4 Design Tips We Discovered After Working On John D. Rockefeller’s New York Apartment and The Oval Office In The White House

With decades of experience in interior decorating and as living room designers, we feel well-placed to help you figure out how to maximize your room’s potential. In fact, we’ve done just that for some very prominent people. Find out more, with a few of our tips, in this article.

 

It all started with a client in New York.

We received a call from a client who was preparing to marry the man who owned New York’s largest apartment. At 37,000 square feet, it was a behemoth of an apartment that had formerly belonged to John D. Rockefeller.

Our client wanted us to help bring a new touch of style to the apartment. Working alongside Mark Hampton, one of New York’s foremost decorators, we got to work. Mark took responsibility for the overall look and feel, while we handled the rugs.

It was when we met Mr. Hampton that we made an interesting discovery. Hampton was also working with George H. W. Bush on some decorating work in the White House. Our work with this client had opened the door to working with the President of the United States. It was an opportunity that we wanted to grab with both hands.



Our Work in the White House

Hampton told us an interesting story about a White House tradition that we hadn’t heard about before. Apparently, it’s tradition for a President who has left office to leave a gift for the new President.

Ronald Reagan had left the gift of a rug for the incoming President Bush. But there was a problem. The Bushes just weren’t the biggest fans of the rug that Reagan had chosen. Worse yet, the rug dominated the entire Oval Office.

The President wanted a replacement, so we got to work. Little did we know that our rug would become a source of controversy between two first ladies.

We installed the rug and immediately had to deal with the media. The press wanted to know why the Bushes had replaced the gift that the Reagans had left behind. All we could tell them was that the Bushes weren’t the biggest fan of the rug.

Our exact quoted ended up in a newspaper report:

 

We didn’t think much of it at first. We were just happy to have worked with the President of the United States on an interior decorating project. Besides, our new blue rug gave the room a brand new feel that the previous beige number just didn’t quite manage.

But as it turned out, the replacement of the rug sparked a supposed war of words. According to the media, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush were at loggerheads because of the replacement. Our career-changing interior decorating job had sparked a mini-war between two of the country’s most powerful women.

We still think that the new rug that we installed gave the room an extra level of gravitas. We just didn’t expect all of the controversy that it caused.

Swimming in the Sea of Tranquility

 

They say that any publicity is good publicity. Our work in the White House may have gotten some media attention, but it also opened the door to new projects.

That’s what led us to Tranquility. A truly stunning property, Tranquility took up 50,000 square feet of space. The property also offered 210 acres of land to the lucky owner.

As usual, our area of interest was the interior. We entered the house to find an absolutely amazing staircase that was a true replica of the staircase on the Titanic ship.

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that the work ended up being a “titanic” undertaking.

The house’s owners contracted us to install rugs throughout the property. They also gave us a specific request – no seams.

Luckily, we hand-make our designer rugs at our own factory, so it was a request that we were more than able to fulfill. The rugs we installed had leafy borders and a gorgeous damask field. They really added an additional touch of elegance and class to the property.

It was no surprise to us when the property went on the market with an asking price of $100 million. It eventually sold for about $60 million, and has likely increased in value in the years since.

Choosing the Right Rug for Your Home

 

You may wonder why we’ve gone into so much detail about some of the major projects that we’ve worked on over the years.

We want to set your mind at ease and let you know that we know more about contemporary rugs than most. These projects weren’t just a lot of fun for us to work on. They were also recognition of the skills that we bring to the table.

That’s why you should trust the advice we have to offer when it comes to choosing the right rug for your property. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re looking to get a rug installed.

 

(Rug Design)

 

 

Tip #1 – Choose the Right Material

 

It’s not just the visual quality of the rug that you have to keep in mind. The material used to make it is also extremely important. In fact, we recommend picking a material before you start thinking about colors and patterns.

Think about how you’ll use the rug once it’s installed. Is it a purely decorative piece that will see very little footfall? Will you rest furniture on it? Or, do you have children and pets who are going to run all over it every single day?

The answers to those questions determine the type of material you pick for your rug. Here’s a rundown of some of the options:

  • Wool. One of the most popular rug materials, wool gives the rug a nice and cozy feeling. It’s an excellent choice for large rooms because it prevents heat from leaving through the floorboards. Plus, it’s durable enough to withstand a lot of footfall. Wool also has some flame-resistant properties, though it’s not completely fireproof. The big downfalls to wool include an inability to handle acidic stains. If you spill a glass of wine on a wool rug, you’re going to face a big struggle getting it out. It can also shed, which may aggravate allergies in some people.
  • Wool Mixes. Mixing wool with another fiber, typically man-made, usually gets rid of the shedding problem. However, it also lowers the rug’s durability. The rug won’t fall apart in short order, but it won’t be as strong as 100% wool rugs. On the plus side, a wool mix rug keeps its shape better than a regular wool rug.
  • Jute. Another natural fiber, jute doesn’t have the same strength as wool. However, it has a rustic appeal that means it works well in traditional rooms. It’s also an ideal choice for a room with a lot of neutral colors. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of bunching your toes up in a soft jute rug.
  • Sisal. This natural fiber has a lot of strength, making it a good choice for rooms with heavy footfalls. It can also handle heavy furniture resting on it with ease. But it’s not a big fan of water. Spills have a habit of staining this material, so you may not want to drink while standing on it.
  • Polypropylene and Polyester. Both of these materials are man-made. They offer better stain resistance than wool and are usually quite tough. However, both tend to lose their shape slightly if you place or drag furniture on top of them. Polypropylene is also a flammable material, so it’s not recommended for rooms with fireplaces.

 

As you can see, each material has benefits and drawbacks. Think about the room and your own needs. The material you choose influences the look, feel, and price of the rug. As always, we’re here to provide advice if you’re unsure.

Tip #2 – Choose the Right Color

 

Once you’ve made a material decision, it’s time to think about the rug’s color. Your first port of call is to think about the colors that you like. After all, you’re going to live with this rug for years. If the colors don’t appeal to your eye, you’re going to end up hating the rug. Make a list of the colors you like most.

From this list, choose a set of colors that match well with the existing furniture in the room. For example, if the room already features a lot of color, you may want to choose something more neutral to offset it. But a patterned and colorful rug may serve as a great centerpiece in a neutral room.

It all comes down to whether you want the rug to blend into its surroundings or stand out from them. How the colors contrast with the ceiling, walls, and floor may also play a part in your decision.

Tip #3 – Size Matters

 

Have you ever seen a small rug in a large room?

It looks completely out of place. When it comes to rugs, size really does matter.

The size of your rug depends on the size of your room. However, you generally don’t want to leave more than 10 inches of space on each side of the rug. This may change if you’re layering, of course.

As a general rule, bigger is better. A small rug looks strange in the center of a large room. In fact, it pulls your focus onto the rug so much that you almost forget how much space the room has to offer.

Tip #4 – Think About Maintenance and Pile

 

Every rug requires some maintenance. There’s no getting around it. The question you have to ask is how much maintenance do you want to do?

The material and the pile of the rug determine how tough it is to clean.

A low pile rug with a flat weave is much easier to vacuum. It’s usually sturdier too, which means you can take it outside and beat the dust off it.

High pile rugs feel more comfortable underfoot and have a luxuriousness to them. But they’re also much more difficult to clean. In some cases, you’ll have to send it off to a professional to get it cleaned. They’re also more likely to wear out under large amounts of footfall.

Be honest with yourself about how much effort you’re going to put into maintenance. There’s no wrong answer here. We can help you to create a rug that suits your space and needs.

The Final Word

As living room designers, we’ve installed custom rugs for some of the most influential and affluent people in the world. Now, we want you to enjoy that same level of quality service. If you’re ready to give your space a brand new spark, we recommend that you do the following:

We’re here to bring your interior design dreams to life.