May 20, 2013

SISAL CARPETS


THE DECORATING STAPLE
THAT JUST WON'T GO AWAY...
SISAL!!
 photo phoebehoward_zps3888639d.jpg
(Source: Phoebe Howard)

In 1985 I went to work for Washington, DC's preeminent interior designer, the late Antony Childs.  I was totally overwhelmed by his (and still remain so today) extraordinary innate design talent.
Until then I'd never been exposed to multi-million-dollar decorating budgets or  seventeenth-century, gilded Louis Quatorze fauteuils covered in silk leopard velvet at $1,800 per yard...
But one resonating talent he had was mixing the precious with the not-so-precious and have it take your breath away. One element he used often which I'd never seen before then was Chinese Seagrass (aka: Sisal) carpet which has become amazingly ubiquitous and yet it remains the perfect floor covering in almost any space without looking "tired" or "done-to-death."  
In fact, sisal's been so popular the wool and nylon carpet manufacturers - recognizing a loss in market-share - came up with "sisal-look" carpets, which bombed because they look like cheap commercial carpet.... the whole point is ... it's natural, DUH!

The benefits of Sisal-type carpets are endless.
What type of sisal is best for your application?

HESSIAN
Europeans use this word generically for all the materials below 
_________________________________________

SEAGRASS
A grass that grows in shallow underwater beds in saltwater. Smooth fibers that are not porous so it resists most stains; an absolutely amazing material, but not many patterns to choose from; wears like iron and is perfect for homes with pets who need Depends!
 photo chineseseagrass_zpse623fda1.jpg
____________________________________________

COIR: 
Pronounced: Koy-er
A fiber made from coconut husks. Rough texture, stains moderately, hides dirt, wears well; is woven into interesting super flat-weave boucle patterns.
 photo 3_zpsacb6c7ad.jpg
______________________________________________

COIR & WOOL WEAVE: 
Coir fibers woven with goat-hair or wool to offer a softer, more tactile carpet; stains badly and it's impossible to get the dirt and traffic stains out of the wool fibers. Looks nice, but has few color choices, don't think a good overall choice. 
 photo coirandwool_zpse91d2f72.jpg
________________________________________________

SISAL: 
Pronounced: Sy-sul
A fiber from agave plants; has medium texture, is woven into wonderful patterns and designs; available in endless color choices.
 photo ds-seagrass1_zps66ee0adc.jpg
_______________________________________________

HEMP:  
Literally from "cannabis" plants; a by-product of the low-THC plant.  Is woven into usually simple weaves and  is great for chunky, more causal looks; can stain, and needs underlayment as it isn't rigid and moves around.
 photo jute_clay_2_zps8bb67713.jpg
______________________________________________

APPLE MATTING: 
Freshwater bull-rushes harvested along English canals; A beautiful, albeit expensive natural carpet. It's super chic and thick, but it isn't very flexible.
 photo applematting_zps45af1c98.jpg


Let's Do This....
(Carpet sample photos below the room photos are only to show you the texture and material used, not color.)
LIVING ROOMS
 photo 98a7a57b464029c36335d8847cb767631_zps8c86d6d9.jpg
(Source: Elle Decor)
 photo HEMP_zps0e402ee3.jpg
The Chinese seagrass area rug makes this grand room feel less-imposing while holding the grouping together



 photo pinterest_zps18a2df43.jpg
(Source: Matthew Patrick Smythe)
 photo chineseseagrass_zpse623fda1.jpg
Chinese Seagrass makes this "updated traditional" home look chic and doesn't interfere with the simplicity. 



 photo cn_imagesizesuzanne-kasler-01-living-room-h670_zps6ddcc802.jpg
(Source: Suzanne Kasler)
 photo ds-seagrass1_zps66ee0adc.jpg
Diamond pattern sisal gives this monochromatic room a subtle pattern. Perfect for rooms with access to the outdoors as stupid people will invariably walk in with chunks of dirt on their shoes -- but it wont bother this carpet at all!



 photo architectFrankGreenwald_zpsaf3d5d68.jpg
(Source: Frank Greenwald)
 photo 9_zpsc0ce1916.jpg
Apple matting in a contemporary space offers the perfect natural texture and feel - usurping the slick/frigid feeling.



 photo de88f75fbaaaa2b0e285cf04f7f67212_zps2b244d8f.jpg
(Source: Elle decor )
 photo 8_zpsf1fda891.jpg
Apple matting in this traditional apartment adds texture and 'layers' to a sophisticated feel.



 photo anngetty_zps563f1993.jpg
(Source: Ann Getty)
 photo HEMP_zps0e402ee3.jpg
Whaaaat? How many reds are in there??
She definitely needed a Chinese seagrass to balance this super swanky room fitted with elegant antiques and bright colors.
It takes the pretentious edge off... sorta



 photo JeffreyBilhuber3_zpsc7b1321e.jpg
(Source: Jeffrey Bilhuber)
 photo 9_zpsc0ce1916.jpg
Freekin' LOVE this room! Apple matting makes this super cheerful living room work because another colored pattern on the floor would look totally sucky; the matting doesn't compete for attention.



DINING ROOMS
 photo GILSHAFER_zpsb9401e87.jpg
(Source: Gil Shaffer)
 photo ds-seagrass1_zps66ee0adc.jpg
Mr. Traditional combines lovely English antiques with a diamond pattern sisal; wall-to-wall presumably to add visual space, but it's also good if you have crappy old floors
just cover that shit right on up.



 photo 211669251205890857_CxsQoLId_f_zps6d07b0dd.jpg
(Source: Hampton's Showhouse)
 photo 6_zpsef6294a5.jpg
A large-weave sisal adds warmth and masculinity to a sexy slightly feminine room with a cool palette.



 photo photo_zps18f56443.jpg
(Source: Elle Decor)
 photo rypr-sv2-sinn_im1_zpsb9f63988.jpg

Hemp installed wall-to-wall makes this space look much larger and adds a "lower-the-tone" element to an otherwise schmancy space.
It hides all kinds of dog hair, dustballs, cheeze-curl crumbs, etc.!



 photo PHEASANT_zps47a95c7f.jpg
(Source: Thomas Pheasant)
 photo 7_zps79ec8508.jpg
Pheasant did this handsome room about 14 years ago, and it still looks chic as shit! The carpet is a large, chunky-weave sisal.



FAMILY ROOMS & OFFICES
 photo pinterest7_zps186a2094.jpg
(Source: Pinterest)
 photo chineseseagrass_zpse623fda1.jpg
Wall-to-wall seagrass in an office is brilliant!
It hides EVERY-freekin'-THING! 
(You'll need a roller-mat under your desk chair tho)



 photo 1_toryburchsouthamptonvogue_zpse5df7231.jpg
(Source: Vogue)
 photo 11_zpsbb914a1c.png
Miss To-ray Burch has patterned sisal in her sunroom in the Hampton's which creates a simple background for a successful mish-mosh of other patterns, textures and colors.



 photo ff699f39e24e0a4c03e1e08cf02019fa_zps0fb8139d.jpg
(Source: Elle Decor)
 photo 5_zpsc6ddd795.jpg

Remeber that old-fashioned, cheap-shit apple-rush matting? 
Its da bomb now baby! Perfect thing in this high-tone sunroom. It offers the charm of a humble 'days-gone-by' carpet whilst adding texture and pattern to a casual, eclectic space.



STAIRWAYS & FOYERS
 photo pinterest5_zps7b3d9dbb.jpg
(Source: Pinterest)
 photo 6_zpsef6294a5.jpg
I'm sure it surprises you to see such an elegant foyer with sisal runners up the steps, but it's perfect!  It keeps it simple, hides the dirt of everyday traffic and brings the formality down.



 photo 11892386485811116_6tGtrw4J_c_zps9b178836.jpg
(Source Lauren Liess Interiors)
 photo HEMP_zps0e402ee3.jpg
My guess is ... this mid-century split-level had heinous floors so they painted the steps white and just covered the foyer floor completely. The woven sisal is bordered on the steps and installed wall-to-wall in the foyer which goes very well with the neutral palette. Cheap and chic, wham!



 photo 0547e9d0dbe04406a233395f9b8cee431_zps1c26aa0a.jpg
(Source: Photobucket)
 photo 6_zpsef6294a5.jpg
This 18th century home looks updated and smart as the sisal runner adds a casual note to the space without disturbing the classic feel.



BEDROOMS
 photo JeffreyBilhuber2_zpscb36956c.jpg
(Source: Jeffrey Bilhuber)
 photo chineseseagrass_zpse623fda1.jpg
This bedroom feels much larger thanks to the wall-to-wall carpeting, but the Chinese seagrass also makes it look very "now" as a wool needlepoint or fancy Oriental would look tres 90's and way granny-ish.



 photo cn_image_size_ad100-vicente-wolf-room-h670_zps2eb25f46.jpg
(Source: Vincente Wolf)
 photo 9_zpsc0ce1916.jpg
Apple matting adds texture and a natural element to this seriously clean-lined, well-edited bedroom.  Apple is smooth and soft on the feet too.



 photo joeruggerio_zps46aa20ef.jpg
(Source: Joe Ruggerio)
 photo chineseseagrass_zpse623fda1.jpg
This large bedroom has lots of "areas" and design elements to consider; the Chinese seagrass installed wall-to-wall makes the space flow visually and isn't a "design element" in the room.



 photo blackpinterest_zps458e9744.jpg
(Source: Pinterest)
 photo 16_zpsc1f80f22.jpg
A modern apartment opted for something smart and sophisticated so they chose black sisal, NICE!


HARD WORKING - HIGH TRAFFIC AREAS
 photo pinterest6_zps78641821.jpg
(Source: Pinterest)
 photo chineseseagrass_zpse623fda1.jpg
This narrow entrance hallway in this vacation home eliminates screaming about sandy feet, wet beach towels and wet dogs whilst creating a quieter hallway when your free-loading guests are resting.



 photo decorpad_zpse975b8a0.jpg
(Source: Decorpad)
 photo chineseseagrass_zpse623fda1.jpg
I have a custom sized Chinese seagrass in my own kitchen (not shown) and I can honestly say I think I'll always have seagrass because the floor always looks clean - even when it's filthy!!!  I simply brush the crumbs off the counter onto the seagrass and boom, no more crumbs!  You can spill oils, water, grease, anything and it always looks perfect! 
It's also great acoustically, so when you throw a temper-tantrum when your souffle flops - people won't wanna duck-n-cover...



 photo PHO-09Apr22-159046_zpsca502fc0.jpg
(Source: Washington Post)
 photo 3_zpsacb6c7ad.jpg
A hand-painted sisal wall-to-wall works perfectly in this laundry room, no more dusty tile, no worries if the soap-powder or a dirty diaper fall on it.  It absorbs noise so you can actually be in there doing something else while the machines rumble and gush.



(Source: Houzz)
 photo 12_zpscd3906bf.jpg
 This fun bathroom has a jute runner down the middle. It can't be hurt by water or toiletries that may drop on it. 
Plus, it has a "spa-ish" feeling underfoot, ooooh baby!



 photo pinterest2_zps9c77a06f.jpg
(Source: Photobucket)
 photo 3_zpsacb6c7ad.jpg
Sisal mats by the back door are perfect for homes with kids or animals. Easy to maintain, vacuum or shakeout out occasionally and you're good to go! If it does get ruined - order a new one from Pottery Barn.



HOW TO CHOOSE A BORDER
There are lots of ways to border a sisal carpet, but it needs a border as the natural fibers will unravel. The key is to make the border simple, not overshadow the simple material.
These below are simple cotton tape borders on sisal weaves and tapes chosen to blend in with the sisal.
 photo borders1_zpsf2e189ad.jpg
 photo binding2_zps60460031.jpg

For custom rugs, the corners should be mitred like below, not overlapped like above, it's just a better, more tailored look
 photo extrawidecanvas_tan_zps507bddce.png


This edge treatment below is called "surged" which is sewn with a high-power machine looped around the edge. 
Its pretty low-budge lookin' I think...jus sayin'
 photo surged_zpsfcfde70c.jpg



Oh hell no! Aint nobody got time for that!
NO PATTERNED TAPE BORDERS, it just looks cheap.
 photo black_zpsbe10e800.jpg



CUSTOMIZING A SISAL CARPET BY PAINTING IT
Want to dress up your carpet a bit? 
Select a pattern or border and stencil it on, easy as pie!

CLICK HERE AND LET MARTHA STEWART SHOW YOU HOW!
 photo collage2_zps2cb20b79.jpg
 photo collage1_zps3050b3a3.jpg


SISAL CARPET RESOURCES

Sisalrugs.com

Sisalcarpet.com

Overstock.com

PotteryBarn.com

Fibreworks.com


You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help

No comments:

OUTDOOR SHOWERS

ABLUTING al FRESCO! Oh Muriel this water's sooo cold.... Oh Brad, this water's sooooooo HOT.... There's somethi...