Last week at the D&D Building in New York, as part of the Spring Market and NYCxDesign Week celebrations, Luxe Interiors + Design editor-in-chief Pamela Jaccarino got together with industry veterans Bunny Williams, Marshall Watson and Jennifer Post to talk about rugs.
It was standing room only in the brand-new Doris Leslie Blau showroom on the sixth floor, and custom rug designer Susan Izsack, who according to the panelists has taught them more about rugs than anyone else, introduced the discussion.
Izsack first thanked the designers for their constant commitment to custom design work and to Doris Leslie Blau, ”because a rug company could not exsist without the beautiful minds of designers,” she said. Then, Jaccarino began to field questions to the panel.
While flipping through a slideshow of works by all three designers, the panel focused in on the rugs and how they can stand out as a true work of art in a room, and also make or break a room.
All panelists agreed that they begin their design process with the rug. “The rug is the foundation of the room,” said Watson.
“It really sets the mood of the room,” added Williams. “Whether it’s an antique or a modern rug, once you choose it, it really decides the design direction of the space."
Post added that since a custom rug can take approximately six to eight months to complete, it’s a key component of the room and really is the core.
Jaccarino joked that there is a lot of pressure on the rug in a room, “It has to not only look good, but feel good too!” she said. She then went on to ask how the designers start the process of choosing or creating a custom rug.
“Climate really affects the choice,” said Williams. “It always starts with ‘Where am I?’ If it’s a warm climate I may go with a flat weave or a cotton rug, because they are cooler. But, In New York City I may choose a heavy wool rug.”
The panelists then tackled one of Jaccarino’s most pressing questions, “Should the furniture be on or off the rug?”
Watson described a carpet as the glue that holds the room together, and he doesn’t mind if the furniture is off of it. “When the furniture is off the rug, it makes it more of an art piece in the center of the room,” he said.
Post added that she prefers the furniture to be off the rug, since it looks more natural that way. “When everything is on the rug and it is perfectly placed, it can look a bit stiff,” she said.
Williams added that the size of the rug really does matter. “If you have a really small room, using a big rug will make the room look bigger,” she said. “If you have a really large room you can use two rugs and break it up a bit. But, people often make the mistake of using a small rug in a small room and it makes it look like a postage stamp."
Watson mentioned the materials that Doris Leslie Blau offers, one of them being aloe, which 'blew his mind.'
“There are so many different weaves and fibers,” said Williams. “Susan has really taught me so much. After doing a collection with Doris Leslie Blau I realized that with so many different weaves the same design can turn into three different rugs. I didn’t even recognize the pattern on some of mine anymore, it’s incredible.”
“I love the yin and the yang,” said Williams. “There is something so unexpected about a traditional home with a modern rug or an antique rug in a traditional home— the rug will just pop."