For Manhattan Designer William R. Eubanks The Rug Creates Drama in Decor

AREA September 2011

The Oriental Rug Importers Association, Inc.

Allen Mims

Like all children, William R. Eubanks wanted to ride a magic carpet but he was first truly bitten by the rug bug at 18 when he purchased a 19th century Central Asian prayer rug. “This began my love affair with rugs,” states the designer. Based in Palm Beach and New York, Eubanks is renowned for his classical English and French interior. “I have always been fascinated by how rug weaving has been a major part of international commerce through the centuries.”

Most importantly, Eubanks adds: “I look at handmade rugs from a purely artistic standpoint, and I enjoy their flaws as much as the carpet themselves.” The subtle variations caused by the abrash from vegetable dyes and the telltale wear revealing old traffic patterns are what distinguish handmade rugs from their more uniform machine-made counterparts. Furthermore, whether they are now or old, he comments: “Handmade rugs hold their value over time and can be passed on from one generation to the next.” He also finds that clients are increasingly sensitive to the sustainable aspect of handmade rugs as they are paying more attention to their environment—both inside and outside the home.

“We always start with fabrics and never have a problem finding the right rug,” remarks Eubanks who shops for rugs with his associate Mitchell Brown. The two particularly love rugs with an abrashed background which facilitates coordinating with fabrics in various shades. “Color-driven” in their design, they select antique and new rugs that fall into the neutrals or the jewel tones including saffrons and reds. Eubanks was first drawn to the bolder designs and more saturated hues found in Oushaks and tribal pieces including Caucasians, Bakshaishes, and Serapis which he finds particularly appropriate for casual spaces. However, the designers shy away from darker, heavier hues associated with the Victorian palette. Meanwhile, European-style rugs, such as the French Aubussons and Savonneries, find their way into the designer’s more formal interiors. Of late, Mssrs. Eubanks and Brown have discovered the amazing versatility of custom-designing and coloring rugs in different textures such as wool-silk Tibetan rugs. “We love the freedom you have when customizing rugs with different color poms,” notes Eubanks.

“We tend to use one larger rug in a room because we find it pulls together all of the room’s components into one statement and is an expression of style,” assert the designer. When creating a more casual ambiance or when budget enters the equation, the designers often use two or more rugs to delineate conversation areas. Indeed, one large rug is generally more expensive than several smaller ones.

Mssrs. Eubanks and Brown use rugs throughout the home—even in kitchens—generally placing antiques in the public rooms and new rugs, such as Tibetans, in the back rooms. “They create texture and warmth over floors whether they are wood or stone,” comment Eubanks. From the design standpoint, they add another layer in the overall décor. “The rug anchors the room while creating the drama in the décor.” he continues. In their more elaborate rooms, the designers often hang tapestries or a beautiful carpet that “becomes a textile on the wall” in conjunction with paintings and rugs. Connecting one rug to the other in home “is like opening a book and telling a story’ where a geometric tribal runner can lead to a floral-patterned Art Deco piece if their colors relate.

The green aspect of handmade rugs, particularly with respect to vegetable-dyed rugs and antiques, is unquestionable. Indeed, the very fact that they can bee passed—literally—from generation to generations is compelling.


William R. Eubanks hold a B.F.A. and license in interior design and is a prestigious member of ASID, IIDA, the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America, The Interiors Design Alliance Advisory Board, and the Interior Design Advisory Board for the University of Memphis.

A leading international interior designer and antiques purveyor, William R. Eubanks is renowned for mastering the subtleties of timeless design featuring French and English antiques, oriental porcelains, sumptuous silks, Damask fabrics, and jewel-tone colors. He particularly excels in all things design—from being named one of the top 50 designers in the U.S. be Elements of Living to receiving the inaugural “Star of Design award from the Design Center of the Americas. Mr. Eubanks’ work has been featured in numerous shelter publications including Veranda, Southern Accents, Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens, and Great Designers of the World.