THE RIVER MAGAZINE | Summer 2018 15 E ver since the late 18th century, stair runners have been considered an elegant finish to the often over-looked and yet well-travelled flight of stairs in a home. Briefly during the 70s and 80s their popularity declined, but 25 years ago the stair runner experienced a huge resurgence. According to Arabella Budd, director of Lordship Flooring in south east London, “The rise of the stair runner since then has been, in part, due to the introduction to new colours, textures and designs of Venetian flat weave from designers such as Roger Oates.” “Making a feature of the entrance hall with the addition of a stair runner is a smart interior design decision. After all, this is usually the first thing you see upon arriving home or welcoming guests,”explained Arabella. “Not having to consider other soft furnishings such as curtains or cushions, allows manufacturers and homeowners alike to be more daring in their choices. Designers such as Roger Oates, Hartley Tissier and Fleetwood Fox now lead the market in woven wool runners with hundreds of designs and styles that suit all interior schemes and houses, from period to modern properties,” Arabella said, who is clearly passionate about interior design styles and home furnishings. “This form of woven runner is perfect for curved stair cases, as the malleable nature of the fabric means it can be gently manipulated around gradual curves. They can also be mitred around right angles and landings or sewn together to form wall to wall carpets or area rugs,” she continued. However, Arabella was cautious to point out that installation requires specialist skills as fitting involves upholstering the stair, and recommends a fitter experienced in those materials is used. Other traditional and contemporary carpet manufacturers have recently started offering their own runner ranges such as Alternative Flooring where their range includes ready-made animal prints, spots, geometric and retro designs. Brintons produce more traditional and patterned designs, while Crucial Trading have a great natural range of grasses like Sisal which can be bound at the edges to form a border. The wonderfully elegant contemporary selection from the Belgian company Louis de Poortere is also worth investigating. “At Lordship Flooring, we can custom-make any carpet into runners which we either whip (a thin yarn is applied to seal the edge), bind with a fabric border, or simply tuck,” Arabella continued. LORDSHIP FLOORING East Dulwich 129-131 Lordship Lane SE22 8HU t: 020 8693 8728 e: Blackheath Village Brigade Street SE3 0TW t: 020 8852 8109 e: w: “The benefit of this is that they generally cost less than a ready made design, and can be made to any width (ready made runners are typically between 60-70cms). Landings or additional flights or rooms can be covered in the same carpet, giving continuity and fluidity to a scheme.” The only thing left to consider is whether or not to add stair rods. Originally, rods were necessary to secure the carpet but now are added for aesthetic reasons and is purely a personal choice. With or without, there can be few better ways to make an impression at the entrance of a stylish home. We spoke to Arabella Budd from Lordship Flooring about the rise of the classic stair runner. by mel hutton Arabella Budd