of Colorado Springs
Max Epstein, proprietor
Oriental Rugs … Hand-knotted Persian and other high-quality rugs
Framed Watercolor Paintings
Objects of Art … limited selection of highly decorative pieces
Interior Design Services including:
– varying levels of service, fair prices
– delivery and placement of rugs with correct padding
– furniture placement
– picture hanging
– full-spectrum lighting
Welcome to my website!
If you want real art (including in the rugs) and true classic taste, then I can be at your service. I am mainly an art dealer, but I can assist with interior design – including furniture and upholstery questions, room design and etc., on request.
Regarding the art of oriental rugs, I can confidently recommend specifics. Certain rugs are actually true great art – including the high level of craft involved. And they are also very practical, because a good rug is designed to be walked on, and walked on a lot. (Of course, the rug should have the appropriate padding based on the type of rug and floor.) The better the quality of the wool … including the way it is spun … and the better the construction or “weave”, then the greater the dirt and stain resistance, and durability. With normal care, good rugs retain their beauty and last for generations. In my current stock, I have several highest-quality new productions, and I have access to many more.
I have been associated with the rug business for more than 20 years, and I have contacts to get different types of hand-knotted rugs, including antiques. These rugs are mostly not cheap … if you are looking for price, this is not for you; but I do strive to have fair prices. I can assist you in obtaining high value rugs – that is rugs of the highest quality with the best colors and designs. If you are a rug collector, I can assist you with purchasing antiques or with foam washing service to maintain the rugs. (The foam washing service applies to all rugs.)
I also offer honest full service (included in the prices) which includes obtaining the proper padding (possible charge to cover that cost), delivery of the rug(s) and setting them with the pads. If you desire, at delivery I can give free design advice and assist with furniture placement. It is customary that no rug sale is complete until you see the rug in your house and are satisfied. Trade-ins are possible.
I am also selling my collection of Wes Carlson paintings plus some other paintings.
I also have some high-art antiques and other decorative pieces available for sale.
Please enjoy looking through my website.
Call me for a no-obligation free consultation
Max Epstein … dba. Classic Interiors
or e-mail questions or comments to
Serving the Colorado Springs and South Denver areas
Hand-knotted vs “handmade”
Often rugs are called “handmade” but that does not necessarily mean that they are hand-knotted. “Handmade” often refers to a process called tufting, where the wool (or even synthetic) yarn is looped on a foundation that is then glued from the back (and then covered). This is obviously very different from the craft of weaving which involves a loom (which serves to hold the foundation as it is being woven) and the knotting of the spun wool yarn, knot-by-knot, without the use of any glue. There are also “machine-made” rugs that vary is quality and are not valued as art.
Wool vs synthetic. Techniques of the craft.
Synthetics and low-quality wool are not as dirt and stain resistant as good wool, and there are major differences in the look and feel of a good-quality wool hand-knotted rug. There are many different types and qualities of wool. The natural colors of sheep are brown, fawn, yellow, black, gray and white. Why is good wool so dirt and stain resistant? Wool is the finest fiber from the coat of sheep. Technically, it is not considered hair because unlike hair it is has a solid core and the outside of the fiber is covered with microscopic “scales” which cause adherence when the fibers are spun together. Most important are the crafts of spinning the wool into strands and the plying of the strands together – in the opposite direction of the spin – to create the usable wool yarn. This wool yarn is then boiled in the dye solution for hours in order for the wool get the color. (If the natural color is wanted, then it is still boiled, but without dye.) It is then hung to dry and is ready to use. The wool is knotted on a foundation (usually made of cotton strings of varying thicknesses) as the weaver looks at the laid-out design. The foundation is held in place on a loom. This type of loom only serves to allow construction of the foundation and hold it in place during weaving. The whole process – of the row-by-row weaving of the foundation, and the knot-by-knot construction of the pile – is done entirely by hand. After this construction of the rug, it is then finished on the sides, and the pile is cut to a uniform height.
Good wool fibers contain high levels of natural lanolin which is also key to dirt and stain resistance. The lanolin also gives the wool its natural luster, which, on quality rugs, is still beautiful after a hundred years or more, including having been washed several times over the years. Most spills such as food or wine will not stain good wool. In fact they are surprisingly easily cleaned away with a rag with water (and maybe a little soap). Spots that are grease-based may need some solvent to be removed. There is a correct technique to spot cleaning which is very simple and which I explain with every sale (along with a sheet listing which solvents are used for specific spots). Generally, just regular vacuuming keeps a good wool rug looking new.
Talking about prices
Great examples of semi-antique (60-80 years old) and antique (over 80 years old) rugs in excellent condition are available,and are sometimes more costly than new productions; but that depends on the quality and condition as well as the intrinsic art value.
There has been a continuation and revival of the original processes of this high craft and art, so that new rugs made to antique standards – of weave quality, wool quality and naturally-derived dyes – are still produced, but in very limited quantity.And they are now difficult to purchase.
Besides my small stock, there are inventories of rugs already with merchants. As an expert in this field, and an interior designer, I can help you select both what you like, as well as authenticate the weave, the colors and the designs in terms of the value of the rug. With proper guidance, you get what you pay for, both in pure quality and in artistic value.
Genuine artistic value, but also unmatched practical value
We know great art when we see it – it is beautiful and inspiring. The ancient motifs and new inspired or interpreted designs, along with the colors and combinations of colors speak for themselves, making it very apparent which pieces will retain value. But what makes them even more valuable is their practicality – in that they are almost indestructible and highly dirt and stain resistant. Because of the essential nature of properly spun good quality wool, along with the quality and techniques of the weave, there is unmatched dirt-resistance and durability. With normal light care such as vacuuming, and rare foam washing – a technique using the correct brush and carpet shampoo churned to a foam which is used to clean the rug, done by our company and others, these rugs will maintain their natural beauty for generations. As with any great art, the pleasure and inspiration is in seeing it every day. But with many rugs, there is also the benefit of the actual feel of the wool on the bare foot. I will not steer you wrong. I am certain of what I buy and sell.
Place of business
I live in Colorado Springs, but I don’t have a store. For my main business of decorating with rugs and art (and interior design) your home is the best place of business. (Your local sales tax will apply.) If you wish to meet me for the first time in a public place, I would be happy to do that. A trusting relationship is essential. Please call me or e-mail.
I strongly believe that Wes Carlson is a master of composition, color and light. His paintings, including the ones that I am offering, are high-level art. They pass the test of great art. I purchased these paintings from the artist himself, who visited my house several times in the mid to late 1990s along with his latest works. In those few years I bought about 20 paintings. Wes has since remained a private family man, and, it seems to me, has not lent himself much to “promotion” or mass production. But that doesn’t diminish the value of his paintings. It is my contention, and I am not alone, that his work does have great value. The quality of the colors, the compositions, the quality of the light, and the subjects all add up to some fine works of art. Art is not about name-dropping artist’s names … to me it is all about the art itself! But, by way of some background, here is a reprint from of an article (c. 2012) mentioning Wes Carlson:
For the Carlsons, art is a family affair. Hughes Gallery will be hosting local artist Jane Carlson and her son, Wes Carlson, in their first joint gallery show. The show, titled “Jane and Wes Carlson, Two Generations,” will open on Monday, Feb. 20 from 6-8 p.m. The show will continue Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. There have been artists in Jane and Wes’ family at least as far back as the Civil War, when their ancestor David Claypool Johnston painted President Lincoln’s portrait.
Wes Carlson lives in Massachusetts. He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City, and then continued his education at the Museum School of Fine Art in Boston. While his mother influenced his earlier work, he has since found a style of his own. His vibrant paintings have won a collection of prizes from shows across the nation.
The Russian paintings were purchased from the artist on his visit to Manhattan in 1991. The Fisherman’s Wharf painting was purchased in San Francisco in 1976. Stephanie Canizares happened to be a neighbor of mine. She and her husband (Orlando, a renowned dermatologist) were originally from the tropics. I admired her paintings that graced the walls of their house (and also some local public buildings). Her work has a unique minimalist and beautiful character. This painting was purchased at her exhibit in Mamaroneck, NY in the early 1990s.
My mother’s family were British. My maternal grandmother purchased some of these fine pieces – especially the Royal Dalton antiques, and the silver – on a visit to England in the 1960s. Both my mother and father loved to search for and sometimes buy antiques. Thus the Satsuma masterwork set and the bronze pieces. I also like to buy and sell beautiful decorative pieces. Please see the Price Lists for detailed information.
I have worked in the furniture and rug retail business in Westchester County, NY for many years, and have seen a lot. Interior design came natural to me. I have a good eye for classic style and quality. I can assist you as much or as little as you want. Prices for my services are always fair and reasonable and can be discussed at the time of service.