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John M. Stephens, ASID,
John M. Stephens Interior Design, New Orleans, LA

When and how do you choose the floor covering?

I always choose the floor covering at the beginning of each project, so I can determine the colors to be used elsewhere, such as wallcoverings, upholstery and window treatments. Through the use of rugs, I am better able to define the function of the room itself, such as the materials and shapes used in individual rooms.  When trying to help a client visualize traffic flow and plan the space effectively, I often have found it helpful to show the client the size and shape of the rug I propose.

Where do you source your rugs?

I prefer to use independent local dealers.  First I want to support the local economy.  Second, building relationships over a longer term pays dividends. They keep me in mind with new styles and when stock becomes available; they alert me to special pricing. In addition this allows us to conveniently inspect the quality of the merchandise.  And third, using local dealers can significantly reduce lead time and save money on shipping.

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Do you have a favorite style or fiber?

This always depends on the client and the budget. I tend to prefer more modern silk and wool blends because of the hand feel, reflective quality, durability and style.  In general, the style in which I work tends to be more contemporary than traditional. By using my preferred fibers, I can mix modern with traditional furnishings without locking the client into a dated or inflexible living space. Being green is important to me.  That’s why I prefer to use natural fibers and occasionally the ultimate in green, antiques and natural elements.

How often do you purchase a custom rug?

I purchase a custom rug when I need a specific size, color or both.  I believe that incorporating floor coverings into my projects leads to a unified look both visually and in the physical layout.  I am fearless in my use of color and pattern, so today’s modern rugs really suit my style, as well as the style of my typical client perfectly.

Want to see more? Go to www.johnmstephens.com.

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Dasha Morgan, Editor of Rug News and Design, freelance writer and editor in a number of publications, has a design degree from Chamberlyne Jr. College, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in English and European History.