STORY
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In Conversation: Erica Moreno of FLOR

When it comes to designing Home for the Holidays, FLOR’s got us covered with the carpeting that really “ties our rooms together.” We caught up with one of FLOR’s designers, Erica Moreno, to learn more about how custom rug experiences fit into the overarching interior design process.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into design – and rug experience, specifically?
I come from an interior background. I studied interior design at SVA (The School of Visual Arts) here in New  York City. I ended up working at Jonathan Adler and CB2 – places that have a full range of design concepts – before I ended up at FLOR two years ago. Working at FLOR was obviously very different because it’s a single market, and at first I worried that it might get a little boring. But it’s still a lot of fun. I got to work on the children’s room at the new New York Public Library on 53rd street, and I also worked on Barneys’ Lisa Perry pop-up shop that included a lot of really fun and crazy colors. I’ve been lucky to have worked on a lot of amazing projects.

Do you find working within a single market more challenging in some aspects?
It’s not too challenging because the product is so versatile in terms of cuts and colors and patterns. The rug that we did for Home for the Holidays in the children’s space, for example – we chopped it up and mixed colors and patterns and textures, so there was a lot of freedom.

What are some of the different challenges that come with designing a custom rug experience for a retail space as opposed to a home?
Number one is color. People tend to gravitate towards lighter colors, and what they often don’t fully wrap their heads around is the fact that this is flooring. Most customers tend to want to go lighter. Our product is commercial grade, so we know our rugs can take a beating and endure a lot of foot traffic, but often the first instinct is to do something plain. A lot of our customers don’t realize that there are so many options before doing something like plain grey. So we usually go all over the world with our first-time customers and then circle back. 

Were there any surprises when you worked with the space at STORY for Home for the Holidays?
I think it’s exciting when the first thing you notice in a store is the rug. The bright colors really jump out when you first enter the women’s or children’s room.

At what stage of the design do you come in?
It really depends with each client. I tend to let people look around and feel it out, and then we pretty much have to get into it. The product is still pretty new for a lot of people. We have a ton of first-time clients and most people we have to walk through gradually.

We all know Lebowski’s famous line: “The rug really tied the room together!” – Do you view rugs in a space as a “pièce de résistance,” or as something that’s more integral to the whole design experience?
Everyone is used to thinking about rugs as a finishing piece, but they can be such a good starting point. Once you have something on the floor, it really sets the mood. A sofa is pretty standard – it’s often not the most exciting piece. Because we have so many options and it can act as such a creative element, it can really set tone for the rest of space when introduced early on.

FLOR sources reclaimed and recycled materials for every tile. How does a commitment to sustainability inform your design process?
Just off the bat, we’re committed to sustainability no matter what – we’re a totally green company. All of our new collections are made out of 100% recycled content. It’s often a bonus feature for most clients – they get a super eco-friendly product that just so happens to look amazing.

What’s one thing we can’t learn about you from googling?
A lot of our product is made from recycled tiles as well as recycled fishing nets. We often recycle fishing nets from the Philippines.

Favorite spot in NYC?
Taco Shop in the West Village, Right off of 6th. You have to get the margarita (always). They have a full upstairs restaurant, but we usually go to the little spot in the basement.