I name it The Rug. I personal one. So do two shut pals. A favourite cousin. A number of members of my group chat. Many, many social media acquaintances. Thousands upon 1000’s of individuals, the sort who go away opinions on retail web sites. In this fashion it’s like the house décor model of the horror movie “The Ring”: First you purchase The Rug, and 7 days later you uncover so has everybody else on the earth.
Tanya Underwood-Best and her husband, Tim Best, got here to The Rug by way of a circuitous route. They wished to journey, see the world, and introduce their two younger youngsters to completely different cultures. So when a instructing alternative opened up in Hong Kong for Mr. Best, 44, the household left their Philadelphia rowhouse behind.
The solely query: How to furnish their new condo on Repulse Bay with a cushty touchdown pad for his or her daughters, Winnie, four, and Lettie, eight, each aspiring ballerinas.
“I found the rug online once we were in Hong Kong, and actually bought it from Overstock U.S.,” mentioned Ms. Underwood-Best, 43, a author. “I couldn’t find anything local that wasn’t cheap Ikea or prohibitively expensive.”
As it seems, the rug she had shipped the world over has change into a staple in lots of American households, its development a seemingly natural phenomenon. The design, recognized mostly because the “Moroccan Trellis,” comes from Rugs USA, a company headquartered in New York, with distribution centers in New Jersey and California. Loosely inspired by handwoven vintage Berber rugs whose imperfections underscore their folk-art status, it’s available in 10 colors and 34 sizes from various home décor retailers like Wayfair, Overstock.com and Amazon, where it currently has more than 16,000 reviews.
Krishna Gil Marshall of Santa Monica, Calif., said she first noticed the rug when an ad popped up on Instagram. “I follow a lot of dogs, designers and travel accounts, which is probably where the algorithm got me,” said Ms. Gil Marshall, who is also in her early forties. “The funny thing is that I try to not be too cookie cutter with my décor and get unique pieces from Etsy.”
When Sarah Tackett purchased the rug with her boyfriend for their apartment in Brooklyn, she said, “We were aware that we were buying some mass-market version of a nice rug that is common among Instagram influencers but it became a running joke that there are only four rugs in the world, anyway.”
One of those Instagram design curators, Amanda Terry, who goes by the handle @therusticredfox, calls her style “modern farmhouse.” She bought the rug on Amazon in gray because, with two cats, two dogs and two young children she needed something durable that still had personality.
That type of personality can be found in a one-of-a-kind vintage Beni Ourain Berber rug, made from the soft wool of sheep grazed in the high Atlas Mountains and popularized by design publications like Domino and Elle Decor, but it costs thousands of dollars. The Rugs USA version is available for around $100.
Speaking from the cargo terminal of Kennedy Airport, where he was collecting an incoming shipment of vintage carpets, Nathan Ursch said he understood the appeal of the mass-produced version that’s become one Rug USA’s all-time best-selling designs.
Mr. Ursch, who with his wife, Brin Reinhardt, owns the boutique carpet store Breuckelen Berber, specializes in the sale of vintage Berber rugs. “People are always ‘discovering’ them,” he said. “In the ’50s, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright used Berber rugs to soften the severe lines of their work. The rugs are warm but imperfect and create a contrast.”
Omri Schwartz, the general manager at Nazmiyal Collection in Manhattan, sees little aesthetic appeal in The Rug. “What makes Berber rugs from all 17 tribes so special is their lack of symmetry,” he said. “You get a sense of the artisan’s personality in the variations. The more you look at it, the more it starts to evolve. This version — it’s flat, there’s no sense of movement. It’s made to be bought and then disposed of.”
Koorosh Yaraghi, the founder and president of Rugs USA, unsurprisingly, had a different take. The appeal of The Rug is that “it’s an approachable Moroccan-inspired motif,” he wrote in an email, “with a one-of-a-kind look that complements any interior design style, at an accessible price point and made with a power-loomed synthetic material which makes it durable for high-traffic spaces and everyday use.”
In other words, it’s meant to capture the unique spirit of a handcrafted textile, something acquired perhaps, in an adventurous trip to an open-air market. But it’s also designed to be discreet enough to blend in with the furniture and take the punishment of kids and pets.
While The Rug may lack many of the qualities of its reference, it does include interpretations of traditional Berber fertility symbols. “I would just say be careful,” Mr. Ursch warned the harried parents who make up the rug’s primary demographic. “There could be some unexpected babies in your future.”