Home Decorating Talking custom rugs with designer Claire Brody

Talking custom rugs with designer Claire Brody

The pros and cons of a custom rugs--and how to get it right when you order.

Austin-based designer Claire Brody (@claire_brody) and her family recently moved into a Spanish Revival home that they are in the process of renovating. Brody is known for approachable style that mixes vintage and new—and high and low. For the upstairs portion of the home, Brody decided to go with custom rugs in all the rooms. She chose Dash & Albert’s Panthera for the stairway, hall, and three bedrooms. Here’s how and why she chose to go bold and custom:

On why she went custom…

“If the budget allows, I always push my clients to go for custom rugs. A custom cut carpet is always going to look better. If you think about  it, it makes sense to have a rug custom cut for the room size versus just forcing a random rug size to work in a room.”
“With a straight stairwell, you might be able to get away with an off-the-shelf option, but for our spaces it was either a custom runner or no runner at all.”
“I wanted the rugs to really be the foundation for the rooms, which is why I almost covered the floors entirely. In the bedrooms, we had the rugs made to leave only a six-inch perimeter of hardwood exposed around the edge of the room, which is a more formal way to style rugs.”

On how to get a custom rug right…

“Get samples! I’d recommend this with any area rug—really any textile—even if you’re not going custom. You should definitely get a sample first because Internet images are sometimes really off. Samples were especially important in this case where I pretty much covered my entire house in the rug. I need to see and feel it in person first before committing to it.”
“Mull it over for a while. With a huge decision like this, I need to sit on it for a few weeks before committing.”
“If you’re going custom, have a professional measure for and install the rugs, especially on a staircase. I’m not a fan of really DIYing much of anything, especially when it comes to things like wallpapering or carpet installation, I think those jobs should be left to the professionals.”
“With Annie Selke rugs, you have the option to have the pad built into the rug, which is definitely the best way to go if you’re going custom.”

On what she chose..

“I was deciding between the Panthera and a solid, natural fiber like jute or sisal—so something really safe or really bold. I just went for it. I do a lot of experimenting with my own house versus my clients because I have a lot more confidence when I’m the one who is going to live with it.”
“The Panthera was kind of a scary decision just because it’s really bold, but if you were to see this leopard print in person, it just feels so refined. And because it’s made from wool, it reads more elevated.”
“Wool is not the cheapest option, but it’s definitely the best option. Plus, it’s just so soft underfoot and the material means the rug will last a lifetime.”

On decorating around a rug…

“In these designs the rugs were the first thing I chose for the room: All the spaces are built around the rugs.”

Set yourself up for success

  • Measure

    To help you visualize, “block out” the size of your ideal rug using painter’s tape.

  • Order Swatches

    To preview colors and styles in your space.

  • Add a Custom Rug Pad

    To protect your investment.

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