CARPET DIEM

by STACEY MARCUS

NOW THAT YOU ARE MOST LIKELY SPENDING EXTRA TIME AT HOME, it’s more important than ever to create a space that is both inviting and inspirational. “Starting with a rug is a great foundation for building your space,” says Rhiannon Esposito, general manager at Fine Rugs of Charleston. “We love helping our customers layer their floor plans with tailor-made designs, colors and textures.” Esposito’s enthusiasm and passion for the magic of carpeting and flooring is a result of working for the company’s owner, Rob Leahy, who launched Fine Rugs of Charleston 17 years ago.

Before opening Fine Rugs of Charleston, Leahy, who possesses a vast knowledge of the textile and apparel industries, was a rug buyer in Washington, D.C. He worked for Milliken, a global giant in the industry since 1865, and was semiretired but not yet ready to give up his dream of owning his own retail shop. Leahy moved to Charleston to find a business and opened Fine Rugs of Charleston on Broad Street. Today, the 5,000-square-foot showroom offers designers and homeowners high-quality products and exceptional customer service thanks to its diverse team and partnership with the International Design Guild, the sole luxury flooring alliance in the country. The company’s mission proudly states its commitment to an exceptional customer experience: “We’re an independently owned flooring design showroom, as well as a member of the International Design Guild. Through this affiliate, we can provide top-quality products and services as we focus on serving the needs of the luxury consumer. With years of flooring and design experience, we aim to inspire our clients and guide them to create a room that matches their style and lifestyle for years of long-lasting beauty.”

A visit to the showroom design studio illuminates a myriad of choices to create a bespoke space. “We have a large selection of carpet and flooring,” says Esposito, who notes that the vast collections include everything from vintage to contemporary as well as a stunning selection of hand-knotted rugs. Boasting a curated collection of area rugs, carpeting and flooring, Fine Rugs of Charleston also offers custom capabilities, stair runners, wall-to-wall carpeting and a knowledgeable team of experts. “We are completely full service,” says Esposito, who emphasizes that the team can assist homeowners and designers from concept to installation.

“It’s always best to come into the showroom with a color scheme in mind,” says Esposito, cautioning that it is harder to plug in a rug at the end of a project than at the beginning. Some popular color trends are grays, blues, beiges and natural colors, inspired by Charleston’s coastal location. She notes that recently customers are getting more adventurous with color, fusing traditional designs with contemporary hues like oranges, pinks and aquas. Another emerging trend is Oushak rugs in unexpected colors, such as pastels and jewel tones. 

Leahy scours the globe to bring high quality and value to his loyal customers. His travels include frequent trips to India, Turkey and China. He visited Afghanistan in 2007 to assist its carpet weavers. After witnessing their challenges, he was inspired to help discover solutions to the many problems that the Afghan carpet trade encounters. He subsequently launched Impact Carpet Associates, LLC with three partners. The company received generous support from USAID. He has also set up Kabul Carpet Export Center to help empower the women weavers by giving them access to business development training and education.

Esposito adores working for a company that is committed to wowing their customers and making a difference in the world. She also delights in working with an inspired team. “Good design starts from the design team,” she says. “We have a well-rounded staff who can assist homeowners and designers with all of their needs.” *

Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle, luxury and travel writer. Her works have appeared in Art New England, Boston, Boston Common Magazine, Coastal Design Magazine, Charleston Style & Design, Modern Luxury Chicago, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy.comRD.com and many others. A lover of big words and little white dogs, Stacey’s biggest joys are found in life’s simple moments.