Two years later it was time to make a decision: could they turn this hobby
into a business that would support their family? They took the plunge, starting
out with an e-commerce website. During that period, online platforms such
as Chairish and eBay took on a whole new identity, Melissa explained, forcing
Old New House to evolve as well. They began taking on more inventory, and
knew they were going to have to find another place to store it other than their
garage. They found an abandoned barn located behind the storefront they
would eventually call their own on Katonah Avenue in Katonah, N. Y.
They found the town (where they also live) to be quite supportive of local
businesses, with a very welcoming, approachable culture. The zoning board
gave the Dilmaghanis the green light to allow customers to come and buy
pieces in the barn by appointment.
“Manhattan and Brooklyn people were coming up and finishing their trans-
actions in person,” Melissa explained. “We realized there was local interest and
the location was convenient enough for those customers as well, so when the
shop that we’d always adored became available it was a dream come true.”
They celebrated Old New House’s grand opening in September 2016.
And what started as just a hobby with only five rugs has now grown to an
inventory of over 1,000, about 35 source vendors including other
vintage shops and retired rug sellers, and both an online and physical
retail presence for their brand. At approximately 1,100 square feet, the
store houses a small percentage of rugs (most remain in the barn), as
they hope people will still search out their favorite on the website, and
then it can be retrieved. Customers will find in the shop custom furniture
pieces the couple has created together, as well as decorative items
such as Moroccan poufs, handmade pillows and, their personal
favorite: felt flags.
A large majority of their customer base online is made up of interior
designers, and they are excited to see how that will translate in their retail
shop. They can accommodate custom orders and searches, and have also
sourced and installed one piece “show-stopper” rugs for boutique hotels
“I feel like a rug has a soul, because it’s lived such a long life,” Melissa
said. “It’s so interesting to think of the life/lives that happened on it. When
I met Dave, I didn’t understand rugs. But once you start seeing how much a
rug can change a room, you get it.”
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ABOVE The Dilmaghanis decided to keep the shop open and airy.
Customers can can take a look at 2x3 sized sample rugs, most of
which have larger versions stored in the barn behind the store.
OPPOSITE A few of a their favorite things: felt flags that represent location; custom made
pillows by Melissa, created from leftover rug pieces. Old New House doesn’t forget
about the kids either, with children’s room decor and toys.