It’s week 4 of Home Glow’s Saturday Blog — the Thursday ORC edition. Quick recap — I’m turning a 19th century blacksmith shop into a studio for Home Glow Design. I call it my Ultimate She-Shed, because, after nearly 8 years as a stay-at-home parent to boys, getting back into the professional world is a happy, creative place for me.
If you are new, you can catch up on “The Ultimate She-Shed” here:
- WEEK 1 — A TALE OF 2 SCHEMES
- WEEK 2 — THE PLAN AND THE PROBLEMS!!!
- Week 3 — How to Mix & Match Lighting in the Same Room
Today I’ll be exploring wall-to-wall seagrass carpet (which was installed Friday, despite all the delivery problems!) and why I chose it for Home Glow’s She-Shed.
I honestly don’t have a ton of images to show you of the She-Shed today — only some pretty bad iPhone pics (taken by my GC — I had to take the kids to visit their grandparents for spring break). But we’ll go through some inspiration pics, some pros/cons, and why I think it was appropriate in this scenario.
Pros/Cons: Wall-to-Wall Seagrass Carpet 101
Why wall-to-wall seagrass carpet in the She-Shed? First, the pros of wall-to-wall seagrass:
- It’s inexpensive.
- It wears like iron and is naturally stain-resistant (seagrass is grown in water and is basically non-absorbent).
- It’s static free and doesn’t attract dust or dirt. Rather, particulates sit on top of the fiber for easy vacuuming.
- It’s flat and great for layering rugs.
- It’s stylistically beautiful and a time-tested classic.
Let’s start with the last reason — the pretty factor. Seagrass carpeting is wonderful in neo-traditional, farmhouse, coastal, and modern interiors. It is favored by million-dollar decorators the world over, from British Ben Pentreath…
…to Aussie Cameron Kimber…
…to the fabulous Mark Cunningham.
Shaun Smith used it in his 1950s ranch in New Orleans …
… and Dan Mazzarini used it in this super colorful and fun neo-trad home in New Jersey.
Lauren Liess loves her wall-to-wall seagrass, and seagrass carpet is #3 on Cote de Texas’s Joni Webb’s Top 10 Design Elements.
Now let’s go to reasons 1-4: inexpensive, durable/stain-and-dirt-resistant, great for layering.
Ben Pentreath pretty much says it all, and I quote, “Seagrass is brilliant on floors. It’s cheap and beautiful, and it smells delicious.” Then he shows us in pictures how he uses seagrass as a base for layering decorative rugs.
This is one of my favorite Ben Pentreath rooms from his house in Dorset.
I thought I spied wall-to-wall seagrass, but then when Laurel Bern visited Ben’s house (how jealous am I?!?!?!), she snapped a pic that proved my hunch correct.
Now for the cons.
- Seagrass carpet is not soft underfoot. It is smooth … but not plush. Some people love the feeling beneath their toes and some hate it. If you’re thinking about seagrass, get samples and try them out barefoot.
- Color — Basically one: natural. It starts out with a greenish tinge, but with breathing, mellows to wheat. If you layer rugs over it, the carpet beneath the rug will stay greenish longer.
- Odor — It smells like a basket when first installed. The odor dissipates in a few days. I can deal with the smell of a freshly made basket.
There really aren’t that many cons in my mind. It really comes down to whether or not you like the look and feel.
Why I Chose Seagrass Carpet
I think wall-to-wall seagrass is a classic look that works well in areas that would be good for wood flooring (or tile or stone) where those higher-end hard surfaces may be cost-prohibitive. I chose this pattern from one of my trade vendors, Fibreworks.
In the She-Shed, I couldn’t afford to do wood floor. I could have done luxury vinyl plank to mimic wood, but I’d decided I’d rather do something that is authentic in its own way and not pretending to be another type of surface. I can’t be entirely historically accurate with this building, anyway. The original building was literally a shed — no plaster walls, just boards and beams — so accuracy is not even in the equation.
Also, I wanted something hard without being cold, like tile. The seagrass gives the warmth of a natural texture (and makes me think of horses chewing on hay while they were shod), and it gives me the option of layering a rug on top.
Lastly, the stain and dirt-resistance factor sold me. People will be coming into the She-Shed directly from outside, and I don’t plan on asking clients to remove their shoes. Easy cleaning was a must.
Ok, I’ll get better pics when I get back home with the kids, but here’s an idea of what it’s looking like in situ.
Some Things to Know
Shrinkage — All natural fibers are ‘hydroscopic’ and react to changes in the humidity. You should allow your carpet to acclimate to its environment for at least 24 hours (I didn’t get this luxury, so we’ll see how it goes. My installer assures me it won’t be a problem), and make sure to use a quality primer on wood or concrete subfloors. Putting baseboard over the edges of the carpet — or adding a quarter-round molding when baseboards are already present — will help gaps from forming at the walls due to shrinkage.
Cushioning — Seagrass carpet is usually glued directly to the subfloor, making it more of a hard surface like wood or tile rather than what most people thing of when they imagine wall-to-wall carpeting. If you want a spongier feel underfoot, you can add a dual-stick urethane pad, but a thin one is best. One side will be glued to the seagrass with a permanent adhesive and the other side, the one that will rest on your subfloor, must be glued with a pressure-sensitive adhesive.
Seams — Jodi Webb (see above) swears that seams will not show if carpeting is installed well. Fibreworks has a great tip on how to achieve invisible seams in its installation guide.
Any thoughts? Do you have wall-to-wall seagrass in your home? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences!
I’ll be taking Saturday off to spend with the family, but I’ll be back next Thursday to talk about what I have planned for organizing this office. In the meantime, please be sure to check out all the other ORC participants. Have a great weekend!