Cutting a Rug

Three Top Designers Chat Carpet with River Oaks Lifestyle

Article by River Oaks Lifestyle Staff

Photography by Courtesy of London Gray

Originally published in River Oaks Lifestyle

With longtime River Oaks area rug resource London Grey marking a decade at its Upper Kirby location (3600 Kirby Drive at Richmond), we sat down at the go-to boutique for premium, one-of-a-kind and custom pieces to get the perspective on pile from three, top Houston area designers.

What is it about a rug that makes it a key element of design?

According to Leslie Strauss, an interiors pro in Ladco's Resort Design Group, a Houston-based team known for their dazzling work in vacation hotspots ranging from Cabo to Telluride, “A rug can help define different areas within a room, such as seating vignette in a living room or a dining area in an open-concept space. They can also help to break large areas to create a more intimate feel.

Erin Hicks, who has built a following both for her Houston-centric cookbook series and her hospitality designs for restaurants such as Bayou City Seafood & Pasta, Rainbow Lodge and soon-to-open PostScript HTX at Arrive River Oaks adds, “Rugs are a dynamic and unifying element that provide color, texture and beneficial acoustical properties.”

Sought-after for her sophisticated interiors in both primary and secondary homes, Carrie Evans says, “A rug is the anchor of the room. It ties everything together, creating a warm, inviting and individualized space.”

What are the dos and don'ts to keep in mind when choosing a rug for a space?

Evans: It all depends on the lifestyle of the client and what they hope to achieve. Someone with pets or children should steer clear of silk, or any rugs with viscose. Natural fiber rugs are a good option for something less expensive and neutral, and they really never go out of style. I love when a client is willing to take a risk with a rug, because they can add an element of fun and unpredictability to a room.

Strauss: Do consider factors such as durability, ease of maintenance, comfort and suitability for the specific room. If the rug will be in a high-traffic area, choose a sturdy material such as wool, polypropylene, nylon or polyester. And always check the cleaning instructions. Do not use a vacuum with a rotating brush or beater bars, which can break the fibers and distort the pile; instead opt for a canister-style vacuum cleaner that primarily use suction to clean. Don’t skimp on rug pads – look for a felt or a felt and rubber mix that won’t stain or ruin your floors.

Hicks: Size definitely matters when it comes to rugs. In a dining room, make sure the rug is large enough to be able to comfortably pull out chairs. In a bedroom, king size beds need something at least 9 x 12 foot and queen beds shouldn’t be smaller than 8 x 10. And rugs should be at least 6 inches wider on each side of a sofa. Go bold and don’t be afraid of color, pattern and texture. Rugs can typically be replaced or relocated more easily than fine furniture.

What are your favorite rugs at the moment?

Hicks: I’m a huge fan of heirloom rugs, and lately I’m loving wool and silk textured and shaggy rugs. I’m also really drawn to the juxtaposition of a more traditional antique rug in a contemporary space.

Strauss: The clean lines, geometric patterns and a muted color palette of modern rugs are perfect for those who want to add a touch of contemporary style to their space. I love vintage Turkish Oushaks in muted hues in both traditional and contemporary homes. The “perfectly imperfect” pattern ads character without being overpowering.

Evans: I’m in love with the variety of modern rugs available now. I also love the opportunities that exist to customize a rug for particular spaces. I was over the ‘gray’ phase years ago, and it’s nice to see a trend back to fun, vibrant colors.

What’s an unexpected place or way to use a rug in a design?

Strauss: Using a rug as a wall hanging can create an eclectic, bohemian look. I’ve also used them to cover ottomans.

Evans: As much as I like to think outside the box, I don't want to see a rug on a wall, or at an angle, etc. As they say, ‘everything in its place.'

Hicks: Rug-upholstered ottomans plus floor and throw pillows are a fun touch. They can also be interesting as a headboard or divider.

What are your thoughts on custom wall-to-wall carpeting?

Evans: While I prefer hardwoods with rugs, there are so many fun patterns and colors in wall-to-wall now.

Hicks: I generally prefer modular carpet tiles if going wall-to-wall, but if you are a non-red-wine drinking person without pets or children (she laughs), I think custom wall-to-wall carpeting can be beautiful.

Strauss: I love wall to wall carpeting in bedrooms, closets, playrooms and home theaters. It acts as an insulator, keeping warm and cool air from escaping, absorbing sound and providing a soft surface to step on.

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