Apr 16

The Story Behind the Stairs: Naomi Watts’ Apartment by Ashe+Leandro

photo: Douglas Friedman/Architectural Digest

Last month Architectural Digest featured Naomi Watts’ NYC apartment renovation project designed by Ashe + Leandro. During this project Ashe + Leandro came to us to create a bespoke runner on a unique set of stairs. The motif was derived from our collaboration with the duo on a new line of hand-woven sisal and suede rugs.

Both the runner and the new collection were inspired by vintage Tuareg rugs. Since a handwoven rug would obviously not be appropriate for a lengthy runner on a curving staircase, we created a versatile motif in wool that makes a bold statement while also serving as a neutral.

We started by recommending a wool woven construction similar to some our Tailormade rugs. Tailormade is a popular choice for stair runners due to its durability and low profile. Working with the Jacquard loom allowed us to weave exactly the size we needed for each individual stair, in-house, with minimal waste. The field was a blend of two colors of undyed wool, our Fawn and Beige. The motif was undyed wool in the color Loam, a dark earthy gray with a hint of brown.

Since the project was a new renovation, we started with the staircase architectural plans. Working from the plans allowed us to design a rug section to fit each specific stair. Upon visiting the site we realized that the built staircase differed from plans and the builder had made an onsite change to flare out the bottom four stairs. Our Service and Installation Director Bob Margies worked with Ashe+Leandro and our textile designers to make the motif just the right size to fit on the risers and determine exactly how much total material to weave.

Bob Margies and Reinaldo Leandro determined that tailoring the margins to stay consistent as the steps widen, rather than using a standard runner width, was the best option for finishing the rug. Margies mocked up the layout with painter’s tape to confirm the concept.

Material for each stair was cut out and installed individually by one of our trusted installers. As with all of the installation projects we manage, Margies personally qualified him. Adding to the challenges was the fact that the client had come in on a redeye flight the morning before the install, so we needed to work quietly for several hours.

The install went smoothly and all parties were thrilled with the results. As Margies put it, “Working with the right people makes it easier. To have every step cut, hemmed, shaped, and installed on site — not a lot of companies have this ability or expertise. I can’t stress enough the advantages of including us at the beginning of a project. With our carefully vetted network of installers and our 20 years experience in weaving we can help you realize your design vision and expand your idea of what’s possible with rugs and installations.“

View the Ashe + Leandro for Merida collection >

Get in touch: | 617.464.5400

Apr 16

From the desert tent to the modern home – Q&A with Ashe + Leandro

In late 2014, New York design duo Ashe + Leandro approached Merida about translating a vintage Tuareg rug pattern to a custom rug for a client project. We had been looking to expand our handwoven rug category, and Ashe + Leandro were long-time clients whose esthetic we love. Our design team saw an opportunity to do something truly inventive that combined sisal and suede — and a collection was born.

We visited interior designer Ariel Ashe and architect Reinaldo Leandro in their Soho studio to discuss the inspiration behind the collection and the role rugs play in their client projects.

Q: How long have you been fascinated with Tuareg rugs?

A: We started collecting Tuaregs a few years ago . We love using them in our projects, but they’re awkward sizes and really expensive.

Aires in Black

Q: What sparked the idea of creating a modern version of a traditional rug?

A: We were designing Naomi Watts’ apartment and we wanted to use a Tuareg, but it needed to be a specific size. So we contacted Merida and asked what we could do. Roxanne reached out to their weaving partners in Brazil, who were testing a kilim construction using sisal and suede and could weave it to size. We sent them sketches and they came back with all these amazing samples.

Touro in Black Pearl

Q: This is your first design collaboration. What was it like to partner with Merida on this collection?

The collaboration was natural — we work with them on every project and love their company. They take pride in everything they do and the craftsmanship is wonderful. The design team has amazing ideas and wonderful expertise. Roxanne also has great style and taste and her ideas complemented ours perfectly.

Q: How would you compare your design POV with Merida’s?

We always aim for narratives that reference design and culture. Merida is interested in beautiful textures and also uses nature and history as influences and driving forces behind the design.

Leao in Honey

Q: What role do rugs play in your design process? In what spaces would you use the rugs in this collection?

Rugs can either make a statement or work as a neutral base to layer everything on. This collection manages to do both. The rugs would be amazing in a dining room or living room. You can add color in the leathers for some extra interest or keep them neutral and more grounding.

Q: What mattered most to you about how the rugs were made?

We were interested in the sustainability of the materials and the weavers themselves. Merida holds a high standard of craftsmanship and respect for the fabricators. The enthusiasm and vision of their Brazilian weavers played a big part in this collection, and they were part of the collaboration.

Gemeos in Natural

Q: What was the most exciting part about working on this collection?

Apart from collaborating with a talented team, just seeing the rugs come to fruition is very exciting. Drawing something on paper and then seeing a large sample is such a wonderful feeling. Much like designing a home, from start to finish.

View the catalog

See photos from our NYC launch on

Mar 16

The Art of the Seam: 5 Crucial Tips for Rug Seaming and Installation

At Merida, we believe seams should be celebrated. Whether strategically hidden or prominently featured, we view each stitch as a symbol of our commitment to craftsmanship and our passion for details. When fit to a room by a master installer, or sewn in-house by our talented craftspeople, a seam will only enhance a rug, adding to its story. Service and Installation Director Bob Margies outlines 5 key factors to consider when spec’ing a seamed rug.

Bob Margies brings more than 25 years’ experience as a professional installer.  Having his talent and experience in-house means we can deliver an unparalleled level of service to our design partners — and the expertise their client projects demand and deserve.

Layout and seam location is absolutely the very first thing to consider when purchasing rugs for a project. There are a number of factors that can affect how much material needs to be ordered, which fiber would be the best choice, which direction to run a pattern in, and much more. Consulting a Merida Inside Sales Advisor and discussing our certified installer network at the beginning will clarify the installation options and help save money, time, and material.

5 key factors to consider when specing rugs for a project:

1. Embrace the Seam

Tonga, with a less visible seam.

Harris, with a more visible but still beautiful seam.

Different rug types will seam more or less visibly than others depending on the weave structure or pattern. If a rug seams more visibly, sometimes it’s better to use the seam as a design element rather than trying to hide it. If a center seam would fall in front of a doorway, for example, it is best to instead go with a full center breadth with a balanced piece seamed on either side for a paneled look.


2. Understanding the Function of the Room

This landing seam was carefully planned out and crafted since it is on a pivot point.

Walking paths and pivot points experience wear with normal use. Having a seam in one of those areas to accomplish a look adds an extra element that could potentially cause premature wear. Discussing the layout of the room beforehand lets us keep your vision in mind and plan for any accent seams.


3. Plan for Light Sources

Light falling across a rug highlights the texture. If window light hits a seam more directly it can cause visibility issues.

If a seam is required, understanding where the natural light sources are in a room can tremendously aid an Inside Sales Advisor in selecting and discussing seam location with the designer. Avoiding placing a seam in a large open area exposed to sunlight will help hide the seam. If a seam must be in direct sunlight, it is preferable to have the light fall with the seam rather than across it.

4. Use Furniture and Accessories to Your Advantage

Knowing the location of furniture will enable the Inside Sales Advisor and designer to focus on those areas as possible seam locations. Behind or under sofas, near a back wall and under a bed are all ideal locations for a seam. Layering antique or accent rugs on top of larger rugs or wall-to-wall installations can help cover and protect seams as well.


5. Pattern Direction

Furniture placement and pattern direction are crucial for planning a seam.

Pattern direction should always be taken into consideration when deciding the location of a seam. If the carpet is pattern specific, meaning the designer desires to view the carpet a certain way when they enter the room, the Inside Sales Advisor and installer will have to utilize all other aspects of seam consideration to accommodate his or her vision.


I can’t stress enough the advantages of including us at the beginning of a project. With our obsessive attention to detail we can help you realize your design vision and expand your idea of what’s possible with rugs.


Mar 16

5 Ways to Style a Staircase with Wool Rugs

When scheming a project, the staircase may not be top of mind as an area to get creative. At Merida, we think there are endless opportunities to make a staircase shine with a well thought out runner expertly installed. Here are five ways to use a wool stair runner to make a statement.

1. Custom details specific to a staircase

Merida Runner with Harris and Heywood custom patterning

Detail of a Merida stair runner.

Custom Merida wool runner

Choose or customize a rug with details that compliment the staircase form and shape. A little detail goes a long way, as can be seen in this custom Harris wool rug with an edge detail derived from our Heywood pattern. From a beautiful install by Leblanc Design.

2. Add some flavor with a seam

Merida Heywood Runner

Heywood Stairs with custom seam

Detail of a Merida custom seamed runner

If you have a staircase that you know won’t be seeing a high amount of traffic—from a large family or frequent customer visits—you can get creative with an accent seam. Cari Berg adds visual interest to a landing with hand-sewn diagonal seam and the joining of two patterns. This also allows the horizontal line pattern of Heywood to match on each set of these stairs despite a 90 degree turn.

3. Use a balanced pattern for going around corners

Merida Diamant Stair runner

Merida Diamant Stair runner

Another option for dealing with corners in a stair runner is to choose a rug with a balanced pattern. This means that when the pattern is turned 90 degrees for the second set of stairs, the change in pattern is not jarring or distracting. A balanced pattern is a straightforward option that looks good in any situation. Atsu Gunther used our Diamant pattern for this runner.

4. Don’t be afraid of curves and turns

Merida Serai stair runner

Some of the most striking staircases will curve, bend, or widen as they descend requiring the rug to do the same. A trusted, experienced installer will jump at the challenge and use the unique characteristics of a staircase to enhance the beauty of the installation. Our Service and Installation Director Bob Margies personally vets our network of installers to make sure every install meets our standards. Joe Lucas of Lucas Studio used a Serai Natural wool runner on this curved staircase.

5. Unique details can add a sartorial touch

Flint runner Merida

Custom Flint wool runner Merida

With jacquard-woven wool rugs, custom details such as an asymmetrical design can set a stair runner apart. Tailoring a runner for a specific space can take a staircase from a simple transition element to a feature all its own. For this runner, our design team redrew one of our Tailormade patterns to create the asymmetrical effect. The flexibility of the jacquard allowed us to weave the runner in one solid piece for Leblanc Design.

View our wool rugs >