How Interior Designer Alex Kalita Came Around on Custom Rugs

How Interior Designer Alex Kalita Came Around on Custom Rugs

Interior designer Alex Kalita was never a rug person. But when she had to cover creaky floors, a custom sisal rug turned out to be the perfect solution.


When we first started working together, interior designer and co-founder of Common Bond Design Alex Kalita warned us she was never a “rug person.” She never even considered using custom rugs for interior design… until circumstances in her own home forced her hand.

In Brooklyn, it’s common for older buildings to have special requirements for apartment renters. From noise reduction to pet restrictions, these lease agreements can restrict what renters can or cannot do to make their apartment feel more like a home.

It was one such lease agreement that opened Alex’s eyes to everything custom rugs could offer. It all started when she moved into a truly classic Brooklyn railroad apartment, complete with beautiful hardwood floors she couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, all that hardwood presented a challenge.

An Ironclad Lease

Alex’s railroad apartment featured beautiful, wide plank hardwood floors from the early 20th or even late 19th century spanning the entirety of the long, narrow space. The honey pine wood gave a warm, inviting glow to every room in her apartment and provided the perfect centerpiece for a lovely interior design showcase.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with old hardwood, Alex’s beloved floors were nearly as loud as they were beautiful. Whenever anyone so much as set foot in her apartment, they creaked and groaned loudly enough to be heard floors away. 

The racket got so bad that her building had added a special stipulation to her lease agreement: the sound of the floor would have to be muffled.

“It broke my heart to have to cover them, but those beautiful floors were extremely creaky,” Alex remembers. “My neighbors would have thought I was bowling.”

Required to cover at least 80-90% of her hardwood floors and spare the ears of her neighbors, Alex needed to find a floor covering that would fit nearly her whole apartment. But with such a long and narrow space to work with, not just any flooring would do the trick.

Balancing Size, Durability, and Style

Understandably, Alex struggled to find a solution to her problem at first. It proved quite difficult to find any covering long enough to work that wouldn’t also look awkwardly mismatched to the size of the apartment. She needed something narrow and compact enough, but that also had enough surface area to cover almost all of her flooring. Given that the rug would span every room of her apartment, she would also need to find something that could endure the kinds of stains and messes that her kitchen would generate.

As if all that wasn’t tricky enough, whatever rug Alex ended up with would also have to be nearly indestructible. Alex hosted enough that she would have people stepping all over the rug about as soon as she laid it down. Then there was the issue of Hektor—the adorable but rambunctious puggle Alex shared custody of. Whatever rug she found would have to endure Hektor’s frantic pawing and scratching.

puggle on a pet friendly indoor outdoor sisal rug

Pictured above: Hektor, Alex’s puggle, happily destroying a tennis ball on Alex’s new sisal rug.

Last but not least, there was the aesthetic consideration—no mere indulgence given Alex’s line of work. Alex would need to find a rug that would showcase her taste, complementing the little bit of hardwood she could show off and helping convince clients she could design their dream space.

To balance all of these concerns without compromise, Alex needed to take her interior design skills in a direction she had never explored before and commit to a custom sisal rug.

The Perfect Fit

It turns out Alex was a rug person after all. The custom Four Seasons sisal rug she had delivered directly to her apartment satisfied her every need and then some. 

At a custom size of 7’6”x17”, the rug covers what it has to cover without awkwardly curling up the sides of the walls or doorways. It’s also proven rugged enough to survive both bolognese accidents and the constant attention of a certain ferocious furry friend.

Alex is equally happy with how the rug complements the rest of her apartment. An understated piece, the sisal rug helps draw wandering eyes to the uncovered sections of the hardwood floor, making it the perfect complement to her apartment’s existing décor, which was chosen for similar reasons.

Despite initial concerns, Alex was even quite pleased with the color she ended up choosing: Belize Dune with a matching Serging border. 

Belize Dune Indoor outdoor sisal area rug layered with a kilm tribal rug

Pictured above: Alex’s new sisal rug pairs well with the rest of her apartment.

“I was worried a coastal sisal rug might clash with my more engineered and architectural furniture,” she explained, “but it ended up providing a fun contrast. It also helps my home feel larger. With such narrow and long rooms, the sisal rug helps the space feel more like a home and less like a hallway.”

With the help of Sisal’s custom rugs, Alex was able to spare her neighbor’s ears without compromising on her need for interior design excellence. She ended up with a perfect complement to her existing décor, an enduring and practical solution to a serious challenge, and a newfound appreciation for custom rugs.

For more makeover inspiration like Alex’s, check out these three room makeovers from interior designers that are sure to impress.

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