Something’s Afoot

We all like to have something nice underfoot, don’t we? Something soft and level, something warm and easy to move about on. It’s a completely subconscious thing this checking to make sure we’re walking on even ground. We don’t even realise it but our feet act as warning systems to stop us from injuring ourselves. If we feel off balance, we stop or throw our arms out. Around the home we take for granted that we’re on level footing, but when carpet gets a bit old and threadbare, you’re not on safe ground. Suddenly ‘watch your step’ and ‘mind how you go’ have a real meaning other than the catch phrase of the overly cautious. I bet you never really took notice of those platitudes before, but when your home is a building site and the floor in particular is affected, being cautious and looking at your feet become essential for staying safe. When your home is in that state, (the space under your floorboards is a real eye opener and not in a good way) it’s really hard to imagine it all being complete and back to normal again, but part of the process is having to plan for the finish, to get the area measured and to select the flooring that will most suit your space.

flooring textures

In bedrooms I have to admit carpet feels lovely underfoot. And my most recent project the master bedroom and ensuite wanted something that ‘did not look like a hotel.’ Both of them work abroad regularly and this aversion to hotels has become a defining voice throughout the job. Not only did they want the ensuite to be luxurious – because they’ve spent so much time in hotels – they wanted it to be more specific to their home (hence the sloping ceiling). So how we treated the bedroom suite was a very personal process. They wanted a more understated feel, something comfortable and welcoming, but ultimately of good quality and a high level of finish. And we decided that carpet in the bedroom and dressing area was one way to achieve that.

Most often when I’m looking for carpets I go the wool route and plan a high woollen content. But recently I’ve seen carpet that’s been attacked by moths because it has a high wool content! London seems to have had a few years where moth larvae have been out of control and not only do they attack clothing, in a dimly lit corner your carpet will also provide many happy hours of munching! How depressing. If it’s a dimly lit corner its likely to be somewhere you don’t disturb very often – like under the bed or other furniture, or around the cupboards and because of that when you do decide to move things round you’re left with an unsightly bald patch. It also appears that household insurance doesn’t cover this type of damage because moths come under the heading of vermin. So with this level of information I decided to start afresh and find a product that would look good and be unattractive to insects.

No, I didn’t even consider a nylon carpet.

final selection

But the samples that caught my eye were man made! Polypropylene carpet has come a long way since I first saw it on the market. This time round, the fibre is soft and tactile. The pile is dense and luxurious. So much so I first thought it was a silk based product because the fibres have a lustre to them. It feels nice and doesn’t create static, it’s naturally repellent to stains – and to insects – and it’s about 30% cheaper than a wool carpet! That’s one way to get my attention… Very interesting indeed. And when I put the wool velvet carpet beside the Luxelle as its called, the wool looked much less expensive – and uninteresting.

carpet choices

One of the last pieces of the design puzzle is the carpet. So getting down to this choice happened while the space was in a complete uproar, but it’s important to get the room measured professionally – even if it’s a building site – and to be guided by their findings, because it is a specialist trade and mistakes can be made.

Especially if the fitters misunderstand the brief.

If your quote has been written for a carpet join in a specific area, stick with that – don’t vary from the arrangements. This is what we had happen and the carpet – surprise surprise – is having to be replaced! Carpet comes in 4 metre and 5 metre widths (what is known as broadloom) so the calculations for the space are tabulated on the area that most easily fits within either of those widths. If the room is wider than that as our bedroom/dressing area space is, a join has to be factored in. I’d signed off on the quote to have the joins in the chimney breast alcoves, but the carpet fitters came to me and said they could hide the join at the wardrobe end because the wardrobes would cover it.

alcove units

Firstly, if the carpet measure had shown that this was possible, that is what the quote would have provided for, secondly the carpet fitters had plucked a wardrobe measurement out of the air (it wasn’t on the quote and they did not ask me) so now we have a join that can not be hidden 5cm in front of the wardrobes. Do I need to tell you that the clients aren’t happy?? It’s a mystery to me how something like this can happen but what I do know is that there are now so many versions of the story that it really is impossible to work out who is to blame. This is the true meaning of ‘too late to change your mind’ and for that I have to take some of the responsibility. Thinking about it, it’s a case of over complicating a situation that wasn’t actually a problem – and in the process making things a lot worse!

By the way if you’ve ever had any moth damage in your home, apparently May is the time they lay their eggs, so get hoovering now, pull out all the furniture, shake up the lavender bags in your drawers, declutter and freshen the dark corners with a lavender spray.