William R. Eubanks

The Decorative Carpet 2010

Alix G. Perrachon
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Like many children, William R. Eubanks dreamed of riding a magic carpet, but dates his first serious involvement with rugs to the age of eighteen, when he purchased a nineteenth-century Central Asian prayer rug. “I have always been fascinated by how rug weaving has been a major part of international commerce through the centuries—today there are five million people weaving rugs in Iran,” he states. Renowned for the classical English and French interiors he creates for clients out of his offices in Palm Beach and New York, he explains, “I look at handmade rugs from a purely artistic standpoint, and I enjoy their flaws as much as the carpets themselves.”

Eubanks particularly admires the subtle variations caused by the abrash from the vegetable dyes and the telltale wear indicative of age-old patterns, since these distinguish handmade rugs from their uniform-looking, machine-made counterparts. Moreover, new or old, he affirms, “handmade rugs hold their value over time and can be passed on from one generation to the next—not so for machine-made rugs.”His clients have also begun seeking out handmade rugs specifically for their sustainable aspects as the become increasingly alert to environmental pollutants both inside and outside the home.

“We always start with a room’s fabrics and never have a problem finding the right rug,” say Eubanks, who shops for rugs with his associate Mitchell Brown. The two particularly love rugs with an abrashed, striated background because they facilitate coordinating with fabrics in various shades. While they consider their overall design “color-driven,” they tend to select very light-toned rugs that have almost no color ot that fall into the jewel tones including saffron and reds, but stay away from the darker, heavier hues associated with a Victorian palette.

“We love to use one large rug in a room because we find it pulls all of its components together into one statement,” Eubanks says. He will delineate two or more conversation areas in a space with rugs when appropriate as well, however, especially when budget enters the equation. He believes that formal interiors call for more elaborately refined rugs such as French Aubussons and Savonneries while Oushaks, Caucasians, Bakshaishes, and Serapis lend themselves better to casual spaces that generally feature bolder designs and more saturated hues.

Eubanks and Brown position rugs throughout a residence, even in the kitchen with antiques generally placed in public rooms and new rugs such as Tibetans in private spaces. In their more elaborate projects, they often hang tapestries or a beautiful carpet that “becomes a textile on the wall.” To them the progression from one rug to another in the home is “like opening a book and telling story.”