How to Choose an Area Rug

If you’ve ever visited the steve mckenzie’s showroom in Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood, you know we’re surrounded by some pretty fantastic neighbors. This includes our neighbor right next door, Verde Home. You may remember the many posts where you’ve we’ve made mention of them. We’re obvious fans. Plus, Steve has designed a line of rugs with Verde Home, which was such an honor!

Naturally, we turned to our friend, Kent Schneider, of Verde Home, when looking to share information on selecting an ideal rug for a space. He was so kind to answer our many questions and we thought we’d share them with you in this post all about how to choose an area rug.

After all, rugs are one of the primary elements of a space we’re asked most about and unfortunately, it’s easy, even with good intentions and tastes to not get it right. We hope this post helps you in your area rug selection. And please know, our design team here at steve mckenzie’s is always available to aid in your search and selection!

steve mckenzie’s: How do you know where to shop for a rug?

Kent Schneider: I would suggest looking for a specialized rug dealer or a store that sells rugs as a category rather than just as an accessory.  By this I mean if you go into a home furniture store that has rugs on the floor but has no area to display and browse rug options…chances are they are just using them to make the furniture they are selling look good and they may not know as much about them.  There are many exceptions to this, but in my experience I think it is a good rule of thumb.

sm’s: What should you know about your space when shopping for a rug?

KS: Most important would be the size of the room.  That seems obvious but you would be surprised how many customers really have no idea how big the room is.  9 out of 10 times when customers estimate the size the do so on the small side.  Rugs out of context often look very big.  When you shop for one you may see an 8×10 in a stack and think it is a very large rug and perfect for a living room that actually needs a 10×14.

sm’s: Which rug materials work best in certain spaces?

KS: Right now, I would say Wool is still the fiber of choice for all indoor applications.  It has great resilience, luster, and cleans well.  Most of the synthetics on the market will always compare themselves to wool.

For outdoor applications, you will see a variety of fibers used.  Rugs that get full exposed are generally made from some sort of woven plastic and can be very cheap (because they tend to last only a few seasons).  Polyester is a good choice for covered out door areas as it handles moisture well.  Most recently, we have seen solution-dyed acrylic fiber, like those used in Sunbrella fabrics start to make their way into the floor covering industry.  At present, the piled rugs made from these are pricey, but I expect that will come down and these will become a good indoor/outdoor option. 

sm’s: How do you determine the right size rug for your space?

KS: There is no hard and fast rule about how to size the rug for your room. In my experience, the larger the rug you can fit in a room, the larger the room will feel.  Rugs tend to ground the room and define the boundaries of conversation groups.  Undersized rugs can make a room feel cramped and can get lost under furniture.

You should also consider natural traffic patterns and doorways when laying out a room.  When in doubt we always like to draw a room out to scale to see how a rug will fit. But if you need a quick method to visualize it we suggest marking the area off on your floor with some masking tape.

sm’s: What questions should one ask when shopping for a rug?

KS: Not all rugs are created equal and this will often be reflected in the price. Here are some different terms you’ll hear, which will help you determine what type of rug will work for you and your budget…

  1. Handmade or Machine made – with very few exceptions the machine-made rug should be cheaper than the hand made.  That doesn’t always mean better because rugs come in many different knot densities.  However, when comparing two rugs of similar content and density, the handmade rug would most often be more expensive and would generally be considered the better rug.
  2. Hand knotted, hand tufted or hand loomed – Handmade rugs can be made using Hand Knotting, Hand Tufting or Hand Looming.  Hand knotting is the most time consuming and would considered the best.  Hand tufting has many qualities and often gets a bad reputation for the goods on the low end of the spectrum that are coarsely tufted and use a bad backing.  Fine hand tufted pieces can often achieve the look of a hand knotted rug at much less cost. The main drawback with tufting is the backing.  Each tuft of wool is fastened into the foundation using glue.  Overtime, this glue will break down (cheaper glues will break down quicker), and the tufts will release. Hand looming is a process of weaving a rug that bear similarities to fabric weaving.  The rugs are often very simple in pattern and can be woven very quickly.  They generally priced about the same as fine, hand tufted products.
  3. Density and Content– How fine is the knotting, tufting, or looming of the rug and what is it made of?  Finer rugs take longer and generally cost more, as do rugs made or wool or wool and silk rather than synthetics.

sm’s: What else should you consider purchasing when buying a rug?

KS: We always recommend a good rug pad.  Aside from preventing the rug from slipping, it also provides sound dampening and helps ease the wear of a rug. In spaces where children and/or pets may be present, we also suggest having your rug sealed.

sm’s: What’s the best way to keep a rug looking its best?

KS: The primary upkeep would be vacuuming.  This can be done weekly (or as needed).  Make sure the height of your vacuum is set so that it does not lift the rug.  In some instances, you may wish to turn off the beater bar or only use it occasionally. Spot cleaning can usually be done with water or a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.  If the rug is wet, make sure it dries thoroughly to prevent mold and dry rot.

With a little knowledge and preparation you’ll be set to find your perfect rug! Good luck on your search, and feel free to reach out to our team here at steve mckenzie’s with any questions you may have and guidance you need.

Thank you to Kent and Verde Home for providing their expertise – their showroom should not be missed when searching for a fantastic rug!

A Tropical Transformation: McKenzie Design’s 2017 Historic Macon Showhouse Dining Room

Our space in this year’s Design, Wine & Dine Showhouse, supporting the Historic Macon Foundation is finally complete! While we’re delighted with the way the dining room by McKenzie Design turned out, we’re even more thrilled to have been in the company of such talented designers from throughout Middle-Georgia, including Lisa Bellwin, Tracy BentonSally DraughonValerie Garrett, Judy Hodgens, Terry Holland, Carolyn Reichert, Carrie Robinson and Katherine Walden.

Most recently, our design team has been inspired by the all the lush, tropical motifs, which seem to be popping up everywhere! While we wanted to ensure we respected the history of the fantastic Porter House – moved to Weslyan University‘s campus – we also wanted to present our take with an updated sense of tradition. We’re so pleased with the results of our design plan, and are lucky to have had the opportunity to partner with some truly terrific manufacturers and artisans to help us realize our space…

We fell in love with Sherwin Williams’ “Iverness” and opted to use this luxurious hue throughout the dining room. The brass Pagoda light fixture by Currey & Company was a true jewel in the space! The cerused oak dining table, from Grange Furniture, was an ideal backdrop for our tablescape.

We had a ball with all of the fabulous Thibaut Design textiles used in the dining room – the “Tropical Fantasy” design from their Biscayne collection was the jumping off point and we went from there. Drape 98 provided all drapery fabrication for our space. As evidenced by the McKenzie Design showhouse dining space, we fell in love with the tropical, yet classic, design of our primary textile, featuring large leaves, colorful ginger jars and exotic animals.

The lush texture of the Moss colored velvet, paired with Selamat’s Sheridan wingback chair offered a smart juxtaposition of textures, and offers a natural element. These dramatic chairs, act as the “head” of our dining table, while the Sika Rossini chairs, act as the side chairs. Our showhouse dining space is anchored with a stunning, hand-knotted rug by Laura Walker for Verde Home.

This beautiful settee is by Bjork Studio, who provided all our upholstery. The settee, in bold animal print (Amur from the Menagerie Collection by Thibaut) is a highlight in the space and was the most talked about piece opening night – by far.

The hand finished mirror situated above the fireplace cannot go unnoticed. It’s by artist Stacy Milburn, and added needed contemporary element, which offers an exciting energy.

To set the table, we paired pieces from the new Jardins Extraordinaire collection by Gien with the classic handmade Chartreuse dinner plate by R Wood Studios. The exciting and fresh “Pebble in Blush” napkin, hand printed in India, by Collier Rose Ink, completes a memorable place setting.

Recently, we acquired six vintage pieces of glass from an old Midwest factory that still had the papers attached. Framed in these stunning steel frames, they make for an interesting, contemporary addition to the space, yet share a storied past. We love using pieces with a bit of history in our designs!

This glimpse of our showhouse tabletop is one of our favorite moments. We dubbed this little guy “Otis,” after Otis Redding, who was from Macon. He is by Avala International. In the background is the beautiful oyster vase, by Vine Garden Market, and a crystal votive from Harmonious Living by Tish Mills.

We hope you have enjoyed this little tour of our showhouse dining room! If you’d like to learn more about any of the products used, please plan a visit to our showroom or reach out via e-mail or phone.

We urge you to plan a trip to Macon to visit the showroom – the house, as well as all related Design, Wine & Dine events are absolutely worth the short drive! Please reach out to us for restaurant recommendations and be prepared to be inspired by this historic city. Visit the Macon, GA website for other fun excursions to enjoy while there. But, keep in mind, the showhouse will only be open through the 25th – you can see more details here.

Thanks again for joining us on this tour – please let us know your thoughts!

All photos in this post are courtesy of Marc Mauldin Photography except the photo of the Porter House from Historic Macon Foundation

Celebrating Father’s Day

Today we honor dad. And, really, all the men in our life who teach us some of life’s most important – and unimportant lessons, ha!

Thank you to the father figures out there who show us what it means to be a great parent.

Happy Father’s Day!

~ The steve mckenzie’s Team

Who you NEED to meet: Sara Ossana of O&G Studio

It’s all in the details – that’s one of our mantras, as we’re willing to bet it’s one of O&G studio’s mantras as well. Today, we’re sharing an interview with Sara Ossana, one of the founders of O&G Studio, a modern furniture company, featuring American-made Windsor designs. Sara’s talents span an array of industries, including movie production, but our partnership with O&G Studio is how we were initially introduced. O&G Studio’s designs are classic with a nod to modernity and brilliant touches, which make them true heirlooms. We’re fans of Sara’s and O&G Studio and think you will be too! Enjoy today’s “Who you NEED to meet” post, featuring Sara Ossana…

Jon & Sara – co-founders of O&G Studio

sm’s: Can you please share a bit about your background/how you started O&G Studio and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?

Founded in 2009, the duo met over ten years ago as graduate students at The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where Jonathan studied jewelry and Sara studied interior architecture. Their combined backgrounds allow them to blend intricate detailing with a play on scale and proportion to bring traditional motifs into the 21st century. 

Atlantic Counter Stools

sm’s: What inspires you/your work? 

Based in Warren, Rhode Island, O&G Studio looks towards the rich history of American design traditions for inspiration. Particularly the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as local auctions in and around New England. Essentially we take inspiration from our surroundings, from nature as well as craft. 

Metacom Arm Chair

sm’s: What is your vision, not only for O& G Studio, but also the individual designs/products you create?

Quality and timelessness are a main focus.  We tend to play a lot with scale and proportion and are known for color, particularly our rich stain selections all custom mixed by us in our 20K sf combined studio, showroom and shop.  We are not interested in trends or forecasting.  We look to design pieces that can work in a multitude of interiors spanning contemporary to transitional and traditional.  The pieces pair well with other antiques or modern designs thus making them quite flexible in any interior.  We usually start with a ‘room’.  We see the entire space with the piece sitting from afar. It must make an impression immediately.  Upon closer inspection more detail is revealed adding intrigue.  Then when used additional details are discovered through touch and feel of the piece satisfying multiple scales of interaction.

Athenaeum Settee

sm’s: Do you have any “mainstays” in your work – is there something you’re always drawn to? 

We are always drawn to narrative and legacy.  We like to imbue our work with meaning beyond a simply aesthetically pleasing object.  I wouldn’t say that we have any mainstays.  We love all of our ‘children’ the same:)

sm’s: What are the differences in your collections – i.e. how do you create such unique pieces that remain a part of one, cohesive line? 

Magic!  No – just kidding, we are neurotic, fastidious work-a-holics.  We have to thank our respective spouses for putting up with us.  We are very detail oriented but all see the big picture.  We never release a piece that we are not fully behind or confident in.  I think that the dual partnership also keeps us in line.  It creates a constructive critique environment to discuss designs and their merit.

Colt High-Back Side Chair

sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase from O&G Studio? 

I would say a few things, take your time.  We make everything to order.  We can help with decision making and understand that our work can be a focal point in a room.  Feel free to ask anything about a piece.  We like to match our clientele up with work they will be happy with forever.  Everything is made to order so we will pick the wood for your piece by hand to match the stain you choose, this takes time.  Pieces can take up to 12 weeks to produce during busy times of year, although sometimes we have unfinished stock available on a quick ship lead time.

sm’s: What’s on the horizon for you/O&G Studio?

The best thing about creativity and business is they way they build their own momentum.  Every idea, every challenge sets in motion an exciting series of events. This coming year is all about feeding our creative vision through speculative one of a kind, one off pieces. These allow the full blown expression of an idea that can give birth to an entire new production line. 
sm’s: As an artist/business person how do you recharge? 
Good question, we love to eat so really good food is always a must.  Going to the beach, enjoying Rhode Island and spending time with our families.  Both of us have small children so weekends are off limits for work.  We spend that time with our children enjoying everything that the Ocean State has to offer.  We also find a lot of inspiration from teaching; both Jonathan and I teach at the collegiate level at RISD.  Working with young designers is important.  We want to give back and help others on their career paths.

 

Absolutely fantastic! As are the designs from O&G Studio. We invite you to visit the steve mckenzie’s showroom to see Sara and Jonathan’s work in real life and learn what they may be able to create for you.

 

Thank you to Sara for agreeing to participate in this spotlight feature – we’re officially fans!

 

Join us as we Design, Wine & Dine in Macon!

Once again, we’re proud to have an opportunity to participate in the Design, Wine & Dine, supporting historic Macon, Georgia! In addition to the many exciting experiences taking place June 15-25, a feature will be the designer showhouse; in which, a dining room by McKenzie Design will be a highlight!

This year’s home is truly special – it’s the Porter House on Wesleyan College’s campus. Historic Macon worked with Wesleyan College to move the Porter House from its original location in South Macon when it was donated to the college in 2013. The house has elements of the Tudor Revival and Chateauesque styles. Wesleyan has retained many of the house’s features, including the original ceramic tile roof, wooden floors, built-in cabinets, casement windows, and intricate wormy chestnut woodwork.

The Porter House was built in 1928 for James Hyde Porter and his family as a summer retreat. The house was designed by architects W. Elliot Dunwody and William F. Oliphant. The Porter family donated the house to Wesleyan College, the first women’s college in the United States, in 2013. After moving the structure from its original location in South Macon to its campus, Wesleyan College completed an extensive restoration of the house with help from Dunwody Beeland Architects.

Now Steve, alongside a slew of talented, local designers, will revitalize the interior of this fantastic home, thanks to some high design. Steve’s space, partially seen in the above image, is a fantastic, blank palette of a dining space, which will be transformed into something spectacular!

Here’s a glimpse of what’s to come in the Porter House dining room – a quick, behind-the-scenes shot taken during install.  


And a little sneak peek of the tablescape being designed for the showhouse… Just dreamy!

Check back soon to see the big reveal, and be sure to plan a visit to Macon soon to enjoy all their Design, Wine & Dine events have to offer!