Monday, February 28, 2011

Buy American-made, Choose the Braided Rug Company!

Before returning to Wellfleet, I visited the Cambridge Galleria, a place that has come to epitomize life in the city and an experience so dissimilar from anything we practice on a regular basis on rural Cape Cod. I must say I was rather disgusted with all the junk available for purchase, most of it “Made in China.” Apparently Diane Sawyer, at ABC News, feels the same way because this week she is doing a series called the “Made in America Challenge.” Diane will attempt to furnish a house with non-imported objects, which seems like a challenge to me after my mall walk-through. Guess what? I have a suggestion for Diane’s floors: handcrafted rugs designed and made on Cape Cod!

This week Sven and I journeyed to Harwich to choose a rug for under the vintage table in the dining room. Before starting Chez Sven, I had bought a braided rug at an estate sale but the edges have come unraveled, so it was time for a serious upgrade. We found the rug of our dreams at the Cape Cod Braided Rug Company, located on Great Western Road. (There’s an online sale going on that ends today, so you might want to check out the Web site for items that are 10% off.)

The showroom is chock-a-block with marvelous braided rugs, each more appealing than the next. Saleslady Mary Bolduc greeted us with a smile. Mary, who is extremely knowledgeable about her merchandise, participates in its creation, and even touches the rugs with affection when she takes one down from the wall so customers can see what it looks like on the floor. Regular designs read like a map of Cape Cod and the Islands: Chilmark, Monomoy, Falmouth, Oak Bluffs, Provincetown. But it’s also possible to order a custom rug that will match your interior. Custom rugs are a bit more expensive, but what fun to create something unique!

Mary told us that the company
had been in the same family for four generations but was purchased a year or two ago by Tom and Nancy Benton. Their enthusiasm for maintaining traditions is obvious as you walk around the showroom. Now it’s possible to watch while the rugs are handcrafted on an enormous table in the rear of the building. Here’s a local activity our guests will love! Tours are held Monday through Thursday, from 9 to 4:30, but Mary suggested coming in the afternoon to see how the machines work.

Mary told us customers will flock to the Braided Rug Company over the next few months when so many Cape houses are opened up after this long winter. “Osterville really booms in the spring, because of the bright colors,” she said when I asked which rug was the most popular.

While in the factory, we discovered a 3 X 5 Match Hill on sale that will work perfectly in Liberty Coin Suite. We headed for home having ordered one rug, with another under our arm. I was especially glad to support a local industry. The "braiders" at the Braided Rug Company use the best natural material – Mary mentioned a recent switch to wool from Canada since it contains no synthetics – and employ a method that has existed in New England since Colonial times. “For a foreigner, from Europe, I really like those rugs,” said Sven. “What could be more traditionally American?” I think he said it all, don’t you?