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Date published: October 10 2015

It was the discovery of an historic flatweave sample over 25 years ago that inspired Roger Oates and Fay his wife and design partner, to use their respective textile training backgrounds and focus on reinventing, designing and producing this very specific type of floorcovering for the 21st century.

Today, ‘Venetian’ Flatweave is synonymous with the name Roger Oates, though nothing to do with Venice; it is a generic term given to a particular style of twill floorcovering that was popular in the 18th century, when narrow-width woven runners were frequently used to protect better quality carpets in smart country homes, and textiles appeared for the first time on floors in poorer homes. Flatweave lost favour when mechanisation made pile carpets such as Wilton and Axminster, more affordable.

But textured flatweave with its finished selvedge edge is ideal for stairs. It can also be joined to create distinctive rugs and fitted landings. Its flexible, supple nature enables it to be expertly fitted and sculptured around almost any winders, with the stripes miraculously aligned. Perfect tailoring for stairs adding colour and texture in an often overlooked area.

New designs are sampled and trialed by hand in the Roger Oates studio, but production takes place in the UK woven on vintage Hattersley looms run by a skilled operators. The complex drafting and lifting creates the variety of textures that gives the cloth its unparalleled personality and ‘hand-finished’ quality.

So while a centuries-old weaving process gives flatweave runners their unique texture, it is Roger and Fay’s distinctive designs and bold use of colour - they use British wool dyed to their own colour palette - that sets them apart.

Roger said “While classic colours and designs continue to be favourites, people are looking for something unusual or unique, we offer bespoke tones and can customize widths for those who want personalisation.”

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