Pretty & Practical: Delightful Indoor/Outdoor Rugs

Flipping through the June 2011 issue of Elle Decor yesterday I came across the most fantastic kitchen in a Victorian townhouse in Gramercy Park. But what really caught my eye was the kitchen's beautiful rug. As I looked up the source information I was surprised to find that this rug is just as practical as it is pretty.

Not only is it durable, water resistant and easy to clean, it was designed by high-end textile artist Liora Manne. And it is reasonably priced for a designer rug (the 5x8 version of the "Souzani Diamonds" sells for $500).

Liora Manne's rugs are truly one of a kind. They feel like wool felt but are actually made with acrylic and polyester fibers. They are hand-made but also machine processed using cutting edge technology.

My favorites remind me both of Moroccan tiles and the colors and symmetry one may encounter in a microbiology textbook. Like the technique she uses to create her rugs, their designs are a lovely blend of natural and modern.

Using Lamontage, a special process Manne herself developed, fibers are intricately cut, blended and layered by hand. Then a needle loom mechanically interlocks these loose fibers into a nonwoven fabric that resembles felt. According to her website, the rugs are then coated with "an EPA approved SmartSilver™ antimicrobial finish, which permanently embeds microscopic silver particles in the rug." This coating helps prevent deterioration, odor and mildew, making the rugs an ideal choice for high-traffic and high-moisture areas like kitchens and patios.

I think I have found my new kitchen rug!

Images: 1. Elle Decor. 2-4. Liora Manne. 5. Hemphill Brett.

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