Monthly Archives: January 2015

Artful Beauty Underfoot

By Lisa Samuel, Owner, The Samuel Design Group

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I have been asked the question many times in my career whether the rug should be the first decision in designing a room’s interior. This is a variable and is determined on an individual basis; it is unique to each space and each individual for whom I am designing. Other designers may have a different point of view and may begin the design of each room with a rug. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Rugs are definitely an important part of the design of any room.

There is a vast array of rugs in today’s marketplace. The fiber used to make rugs varies from natural to synthetic. I prefer natural fibers like wool, cotton, hemp, sisal, banana silk, and a variety of grasses. In addition to the various fibers available there are various styles to choose from as well; such as flat weave or pile and many others.  Each of these fibers has specific characteristics and is therefore more appropriate for a specific use or style. Fine wool rugs that are hand knotted are very desirable and at the top of the price range. A very fine wool rug can take up to 1,000 days of work by a highly skilled weaver. A 9’ x 12’ rug is 108 square feet and 15,552 square inches. If the rug has 800 knots per square inch that would equal 12,441,600 knots! A highly skilled weaver can tie up to 12,000 knots per day. Fine rugs truly are a work of art and worth every penny spent.

Rugs can anchor a seating area in a large room, as well as add color and texture and warmth to any interior space. Consumers can be rather confused about what rug to choose or if they might choose carpet versus a fine rug. Rugs are either woven by hand or are machine loomed and range widely in price. Style and color are also a wide variable. Oriental rugs are generally produced in Russia, Turkey, India, Iran, Tibet, Pakistan, China, and Nepal. Persian rugs refer to a sub area of the Orient. When referring to a Persian rug, the area referred to is more specifically the “Old Persian Empire,” whose borders changed over its thousand year existence. Since 1979, Iran has been the modern day equivalent of Persia. Persian rugs are regarded by collectors as the finest rugs of all oriental styles of rugs. Genuine Persian rugs are hand knotted and their individual design reference specific townships and cities where they are created. Rugs produced in these countries are genuine oriental rugs and are handcrafted and, of course, are one of a kind. I consider them to be long lasting investments that become something one would pass along from generation to generation. With proper care, investment rugs will last a life time.

A professional interior designer can be of great help in determining the style, color, and size of the rug or rugs that would be right for your lifestyle, design, and budget.

Join Lisa and her guests on the first Sunday of each month for “Stylemakers By Design.” This live radio show is the monthly 2nd hour broadcast of All Things Real Estate and can be heard beginning at 1pm (Mountain Time) on Santa Fe’s 1260-AM and 101.5-FM, as well as via a stream of the show on Go to for more information about the radio program and to also connect with The Samuel Design Group.

How Do You Select an Architect?

By Craig Hoopes, Principal, Hoopes + Associates Architects

Most people go to architects because they cannot find a home for sale that meets their needs.  Perhaps there are not enough bedrooms or large enough spaces for the family.  Perhaps they need special spaces for their work at home or for a collection.  Maybe they are looking for something special.  Maybe they are re-envisioning their lives now that the kids are grown.

So how do you find the architect that will help you create the home that you want?  After all, in a very short amount of time you will be selecting someone whom you are trusting with what is probably the largest single investment you will make.  The first thing to do is create a list of architects that you think might be interesting to work with.  The easiest way to start is to ask friends who have built a home and now live in homes that you like or that you feel were successfully designed for your friends’ needs.  Augment this with an internet search for architects in your area and a search in local shelter magazines.  Call the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for a list of architects that do residential work.  Not all architects are, nor are they required to be, members of the AIA, but it is a good resource.  Lastly, do not be afraid to knock on the doors of houses you have admired in your community.  Owners of architect-designed homes usually love to talk about their project.

Once you have assembled a list of architects whose work you like, weigh the results and narrow the field down to the top five or fewer choices.  Every architect wants to feel that they have a chance at getting your commission, so don’t make the field too large.  Arrange interviews with the top candidates.  Ask how they charge for their fees.  Ask if your project schedule fits into their schedule and who in the office will be handling the project (larger firms may have an assortment of players, smaller firms may have higher principal involvement).  Ask to see their portfolio; make note of the houses that you like.  Ask for a list of references – clients as well as contractors.  You will want to know whether your architect ‘plays well with others’ in all parts of the project.  Once you have done that, narrow the field again to two or three and ask those architects to take you through one or two houses of their work that you liked in their portfolio.

Walking through spaces, you will get a sense of flow and proportion and light that may not reveal themselves in photographs.  After the walk-throughs, rank the architects again.  Call the references that you requested at the interview.  Call all references.  Chances are the architect will not have given names that (s)he thinks would give a bad recommendation; however, clients may open up to you about what they feel went right and what they feel went wrong.  Determine whether those issues that may not have gone smoothly are important issues to you.  Do a final ranking.

As an architect I have found that the most successful projects have been those where the client feels at ease talking about anything.  If you feel at ease with the architect, and you feel the architect is at ease with you, you will be able to better express your needs.  This also makes it easier to discuss some of the business issues as well should they crop up.  Be clear in your expectations; the architect will then be able to tell you whether those expectations can be met.  Spend time with the architect reviewing the contract.  And, most importantly, take time selecting your architect.  After all, you will be spending a lot of time with this person. These things will help make sure that you will have an enjoyable process designing your new home.