‘Carpet guru’ Tom Heduan has worked in the carpet business for his whole career, during which time he has built up a wealth of industry knowledge. He is well respected in the interior design world and currently works for Sandringham Carpets, where he creates bespoke carpets for his discerning clientele.
As part of London Design Week at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour and to mark the launch of our new ALLURE carpet range, Tom and our creative director Esti Barnes hosted an ‘Access All Areas’ session in the Topfloor showroom. We thought you might like to get to know him a little better!
You have worked in the industry for over 47 years – congratulations! What’s the secret of your success?
‘I started out by serving a five-year carpet apprenticeship with John Lewis Partnership, which covered all aspects of the trade from estimating, fitting and manufacturing to learning about Oriental carpets. I feel that this initial training has stood me in good stead throughout my career – it was a fantastic way to get a broad knowledge of the business and learn the skills I needed to succeed.’
When a client asks you for advice regarding a new carpet, how do you ensure that they make the right choice?
‘It is important that some practical questions are answered first of all: Where is the carpet for? How much wear and tear will it receive? How long is the client expecting it to last? Do they have children or pets? Then we can get down to the nitty-gritty of colour, style, material and pile weight. It’s important to handle carpet samples and even experience how they feel underfoot. As with most things, one should always buy the best quality one can afford – and that goes for the underlay as well. Scrimping in order to save a few pounds can end up costing the customer more in the long run. But in the end it all comes down to personal preference, so I just guide my clients gently through their decision process!’
You work at the luxury end of the market – have you spotted any emerging trends that you can share with us?
‘I feel that we are moving away from neutrals and that colour is making a comeback. Carpet doesn’t have to fade into the background – it can be an opportunity to make a statement. Neutrals are of course a versatile and practical choice, but they’re a bit “safe”. Bright hues, bold patterns and highly textured finishes are all popular at the moment.’
You often create bespoke products for your clients. This can be a complicated process – how do you ensure that it runs smoothly?
‘I work to a simple formula – I get to know my clients and we discuss their specification in detail. I create 3D CAD drawings of the suggested design and then produce a “hand trial”, so the customer can see and touch a sample of the carpet and get a good idea of the end result before it is made. Only then does the carpet go into production; a process which takes 8-10 weeks. Communication at all stages is so important – clients want to be involved in the process and need to feel totally confident that their specification is being met.’
Can you tell us anything about the clients you have worked with, or the products you have created for them?
‘Mum’s the word! Often I work with interior designers and don’t even know myself who the end user is – and why should I?’
For you, what would be the most important qualities of a luxury rug or carpet?
‘It’s all about using the best possible materials – do that and it’s hard to go wrong. If money were no object I would choose pure New Zealand wool every time.’
Many carpet trends have come and gone over the years – are there any that you were glad to see the back of?!
‘Shagpile! It’s not a look I ever liked and it’s impractical and high maintenance.’
What changes and developments do you predict for the industry over the coming years?
‘One exciting development is the rise of printed carpets – even on wool. Digitally printed designs are currently used mainly in the commercial sector, but with the technology improving all the time, I can see the process becoming more and more accessible. It is opening up new possibilities with regard to the designs and effects that can be created.’
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
‘I love the fact that no two days are the same. I really enjoy meeting new people – the relationships I build with them are important to me.’
Of all the projects you have worked on over the years, do you have a favourite?
‘Yes, I do – a house in Charlestown, South Carolina. I had to source Oriental rugs that each had to be not only the correct size but also the correct period for the house and its extensions. I had to take them all to South Carolina and position them in situ in order to get the clients’ approval. They took all the rugs I had chosen. It was a difficult but very rewarding project.’
Many thanks to Tom for answering our questions today and for sharing his knowledge and expertise during London Design Week. For more information about our new ALLURE collection, please contact us.