Reinventing flatweave stair runners and rugs for the 21st-century
It was the chance discovery of a historic Venetian flatweave sample in the late 1980s when flatweave had become almost extinct, that inspired Roger Oates and his wife Fay to reinvent this type of narrow width flooring for the 21st-century.
The company began almost 30 years ago with a single hand loom in a small studio in the market town of Ledbury. Today, with a showroom on the Eastnor Castle Estate in Herefordshire as well as London’s Chelsea, Roger Oates Design is the market leader in flatweave floorcoverings, which are highly sought after by interior designers and homeowners across the globe. Andy Guard now takes the lead role as Head of Design, producing yearly collections that build on the heritage of the brand.
The company is renowned for signature stripe stair runners and rugs. The unique flatwoven texture, vibrant designs and bold use of colour, form the company’s iconic striped handwriting for floorcoverings and sets it apart from others in the industry. The collection includes statement, stripe borders and all over classic fine lines in a carefully edited colour palette ranging from quiet, sophisticated neutrals to bold, vibrant brights. A selection of the runners has a border design for the stairs with a complementary ‘ground’ design for landings and fitted carpets.
The narrow-woven width, natural selvedge edge and supple nature makes flatweave floorcoverings ‘perfect upholstery for stairs’ as they can easily be sculptured and fitted around almost any staircase to create a smart, tailored appearance. The widths can also be joined by hand to create highly distinctive rugs of almost any dimension and wall to wall carpets for any room in the house. The current collection spans over 140 designs but for those who want an extra degree of personalisation, bespoke options including custom colours and widths are possible and the design team can work closely with clients to create something unique.
The idea of staying true to the art of the handmade is intrinsic to Roger Oates Design. The British wool blend is spun and dyed in Yorkshire and the runners are woven on specially adapted traditional shuttle looms once used to produce Harris Tweed. Each loom is run by a skilled operator and the complex drafting and lifting creates the weave structure that gives the cloth its unparalleled personality and ‘hand-finished’ quality.
New this year is The Gallery Collection, which was inspired by recent art exhibitions in London. The simple stripe and grid patterns of ‘Hayward & Fairfax’ rugs and carpets take their design cues from the geometric drawings of Agnes Martin, as seen at the Tate Modern while ‘Switch’ (named after Switch House at the Tate Modern) began as an experiment in balance. The bold multi-width stripes in complementary tones balance one another across the asymmetric design, creating a generous pattern when joined as a rug.
From simple country bolthole to smart city home, Roger Oates Design runners and rugs enhance any interior scheme, either as a standalone feature, or as a classic backdrop in a formal setting.
Roger Oates Design, 1 Munro Terrace, Riley Street, Chelsea, London, SW10 0DL. +44 (0)20 7351 2288