Business partners Chris Ersland and Gabe Anderson are covered with antique rugs.
Longtime collectors and design enthusiasts realized their passion as a physical store, The Antique Knot, at 74 Main St. in Stamford, earlier this year.
Ersland and Anderson discovered their mutual interest years ago in New York City, though each has said they’ve cultivated rug craftsmanship for decades.
“I was born and raised in Norway, and I grew up around design,” said Ersland, 34. “My parents were very interested in period design; it was a passion for them for many years. I met Gabe and was surprised to meet someone who had the same interests as me because it’s definitely a niche interest. It became a conversation starter for us.
“I’m from the upstate, but I’ve had family in Stamford and Roxbury for many years… and my family owned the building (in Stamford),” said Anderson, 30. “I was in town when Chris and I met. I have worked in and out of the tech industry, but told him that I had always had a passion for rugs. We started doing ecommerce on the side for a while and growing the business, but we really needed that brick and mortar to grow so that was the next step.
The Antique Knot, Anderson said, specializes in rugs and kilims, or flat and woven textiles, “of all sizes, from small doormats to palace rugs.”
“We’re trying to focus on floor coverings that include… all of the major weaving regions,” he said. “That’s all in the East – Persian, Caucasian, Turkish, Chinese, Turkmen and Afghan. And we specialize in vintage and antique rugs – rugs that are over 100 years old – but we add a few more vintage pieces, which are over 100 years old, but everything is hand-woven and made from vegetable dyes.
“What attracts us are the tribal patterns, so understanding the unique story of a piece when we buy it – the texture of the wool, how much life is left in it – and removing the layers from the origins of the piece,” “Anderson continued.” It’s kind of a really cool mystery to buy some of these heirloom pieces. “
Anderson said that although the renovation of the old National Bank building from 1890 took about seven years, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be catalytic.
“I’ve been riding since 2005… and it never occurred to me that I would move to Stamford until the pandemic,” he said. “It really inspired me to move here with my wife and look for retail space. “
The age of the 5,000-square-foot building, according to Anderson and Ersland, suited their purposes.
“We’re trying to make it a destination,” Ersland said. “The space is designed to look like a museum and each major weaving region has its own room, so it’s like a journey through geographic and artistic expression. It is an interesting experience for everyone, even for those who are not interested in rugs.
“We basically opened on May 3… and it’s akin to a museum-quality exhibit or store,” echoed Anderson. “You don’t really see any carpet stores anymore, it’s all online and we try to be just rugs – no furniture, no antiques – so it’s a unique thing and a lot of locals see us as a museum rather than a store. . “
True to the museum-inspired spirit of The Antique Knot, Anderson said, educating clients is a priority.
“Everything here is ours,” he said. “We have found everything over many decades to get to where we are today. From birth I loved rugs, so I had the opportunity to check out a lot of carpet auctions and textile museums when I was young and in New York because, for me, it was art.
“We’re trying to have our own collection that’s been curated, and we want to keep organizing that,” Anderson continued. “We clean all of our pieces and do appraisals and, if we see pieces that we think can be added to the collection, we will buy. We have immense knowledge… and I am drawn to the unique history of these pieces, so we are still in the process of acquiring and educating… whether it is the modern collector, the old collector, the people who love rugs or those who do not know rugs. . “
Customers, Anderson said, are a mix of curious locals and visiting carpet lovers.
“We’ve had a constant influx of people wanting to come and understand what we’re doing and why we’re here, but everyone is really grateful that all of these new businesses are coming to Stamford,” he said. “I was doing this from my apartment in New York with Chris and, going from that point to having a real website and Etsy to learning how to put it online in a retail store, we sold rugs across the States- United and as far as Japan and Europe.
“(In Stamford) it’s definitely a mix of locals who have a passion or want a rug and the downstate crowd (of) transplants or side owners… or the designer’s approach, because we sell to interior designers; it’s an important component of our business, but we want to continue to develop the retail component, ”continued Anderson. “Right now we’re word of mouth, but we want that regional component – from Westchester to Cooperstown. “
The Antique Knot is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday to Sunday.
For more information, visit theantiqueknot.com or follow @theantiqueknot on Instagram, where Ersland and Anderson provide weekly previews of pieces added to the store.