Roger Oates Design is renowned for signature striped stair runners and rugs in bold colours and vibrant designs, which have a particular way of enhancing all kinds of interiors from simple country boltholes to smart, formal town houses.
Founded over 30 years ago, the company is the market leader in flatweave flooring. Flatweave was popular in the 18th century to protect the best carpets in grand country houses, but by the mid-20th century it had lost favour and was almost extinct. Roger Oates Design was largely responsible for transforming it into the highly desirable decorative floorcovering that it is today.
Roger Oates Design is a British brand through and through, and has always been proud of this heritage. Weaving takes place on traditional Hattersley looms in small-scale mills in the south of England using a British Cheviot 100 per cent wool blend, spun and dyed in Yorkshire. The looms, operated by a team of skilled weavers, have been specially adapted to weave heavy wool flooring.
The woven texture and finished edge make the flatweave perfect ‘upholstery for stairs’, and the narrow widths can
be hand-sewn together to create rugs and wall-to-wall floor coverings of almost any dimension, finished with a selvedge edge or bound with linen tape.
Design and finishing take place at the Herefordshire workshop, and the human touch is evident at every stage. A woven roll of 40 metres can take one of the skilled sewing team up to eight hours to hand finish – invisibly darned where necessary. Hand sewing and darning require not only skill and dexterity but also extensive knowledge of the construction of the flatweave cloth. ‘Staying true to traditional techniques keeps our designs tethered to the people and skills involved in their production – giving our flatweave a beauty and honesty that is admired across the globe,’ says Andy Guard, creative director.
In 2020 Roger Oates Design established new ways of working, many of which will continue into 2021 and beyond. The ability to offer instant advice and inspiration through social media played an important role in keeping the brand connected to its loyal customers as well as introducing it to new ones. Clients were helped to visualise how their rugs and runners might look in situ through two downloadable online brochures and an extensive online Inspiration Gallery. The online Lifestyle Store, offering cushions, benches and travel bags, was expanded to include finished rugs and runners.
Roger Oates Design showrooms in London and Eastnor were open by appointment offering dedicated individual time; and video consultations could be booked for expert advice on design, measuring and fitting. Their bespoke service, often called on by interior designers, continues to offer individual designs and customised colours and widths – all without losing the Roger Oates Design signature.
2021 will herald a new collection exploring clashing colours and experimental weaving patterns, as well as the opening of a new flagship space in Chelsea’s design district in early spring. The future for timeless floor coverings that combine classic heritage with a contemporary edge is, one could say, far from flat.