As creative director for Stark Carpet, Ashley Stark Kenner draws from fashion trends and translates them into luxurious carpets; she joined the Washington Post Home Front recently for an online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.
Q: Please comment about the kind of rugs to put in powder rooms, baths, and hallways. What is the trend? In a center hall colonial, where the hardwood shows scuffs, is a runner appropriate? Is it seasonal? Also, where to have area rugs cleaned?
A: In a powder room I would recommend a sisal or natural fiber rug; you can never go wrong with those. I would stay away from putting a rug or carpet into a bathroom because of the moisture. The rug will rot and mold. I would stick with a simple bath mat. If you are trying to hide an unattractive tile, the only solution would be an indoor outdoor rug. I see the trends for powder rooms either being a sisal or a vintage Oriental rug. As for hallway runners, they are always advised to help protect your floors and provide comfort and a sound barrier. A runner is not seasonal and can look great year round. You should be able to find a reputable rug cleaner in any city; just look for online reviews before choosing.
Q: What do you see the big color trends being in carpeting? I’m tired of neutrals.
A: While neutrals are timeless, color has made a big comeback in the fashion and home industries. At Stark this coming season, we have some incredible stronger colored rugs and carpet. You may have read that Pantone has named emerald green the color of the year. To compliment that color we recommend more neutral tones to balance out the strength and impact of the green. Other colors such as navy and grey have been hugely popular.
Q: I’m about to redecorate my living room and can’t decide whether to use a carpet or area rug. I have wood floors that are OK, but I don’t love them. Do you think I should cover the whole floor up or redo the floors and use an area rug?
A: There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s a personal choice. I use both wall-to-wall and area rugs. It depends on the project and budget. You might consider a sisal wall-to-wall and then layer an area rug over it for a punch color or to add depth to the room. If budget is a concern you could go with a very large area rug that would cover almost all of the wood floor. I would recommend keeping a minimum of one foot of wood border all the way around.
Q: Do you have some specific suggestions for the pads we should purchase for wall-to-wall carpet? I now live in a fairly rural area and find that sales people here are not well trained. There’s a lot of information on the Internet but there must be some basic criteria. Would really appreciate some pointers.
A: We at Stark recommend a 40-ounce pad for wall-to-wall carpeting.
Q: What’s the best way to incorporate a Sisal rug into a room?
A: Sisal is great because it is so versatile. You can incorporate it into most any room. It can help balance very formal rooms by grounding them. And in more casual settings it can give a very tailored, clean look. Some people like to add an area rug over the sisal to give a layered look which is very popular right now.
Q: I’m looking for paint for two separate parts of house. First is the stairway/landing/hall for a walkup third floor. The area gets tons of afternoon sunlight and I was thinking of a wheat color. Second is a bathroom with a good deal of white tile but also some forest green tile on floor/vanity. I was thinking a very light gray or light yellow but am open to other suggestions.
Jura Koncius: How about Benjamin Moore Golden Honey or Honed White by Sherwin-Williams or Martha Stewart’s Gingerroot for the upstairs hall? For the bathroom with the forest green tile, I might suggest Benjamin Moore Glass Slipper or Benjamin Moore Horizon or Farrow & Ball Skimming Stone.
Q: Which rug styles or patterns enhance a small space?
A: A large-scale pattern in a small room can make the room appear larger. Also, depending on your light situation, color can help enhance the space. People tend to think a dark color will make the room seem smaller but actually it can help give the space depth.
Q: How often should you have your good carpets professionally cleaned?
A: I recommend professionally cleaning good carpets and rugs once a year or when soiled. Do not try to spot clean; always call a professional.
Q: My rowhouse is brick painted red and the trim is white. The door is white-primed steel, and I’d like to paint it something bright and fun, but am worried that anything other than navy or dark green will clash with the red. Do you think dark or bright? Any colors to recommend? Should I do the trim too?
Jura Koncius: I have heard good things about Sherwin-Williams Duration exterior latex paints. As for your front door, you have so many choices and pretty much everything would be fine with red brick. I like yellow or French blue doors. I would leave the trim white. Ride around your neighborhood and scout out what houses like yours have done with their doors and trim.