House style

Floor cov­er­ings to covet, from work-of-art rugs to wood with tales to tell

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents - Jes­sica Doyle

Tread wisely with cool new rugs


Since es­tab­lish­ing wooden-floor­ing com­pany Ted Todd more than 20 years ago, Robert Walsh has be­come some­thing of a pi­o­neer. His was the first UK com­pany to make wide-plank oak boards in the 1990s, and he has gone on to cre­ate a huge range of de­signs, from clas­sic her­ring­bone planks to rather more dra­matic looks: che­quer­board car­bonised elm, for in­stance, or par­quet made from slices of oak that show the full cross sec­tion of a tree trunk.

But his fo­cus has al­ways been re­claimed wood, and the most in­ter­est­ing floors all have a story to tell. Per­haps the most in­trigu­ing from his lat­est col­lec­tion are Bri­tish Columbian pine boards re­claimed from the Old War Of­fice, which were in situ through­out both World Wars, un­til the build­ing was sold to de­vel­op­ers in 2014. The wood has been re­stored and made into engi­neered planks of vary­ing widths and lengths, avail­able in a nat­u­ral, oiled fin­ish that re­veals the patina of the wood, or bleached and oiled, which high­lights the pat­tern of the grain. wood­works­byt­ed­


Fol­low­ing the open­ing of its first new store in 10 years at West­field in Septem­ber, Habi­tat will open an­other this week, in Brighton. To mark the oc­ca­sion, the com­pany has com­mis­sioned three lo­cal artists to de­sign a rug in­spired by their life in the city. Nightswim by Lauri Hop­kins is taken from a col­lage, with coloured geo­met­ric shapes against a dark back­ground, hand-knot­ted in wool. Becky Blair’s Un­der­cliff comes from a col­lec­tion of pas­tel draw­ings, and is hand-tufted – mean­ing yarn is punched through a fab­ric base to cre­ate the pile – and hand­carved with scis­sors. Fi­nally, Blue Rocks by So­phie Ab­bott is a painterly de­sign in­spired by rock-pool for­ma­tions, made us­ing hand-tuft­ing and screen-print­ing. The lim­ited-edi­tion rugs will be avail­able in store and on­line. habi­

Above War Of­fice pine, from £212 per sq m, Wood­works by Ted Todd. Right (From left) So­phie Ab­bott, Lauri Hop­kins and Becky Blair with their rug de­signs for Habi­tat (clock­wise from left): Un­der­cliff, £400, Nightswim, £500, and Blue Rocks, £450, all 170 x 240cm

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