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Ashley Stark Kenner is creative director for the carpet division at Stark, the international home furnishings company. Here is her advice for tackling decorating challenges at home.
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 can you have area rugs cleaned?
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 are the big color trends in carpeting?
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 complement 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 okay, 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?
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 boarder all the way around.
Q. Do you have some specific suggestions for the pads 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.
At Stark we recommend a 40-ounce pad for wall to wall carpeting.
Q. I’m looking for paint for two separate parts of house. The 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 (and we are not retiling). I was thinking a very light gray or light yellow, but I 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. What type of carpeting/rug would you think is best for a nursery? We want something soft enough that the baby could be on the floor itself. Which should be done first – flooring/carpeting, or painting the walls?
Definitely paint the walls first so you don’t ruin the carpet. The best thing is to put wall-to-wall wool carpet in a nursery. I recommend that to all of my friends and clients because there is no danger of a child tripping on the edge of a rug. Also wool is the best option because it can be easily cleaned and is very soft.
Q. Which rug styles or patterns do you recommend for enhancing a small space?
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?
I would 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 row house is brick painted red (came that way, sadly), and so far the trim is white. The door is plain old 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? What brands of exterior paint do you like?
Jura Koncius: I have heard good things recently about Sherwin-Williams Duration exterior latex paints. They are supposed to be terrific and long-wearing. 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. It will help seal your decision.
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