Natalie Kotinis an interior designer based in California. After undergrad at Brown, where she studied architectural history and French, she honed her design skills at LA-based Commune Design. This year, she and her chef husband moved to Paris, taking multiple research trips to the south of France. But more on that later. Here, we chat with her about rugs. Pictured in this email: a residential project in Altadena.
Tell us about your approach to rug buying. "I basically spend thousands, upon thousands, of hours searching for rugs online."
Do you have any rug hacks you want to share? "I'm constantly saving rugs I find online, because sometimes you're looking for something really specific in a room, and you find a rug which doesn't quite fit the room right then, but you need to save the ones you find over the years so your hours don't get lost.
And then there is the age-old debate. Of starting with the rug or ending with the rug. I think a lot of people try to end with the rug, to tie everything together. But: if you start with the rug, it's much easier."
Furniture legs: on or off? "Either works, but whatever you choose, go all the way. I had a professor in grad school at Pratt who riled against legs half-on/half-off. He thought that beyond wobbly chairs and toe hazards, it made a room look sloppy. He had a lot of strange rules, but I still sort of buy this one.
I think there are exceptions—I don't see why a headboard or the back legs of a sofa need to be under a rug when they're against a wall—no one's walking back there, and furniture pads won't be visible. 'Furniture splitting' (the new official term I just made up) can also be unavoidable with irregular shapes like cowhides or sheepskins.
But in general, I'd say find a rug that's big enough to actually fit. And if it doesn't, better to size down and let it float than live in the wobbly in-between."
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