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Continued: Upholstery, hardwood, rugs: Don't throw it, fix it!

  • Article by: CHRISTY DESMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 30, 2015 - 10:52 AM

The only thing Luhm’s refuses to work on is newer furniture. “It’s just not worth it,” said Luhm. “Unfortunately, we’re turning into a throwaway society. I look around at the furniture they’re selling today, even the expensive furniture. Is it going to be around 100 years from now? No. Probably not even 20.”

Of course, Luhm makes an exception for custom furniture by artisan woodworkers. “Now that’s very fine furniture,” he said emphatically.

936 33rd Av. NE., Mpls.; 612-781-3662;



From artisan creations to Turkish antiques, the best rugs are as lovely and decorative as a work of art. “But they don’t get the same treatment as, say, a painting, a mural or an antique jar,” said Sam Navab, co-owner of American Rug Laundry in Minneapolis and a prominent purveyor of Oriental rugs. “Unfortunately, we put rugs on the floor and we walk on them.”

But there’s good news: Rugs are super resilient. “Generally speaking, they don’t need a lot of care,” said Navab. Rug-dealers are known to counsel against cleaning. But Navab suggests professional cleaning every two to three years, depending on traffic levels. “Handmade rugs get better with proper cleaning,” he argued.

More good news from the world of rugs: They’re eminently repairable. No need to trash a tattered floor covering, especially if it’s one-of-a-kind or handmade. “A little bit of care goes a long way to ensuring the value,” said Navab. “We handle anything — from what I would call small mending jobs to complete restorations.”

Replacing a couple tassels or simply reinforcing the edges, to protect against future unraveling? “We call that mending,” said Navab.

Then there’s restoration — patching up a rug that’s badly torn or riddled with holes. “If the rug is valuable, if the rug is unique and antique, then we would suggest restoration,” continued Navab. Often the rug is rebuilt using cutouts from a similar rug. “We have an extensive rug collection, where things have been cut into pieces, and we use those to patch. But sometimes the rug is of such value that we deem it necessary to send it overseas.”

Does Navab’s business repair less expensive rugs, say, something from Ikea or the West Elm catalog? “Sometimes a machine-made rug is cleaned several times and the fringes are taken care because it has sentimental value,” said Navab. For these cases he usually suggests the occasional mending job.

He cannot, however, extract the chemical smell you get with a lot of store-bought rugs. “What you’re smelling is latex glue. It’s heated and applied to the back,” explained Navab. “We get calls all the time — ‘my rug smells like burned rubber.’ Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to correct that problem. It’s just in the rug.”

4222 E. Lake St., Mpls.; 612-721-3333;

Christy DeSmith • 612-673-1754

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