Aug 15

Q&A: Bradley Stephens designs a Hamptons oasis

As long-time fans of Bradley Stephens of Stephens Design Group, we were thrilled that he recently chose to use several of our latest rugs for a new project in the Hamptons. Born in Texas and living in New York City, Bradley’s personal style is quintessentially all American. He has a keen appreciation for artisan finishes and high-end craftsmanship, and is not afraid to mix high and low. Because of a personal, collaborative approach to working with each client he is well versed in a variety of design aesthetics and time periods. Bradley’s talent, versatility, and energetic personality have lead to rave reviews and high profile clients.

The perfect summertime getaway with the style of a Manhattan townhouse, the Harbor’s Edge penthouse is an eclectic blend of refined and relaxed. Bradley gave us the scoop on his daily inspirations and how he translated his experience to this Hamptons getaway.

Where did you start when designing for Harbor’s Edge?

My process typically starts with an extensive dialogue with the client. Floor plans are put aside so they don’t instinctively start making assumptions about what’s possible. With open minds, we talk through their requirements and goals room-by-room, cataloging the client’s history, lifestyle and preferences along the way. The resulting trove of information forms the foundation of our design for the client, and allows us to tailor the project to their personality and aspirations. This level of engagement allows my clients to co-author the design, and inevitably leads to a successful, rewarding collaborative working experience.

At Harbor’s Edge, we decorated the Penthouse as if someone truly lived there, and curated the space with a mixture of furniture and accessories that could have been collected through years of travel.  We based the design on the standards set by many of our Manhattan-based clients.  The Hamptons homes that I design are a clear reflection of my clients’ personas. They are elegant, sophisticated and meticulously planned.  But I get to translate their taste for urban refinement into a beach-chic vocabulary.


Describe the type of client you could see falling in love with this space.

I’m guessing the sweeping water views and gorgeous sunsets at Harbor’s Edge have a broad demographic. But I also like to think that attention to details and an invitingly eclectic design approach to the Penthouse will have a strong universal appeal. It has the potential of being the perfect fit for a client that is looking for a home with urban sophistication, but nestled into the relaxed atmosphere of Sag Harbor.


Master bedroom, featuring a Coil tufted wool rug in Marshmallow.

Entry, featuring Avant sisal rugs woven with UltraFiber, in Straw.

Bedroom, featuring a Slater wool flatweave in Colonial Blue, from the Tailormade collection.

What kind of a role did our rugs play in your design process?

The crucial quality for a successful Hamptons home is a feeling of effortlessness. The best design deftly balances curated furnishings and blue-chip artwork with the easy comfort of flip-flops and ice cream. Merida is a natural fit because the refinement of their rugs adds an unmistakable foundation of quality and craftsmanship to my designs. I indulge my clients with rustic-luxe textiles paired with French-polished Deco furniture and sculptural modern lighting usually reserved for Park Avenue duplexes. I love pairing these elegant pieces with easy-going counterpoints like natural fiber rugs, sumptuous tufted wool, and tailored flat weaves. Timelessness is a cornerstone of my design approach, and Merida’s exquisite collections deftly transcend eras, styles, and locales.


featuring a Pinstripe tufted wool rug in Ice Fog.

Was there a particular vignette that you felt was especially effective?

The material palette of the living room fireplace and custom built-in cabinetry is one of my favorite moments in the Penthouse. The bookshelves and paneling create a backdrop of cerused European oak and recessed panels of natural willow-screen, framing a sleek, modern fireplace bordered by a slab of marble. The shelves are curated from my accessories collection, Evermore Shop, to echo the color and texture of jewel-toned sunsets, blossoming flowers, and shimmering water. All of this was inspired by the unique location and mesmerizing views over the harbor.


What is your first creative design memory?

My childhood was spent creating. I was obsessed with building structures and interiors to the last detail with whatever I could find in the house or garage. If I imagined a five-star restaurant, every pot and dish had to be in place – care of my Mother’s kitchen. My poor parents! I have always been fanatical about planning and executing what I set my mind to. I’m lucky to have a career devoted to dreaming and building on an epic scale.


Who or what is inspiring you right now?

I’m fortunate to have an international clientele, and relish the opportunity to shop European auction houses and flea markets. I am inspired by romantic, historic cities that buzz with modernity. There is nothing I love more than exploring the endless design resources of Paris and London, and discovering unique furniture, artwork and accessories for my new online home furnishings collection,


What is one thing you can’t live without?

While I love the excitement of New York City and the allure of the Hamptons, I simply cannot live without weekend escapes with my partner and our English Bulldog to Rockwater, our country home in rural Litchfield County, CT.

Photos: Stephens Design Group and @Bradley__Stephens on Instagram

Shop Tailormade flat-woven wool rugs

Shop Avant sisal woven with UltraFiber

Shop tufted wool rugs

Aug 15

Introducing Service and Installation Director Bob Margies

When it comes to complex installations and attention to detail, you want a master craftsman like Bob Margies on your team. Bob recently joined us after nearly three decades developing his talents and running a successful business as an accomplished installer for top designers. He brings incredible expertise and energy to lead our new Service and Installation practice after many years of working with us on his own:

When were you first introduced to the craft of installation?

My dad started installing carpet in 1972, he would bring his tools home and take on side jobs for friends. Probably my earliest memory was at 5 or 6 watching him make a seam the old fashioned way without seam tape. As I grew, I would go to work with him on weekends.


How did that hold your interest?

My dad was different from all of the other dads. Some of my friends’ dads farmed, some were policemen, and some carried briefcases. My dad carried a giant box of tools. When you’re a young boy, a box of tools is pretty intriguing.

At one point, he was working on the restoration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s house on the Hudson. I remember watching my father recreate this staircase masterpiece.  At that point I knew he did pretty special work, but to see that, in high school, really piqued my interest more. When I graduated high school I wasn’t quite sure what to do. My father offered,  “You can work with me if you want.” I never looked back.

How did you get to know the company?

I’ve known of Merida for years. When Broadway sisal was introduced, I installed it in a beach house, and it was unlike any other sisal product I’ve ever installed. That’s when Merida landed on my radar. I started to see more of their product being installed. Merida was responsible for bringing sisal into the home. Before this, it was known as a commercial product and too rough for residential projects. Merida sisal was incredibly soft and had pattern and texture. It was different. When I started my own company Merida was one of my first relationships. And, one of the first acts of purchasing my new home was to buy a piece of Bali jute and make a big living room rug with a cotton border.

Four years ago I was invited to tour the Fall River, MA mill and that coupled with social media brought us together in a consistent way. Quality installers have always been important to Merida and I was now on their radar.


Why do you have such passion for your work?

There are different levels of carpet obviously, and there are different levels of installation. My dad really had an amazing work ethic. The more complicated the installation for him the more excited he was to just work, and that was passed on to me. Anybody could put in 50 yards of builder basic carpet. But if you take 20 yards and put it on a circular flight of stairs, with a border, the challenge is different. Lots of installers do not like that type of work because it’s so demanding, mentally and somewhat physically. I love the more complicated installation projects, and working with cutting edge product. It’s a passion. Now I’m glad I can take that 28 years of experience and bring it to my current position with Merida.

What excites you about working with Merida specifically?

Seeing product development happen before my eyes with our design team, weavers and craftsmen all under one roof is incredible. It’s exciting to be a part of it and making a contribution. We’re developing strategies for our work force we’ve never had before. I’m teaching our Project Managers skills they didn’t know they needed to possess for their position. That’s exciting to me because it’s productive, it’s valuable and it’s relevant. I couldn’t be any happier to do it every single day.

I’ve been here two months. A lot has happened in 60 days, and a lot more will happen in another two months. It’s a thrill to me.


What do you hope to accomplish overall at Merida?

The end goal for me is to help the company be as efficient and successful as it can be, and to ensure after all the hard work that goes in to producing each order, it’s handed off to an installer that we have 100% confidence in.

Are you scoping a demanding project? Whether or not you’re considering an installation, count on our expertise to help you think through options and manage a project smoothly.


Jul 15

5 Ways to Choose the Right Rug – with Creative Director Roxanne Hanna

Originally written by and posted on Dering Hall:

When it comes to designing a home, rugs are essential—both for providing comfort and warmth as well as establishing a foundation for the design scheme. Choosing the right rug is a key part of the design process, and careful consideration must be given to materials, style and intended location. To help navigate the selection process, Roxanne Hanna, Creative Director of Merida, is here to help with insights about durability, comfort and use. For more than 30 years, Merida has been a leader in rug design, manufacturing its exquisite pieces in Fall River, MA.

credit and interior design: M. Frederick Interiors

1. Focus on Durability for Areas with Heavy Foot Traffic

“For high-traffic areas, like entryways and foyers, it’s best to focus on materials that are a little tougher and less resistant to wear. Sisal, in particular, is a great choice because of its strength,” says Hanna. Wear also extends to the edges, where Hanna recommends leather, linen or an outdoor fabric to increase the lifetime of the rug.

Shop UltraFiber stain resistant sisal rugs >


interior design: Celerie Kemble

2. Consider Style & Maintenance for Rooms Where Family and Friends Congregate

When it comes to areas that you spend the most time entertaining in—living rooms, family rooms and dens—rugs that are comfy yet easier to clean are the best bet. Specifically, Hanna suggests wool rugs, which have fibers that contain lanolin, a natural repellent.

Shop woven wool rugs >


interior design: Ken Gemes Interiors

3. Focus on Luxury in the Bedroom

Bedrooms require a softer touch, and Hanna suggests a tufted rug, which “hybridizes a cushy feel with a look of luxury.” There’s more style options with wool tufted rugs, and they are a bit more welcoming to the feet than other natural fiber options.

Shop tufted wool rugs >


interior design: Cloth & Kind

4. Choose Jute for Spaces Where You Want Texture and Comfort

“Jute is a great alternative to sisal,” explains Hanna. “It has a wonderfully textural look while still being soft to touch.” A jute rug works great in the living room where a departure from the typical wool rug is welcome without sacrificing feel.

Shop hand-braided and woven jute rugs >


5. Use a Flatweave for Spaces You Didn’t Think Needed a Rug

Flatweave rugs are some of the most popular and versatile rugs on the market today. “Flatweave rugs are thin, soft, durable and can work really in any room,” says Hanna. Especially great for stairways and kitchens, a flat woven rug provides a quick, easy way to bring a dash of excitement without the fuss.

Shop flatwoven wool, sisal, and sisal blend rugs >

Jun 15

3 Featured Spring Retreats

As we say goodbye to spring and officially embrace the summer season, we want to share a few of our favorite spring projects published in top shelter magazines over the past few months. Designers Beth Webb, Megan Winters, and Susan Bohlert Smith created stunning interiors that make elegant use of light and build excitement for the changing seasons. Presenting three inspiring spring retreats with sun and soul, from Chicago to Costa Rica.

Veranda May 2015 – ‘Light Touch’
Designer: Beth Webb

Beth Webb designed an airy, calming retreat in a Costa Rican paradise. The perfect lead-in to summer, this home is both dramatic and at-ease—a mix of awe-inspiring grandeur and casual elegance. With the goal of keeping the mood both relaxed and fresh, Webb used a neutral palette with regional influences and pops of color.

(click to enlarge) A gorgeous living room with tropical sun and breezes. With a Bora Bora jute rug. Veranda / Laura Resen

Rug featured: Boardwalk Braid Sunrise jute.


Elle Decor May 2015 – ‘Going for the Gold’
Designer: Megan Winters

Megan Winters’ own Lake Forest home was featured in last month’s Elle Decor. High contrast black and whites serves as a base for her to add accents of gold and pink. While pink is her favorite color, she challenged herself to all but leave it out of this first floor. Winters’ architectural interior design style of straight lines and sharp contrasts provides a counterpoint to the organic natural elements of the outdoors.

Megan winters living room with Merida Mayon Abaca rug

The living room, with a Mayon abaca rug. Elle Decor / William Abranowicz

Megan Winters living room with a Merida Mayon abaca rug

A second view of the living room. Elle Decor / William Abranowicz

Megan Winters dining room with merida mayon abaca rug

The dining room, with another Mayon abaca rug. Elle Decor / William Abranowicz

A niece's bedroom, with Grand Tournai wool & sisal. Elle Decor / William Abranowicz

Rugs featured: Mayon abacaGrand Tournai wool & sisal.


Traditional Home June 2015 – ‘Legal Ease’
Designer: Susan Bohlert Smith – Bohlert Massey Interiors

On Florida’s beautiful Golf Coast, Susan Bohlert Smith set out to create spaces that allow attention to shift to the spectacular ocean and dunes of the natural environment. She chose earthy neutrals for a softer interior that compliments the views while maintaining textural and stylistic interest. Bohlert Smith mixed casual and formal elements to create a space that is both relaxing and grand.

The living room, with a Bora Bora jute rug. Traditional Home / Colleen Duffley

The sitting room, with a Broadway Glacier sisal rug. Traditional Home / Colleen Duffley

The bedroom, with a Madagascar sisal rug. Traditional Home / Colleen Duffley

Rugs featured: Bora Bora Sunrise juteBoardwalk Glacier sisalMadagascar Glacier sisal.