Designers’ Notebooks

By Ann Shriver Sargent at
Download the full article in PDF format

Jennifer and her team embodies all the things one is hoping to find in a professional interior design firm, taste, attention to detail, business acumen, and a lovely personality with an easy laugh. I first met Jennifer at her showroom and offices in Portland Oregon and was treated to not only well-appointed interior spaces and a beautiful meeting room but a magnificent outdoor living and garden scape. I feel fortunate to have had several other opportunities to meet up with the Nifelle group in High Point and New York since our first meeting in Portland where I had possibly the best Taco ever ½ mile from their showroom.


How do rugs and the selection of them come into your design process?
I always like to start the design process with the rug – I see it as the foundation of the room and I build up from there; selecting fabrics, wallpapers, and paint colors after we have secured a fabulous rug!

If you wanted potential design clients to know one important thing about rugs in interiors what would that be?
That they are crucial in defining your space – whether they are the quiet backdrop to a serene and neutral space, or a vibrant design with lots of pattern and color, they ground the room and set the stage for how you will feel in the space.

I also do a lot of education with my clients regarding rug fabrication and quality. Investing in a good quality rug is important – I prefer hand-knotted rugs, made of high quality wool with minimal processing so that the fibers retain the natural lanolin for stain resistance and softness.

Do you have favorite fibers you like for your rugs?
Again, quality wool minimally processed with lots of natural lanolin. Silk woven in with wool can add some lovely sheen and softness, as well as a bit of formality. Other natural fibers added in such as hemp can create some interesting texture. I try to avoid viscose rugs, which are flooding the retail marketplace, as while they are very soft they are impractical and not cleanable.

Where do you source the beautiful variety of rugs that are in your portfolio?
I love the challenge of finding the perfect rug for a space, and often hunt for clients at High Point Furniture Market or in NY from some of my favorite vendors. I love Eliko on Madison Avenue in NY for antique pieces, as well as custom made to order anything under the sun pieces. Feizy has some lovely one-of-a-kind rugs, as well as Togar in Ashville NC for new and vintage Turkish rugs. Locally I love Kush Rugs, where owners Brian and Rebecca have curated a wide variety of exceptional pieces. Stark is a classic fave, especially for custom stair runners; I’m pretty sure I can never get enough of their spotted Kubra pattern…it’s pretty much the best.