signs, the old woman, messages from God. The bird was not to be ignored. She took a picture of it before her neighbor came over with his rawhide gloves to extract the creature and release it into the day again. “Birds have very small brains,” he said, rather oddly. The old woman kept the photo in her pocket wherever she went. When she understood what the bird was trying to tell her, she would call her granddaughter, so that she could know too. This is what God wanted her to do.


-Andrea O. Bullard


Posted By Kristen

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 9:31pm

Should an independent bookstore crop up among the Butler Street shops, you just might find Lee van Egmond behind the counter, paging through a Penelope Fitzgerald novel. It’s an idea she’s been tossing around for a while now, as she begins to steer her life in new directions. She walked into O’Bannon for the first time in 2004, having just made partner at a law firm downtown. She was looking for a rug to add warmth to her new office. When she returned in 2007, it was to begin furnishing a house that was, coincidentally, two doors down from Kristen’s. Since then, the two have struck up a very rich friendship, seasoned by a mutual enthusiasm for art and, of course, Oriental textiles.


Kristen says you have quite a lamp collection. Can you talk about how this all got started?


Because of the way my house is built, I don’t get a lot of natural light. I didn’t find anything I liked at Target or Ikea and then I saw a beautiful lamp in House Beautiful or Elel Décor and it said the person had bought the lamp on eBay. So I went on eBay, typed in Oriental lamps, and turned up all of these great pieces. I would never bid more than about $40 and I never checked back. If I won it, great, and if I didn’t, that was okay too. Using that strategy I ended up amassing a collection of very, very interesting lamps. Then I found Typhoon Lighting in Regent Square, so I would take my lamps there and find the appropriate shade. Since I only spent about $20 or $30 on a lamp, I would splurge on the shade. The best part is the finial, which is like the cherry on top. They have a great collection, from very formal to very whimsical. So that’s the story of how I lit my house.


What are your passions?


Well, I’m kind of at a crossroads in my life. About a year ago I resigned from my position as a corporate lawyer. Since then I’ve been taking time to find out what my passion is. I interned at an art gallery for almost a year, learning about appraisals, installations, curating, and I’ve also travelled during my time off. I would say that my passions are books… art …, of course my dog, Chico. Right now I’m really interested in appreciating fine photography.


Are you a Kindle person?


I am not a Kindle person. I want the book. I like the physical feel of it: the heft, turning

pages. I want to put it on my shelf when I’m done. I always hate when people say: “Well it’s great for when you travel because you don’t have to carry all those books.” Who carries 50 books when they travel? [Laughs].


I’m an only child so when lights out came when I was a kid I didn’t have brothers and sisters to interact with. I would take a book under the covers and it was like my friend. Reading books takes me back to those very early memories.


What’s your favorite rug in the shop at present?


[The Egyptian Mamluk.] This would go in a room I’m passive in, like my television room; a place where I’d actually get to look at it. I can’t say exactly why I am drawn to that rug – the colors, the pattern – it’s like when I see a work of art or a photograph that I like. It’s just an instinctual draw to the object.


And your favorite decorative object?


[Stone Critters] I can’t decide between the pig and the bunny. In theory I’m a gardener, but in practice not so much. I have a huge yard. Too much yard. I may end up getting that bunny because he’s just awfully cute. And I don’t have to weed him. 


-Andrea O. Bullard


Posted By Kristen

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 11:37pm






During her stay in California Kristen came face to face with some of the world’s oldest living organisms, walked alongside spritely coastal flora and scaled a lighthouse dripping with prisms. And she wasn’t about to leave San Francisco without first taking a spin through the Anatolian kilim exhibit at the de Young museum.


What’s most interesting about this mesmerizing selection of pieces from the 14th through 19th century is the sophistication of the designs. Every single one of these kilims predates the abstract expressionist movement by at least 50 years and yet many of them possess striking similarities to the work of Hans Hofmann, Clyfford Still, and Mark Rothko.


We’ve selected a few of our favorites from the show. Enjoy!

-Andrea O. Bullard


Posted By Kristen

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 4:21pm

Imagine how eclectic your next patio party would be if Old Man Vineyard, Michelangelo’s David, and several gorgeous Hellenic beauties were in attendance. These and other interesting characters await your invitation at O’Bannon. They’re made from a compound of cement, sand and quartz, so you’ll need a sturdy brick wall or privacy fence to support them. While they may not be the best conversationalists, their presence will inspire your guests to chat about Renaissance art, mythology and fables as they sip red wine and nibble pita and hummus. 

-Andrea O. Bullard


Posted By Kristen

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 5:08pm

Even the most vigorous perennials aren’t all that dependable when you consider all that can happen in any given garden season. The beloved daylilies emerge anew in March, green and vivacious, only to be ravaged by insects in June, deer in July and drought in August, until all that remains of once lush flower is a spiral of crispy brown curls. This, dear readers, is why we hardscape. 


Planting a few intriguing objects in the midst of a perennial garden assures permanent beauty in an unpredictable climate. Even if everything that can go wrong does go wrong, an old granite millstone (top left) will still be standing; handsome and unscathed. Hardscaping is also a terrific way to add structure, texture and contrast to a garden. Our granite millstones and donuts will make the green stuff pop when positioned at the foreground or background of plants. 


Find a spot for one of our versatile stone lanterns as well (2nd from top left). They’ll add another dimension to your bed. If you like, you can even alter their function from season to season. Place a small potted plant at their middle one year; an incense burner the next.    

Once you’ve situated the larger items, nestle one of our adorable yet sophisticated stone critters towards the front of the bed amidst the tendrils of a low-growing or creeping plants. We have rabbits, squirrels (2nd from bottom left), hedgehogs, cardinals, wrens and decorative finials (bottom left) made of a blend of cement, granite, and quartz that won’t discolor. 


A word to the wise: This stuff is heavy. You’ll want to bring at least one other person with you when you make your selections. 


Pricing: Millstones, $100. Lanterns, $225. Stone Critters, $30-55.

-Andrea O. Bullard


Posted By Kristen

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