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RPM Carpets & Floor Coverings
When it comes to flooring on Cape Cod, it’s all about casual elegance. For second homeowners on Cape Cod, it’s all about sophisticated, but casual elegance. And when it comes to floors, it’s most often about the finest hardwoods and custom area rugs.
Donna Stevens Morris, of RPM Carpets on Cape Cod, works closely with clients and designers, providing concierge design services as well as custom rug fabrication. “They are very particular and will not compromise quality,” she says of second homeowners. "They also most often want styles much different from their primary homes. Year round, they will be more formal and opt for darker hues. They may be inclined toward carpeting. But on the Cape, they want brighter colors and natural fibers for area rugs that show off hardwood floors. It’s not just about Cape Cod style, but context and practicality," observes Morris.
Natural fibers like sisal, sea grass and jute merge into the coastal environment. The traditions of New England also encourage clients to consider hooked wool rugs. Morris encourages clients toward choices that break down the barrier between a home’s interior and the expansive Cape Cod environment often right outside the door. “That begins with the Cape’s distinctive sunlight, which has captured the imaginations of artists for centuries, and it plays a powerful role in home design. Sunlight is critical,” she explains. “Homes are designed to face certain directions, to capture the light and merge with the landscape and seascape. That’s also where practicality plays a big role, that sunlight will tend to fade intense colors and heavy fabrics. At the same time, constant activity brings sand into the home, so heavy pile carpeting doesn’t make as much sense as it might off-Cape. Then there are the kids, grandkids and dogs running about; that’s what a seasonal home is all about,” Morris says.
So, on Cape Cod, it’s about easy care, durability and style. Sisal, for example, comes from the highest grade plant fibers and does not build up static or trap dust. It’s a low-maintenance alternative. Sea grass fibers are reed-like and smooth to the touch with slight natural sheen, leading to great durability. Its neutral colors of light brown and beige with sage-green tinges merge well with the Cape’s landscape. This is even truer when clients purchase combinations of indoor and outdoor rugs, as they extend their living areas to the decks and patios, often building outdoor kitchens, replete with bars and televisions.
Casual and informal doesn’t mean cheap. Her clients increasingly opt for custom area rug treatments that blend uniquely into their homes and express personal feelings about their Cape experience. “A second home for many of my clients represents a dream come true. It voices their aspirations, as well as their very deep feelings about Cape Cod,” says Morris. “In addition, many of my clients have designed and built their own homes or dramatically remodeled houses. In doing so, they have emphasized hardwood floors, often made from many different woods. Area rugs let them highlight those woods and stains.” As a result, Morris shops and orders from exclusive manufacturers that will charge as much as $14 to $25 per square foot, compared with standard brands that could run no more than $5 a square foot. “My average order from my second-home clients probably run around $17 per square foot,” she explains. Then there are colors. “On the Cape, the favorite shades of my clients are blue, white, turquoise, yellow and soft green,” says Morris.
While her biggest sellers are usually 8 feet by 10 feet, or 5 feet by 8 feet rugs, many clients ask for custom fabrication to best fit their unique room designs. “I encourage clients to come into RPM with cloth swatches, a pillow, photos they can show me on their iPhone or iPad,” she explains. “We will most often go to their homes to measure the layouts and recommend the correct size, while asking important questions: Do you want furniture on the rug? How much wood do you want exposed? What are the pathways for you, your family, guests, pets?"
Donna Stevens Morris can be reached at RPM Carpets in Harwich at 508-432-4151.
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New England Home showcases the unique architecture and superior design and building that define the luxury home in New England. From cutting edge lofts to historic dwellings, New England Home is your guide to the very best of New England style. Each issue includes beautifully produced images of our area’s most amazing homes, along with profiles of artists and artisans and all the latest resources and design trends.