Apr 14

A Q&A with Ellie Cullman of Cullman & Kravis

The Detailed Interior by Ellie Cullman and Tracey Pruzan

We’re proud to be hosting cocktails and conversation with Ellie Cullman and Tracy Pruzan on May 1st. A preview of the presentation to come, Ellie enlightened us with thoughts on her inspirations, her firm’s design philosophy, and a bit of the unexpected.

Merida:   How would you define your style?

Ellie Cullman: The goal of our most recent work is to redefine the traditional interior. Our designs have been edited, clarified, and strengthened with new materials and palettes to achieve a “modern traditional” aesthetic. With this fresh approach, the point of view is contemporary while still respecting the 30-year history of our company. We use antiques of all periods and origins alongside modern artworks, custom made furniture, and exceptional textiles to create dynamic interiors that are complex and layered-always comfortable and never overly formal.

We don’t have a signature style – we embrace our clients’ preferences and each project’s demands. This works because we are passionate about absolutely everything – from traditional to modern furniture, from folk to contemporary art, from European to Asian decorative objects and on and on.

We are design chameleons, as our recent book: “The Detailed Interior, Decorating Up Close with Cullman & Kravis” demonstrates.

M:  What inspired you to go in to interior design?

EC: I became passionate about antiques, especially Americana, spending every weekend going to country fairs in search of hooked rugs and quilts, gameboards and weathervanes. I ended up curating two shows for the Museum of American Folk Art – and this was where I learned how to analyze what is “good, better, best” – another important milestone in my education.

Then thirty years ago, my late partner, Hedi Kravis and I decided to write a screenplay about her divorce from Henry Kravis, a name you may recognize. We submitted our opus to our dear friend, Stanley Jaffe, who had just won an Oscar for Kramer vs Kramer. He gave it a serious read and told us there was only one good thing he could say about our opus – it was beautifully typed! He said we had absolutely no talent at screen writing. And, without missing a beat, suggested that we should become decorators! He had just fired his third decorator and wanted to hire us to finish his apartment.

The rest is history!

M:  You have been so successful both at interior design and building a fantastic interior design company—what are the key factors that have been instrumental in your success?

EC: There are a few major factors that I attribute towards building our company. The first is understanding how important it is to listen to the client’s needs, rather than adhering to our own personal aesthetics. We always listen to our clients, and try to make decorating a fun experience for them, which is why I believe we have formed such wonderful relationships with our clients.  Additionally, we are fiscally responsible. There is no way to run a successful business without the proper bookkeeping. Our paperwork is insanely detailed, and we always adhere to agreed upon budgets, and project time frames. Lastly, our office is collegial—we work in teams with everyone supporting each other, which creates a wonderful atmosphere for our employees to work in, and resonates in our projects.

M:  Where have you been finding inspiration lately?

EC: Inspiration is everywhere: the russet red in a Rothko painting, an embroidery motif from a costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, the patterned flooring at San Marco Square in Venice. Everything your eyes see is a catalyst for a color, motif, or pattern which can be incorporated into an interior.

Ellie and her longtime colleague Tracey Pruzan will be presenting at 6:15pm in our showroom, #714 at the Boston Design Center.

View the invitation and join us>

Apr 14

Four inspirations. Endless possibilities.

From our bespoke-inspired Tailormade wool rugs to our new Hospitality sisal, Urbana, here are four exciting collections to inspire your spring projects.


tailormade customization in wool

tailormade versatile and bespoke

The Tailormade Collection takes a modern spin on timeless patterns—from toothy herringbones to crisp pinstripes and dashing plaids—woven from classic British wools. The result is a collection of beautiful bespoke rugs, available in six versatile styles and a choice of colors and custom finishes to mix and match from room to room. Every Tailormade rug is woven to order on jacquard looms at Merida’s mill in Fall River, a city that was once a major center of American textile manufacturing. In tribute to that heritage, each style in the Tailormade collection is named for a founder of Fall River’s textile industry. Merida is proud to be writing the next chapter in that American-made story.

Explore Tailormade >



antwerp neutrals and darks

Inspired by one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, where art and beauty are the fabric of life, Antwerp takes the science of color mixing to an unprecedented level–blending multiple colored yarns to create a beautiful and durable sisal without equal. Antwerp blends science, art, and craftsmanship to create a masterful expression of subtlety and sophistication. Spun, mixed, and woven in Belgium. Hand finished in America.

Explore Antwerp >


varkala refined jute weave

bora bora seams the same as varkala

A refined jute weave that’s supple yet structurally firm, with a naturally variant, hand-braided design, Varkala embraces the concept of beauty in imperfection. Following the thread of our best selling Bora Bora jute, Varkala seams invisibly when creating large or custom-shaped rugs. Using a technique that mimics the original weaving process, our craftsmen are able to produce a robust and beautiful seam.

Explore Varkala >


urbana residential or commercial

Urbana refined residential or hospitality

Equally stunning in residential or hospitality settings, Urbana integrates refined design and durability. Urbana’s unique yarn soaking treatment locks stain repellant into the fibers before they are woven, providing much longer-lasting stain resistance than a topically treated rug.  The tight structure and low profile of Urbana make it appropriate for use in high traffic areas, in offices, and on stairs, in addition to family, living, and dining rooms. Urbana is already being used by a high end fashion boutique in Los Angeles, a luxury hotel in Miami, and, as featured in the above photos, a prestigious interior design firm in New York City.

Explore Urbana >

Mar 14

Hand-braided and soft underfoot

Introducing Varkala, a refined jute weave that’s supple yet structurally firm. With a naturally variant, hand-braided design, Varkala embraces the concept of beauty in imperfection.

varkala sunrise

Varkala in Sunrise - 6" of weave shown

Varkala volcano

Varkala in Volcano - 6" of weave shown

Following the thread of our best selling Bora Bora jute, Varkala seams invisibly when creating large or custom-shaped rugs. Using a technique that mimics the original weaving process, our craftsmen are able to produce a robust and beautiful seam.

seaming a bora bora jute rug

One of our craftsmen, Wagner, seaming a Bora Bora jute rug in Fall River, MA. We use the same technique to seam Varkala.

To receive samples of Varkala:

Call 800-345-220,


or Order samples online.

Feb 14

Three designers inspire with Tailormade

Here at Merida we are inspired by artists and artisans We view the work of designers in the same vein. Creating an interior is an art form, and we are proud to play a key role in that process. We asked three influential designers how they would creatively use patterns from our new Tailormade collection of flatweave rugs in their work. The results range from reserved to whimsical.

Liz Caan Interiors
Newton, Massachusetts –

Liz Caan created a lively, bold, room design that is a blend of chic, gorgeous, and inviting. From blue lacquered walls to powerful black and whites, her design board is a vibrant reflection of her aesthetic. With a custom black and white Harris wool rug, Liz took one of our Tailormade classics in an exciting new direction.

With a belief in “stylish and luxurious design that factors in balance, contrast, function, and fun with the details,” Liz Caan Interiors believes in unique and personal design that mixes high and low.

View Liz’s room design>




Dunn & Tighe Interiors
Bronxville, NY –

Leslie Dunn and Ann Tighe bring together complementary skills to “blend antique with contemporary in a minimalist manner, but always with an element of the unexpected to enliven a room and its personality.” They brought this philosophy to the forefront in their design board, a stunning great room with a mix of reserved masculinity and evocative details.

View Leslie and Ann’s room design>



Lori Graham Design
Washington, DC –

lori-graham-portrait With a different take on a masculine space, Lori envisioned a subtly designed gentleman’s office with all the right details. The room is perfect for work or play, with elements ranging from a stunning bar cart to black lacquered Viennese bookshelves. With rich, multi-tonal grays and small pops of vivid reds, Lori’s design takes full advantage of her “chic-yet-comfortable” aesthetic.

View Lori’s room design>