A Special Custom Stair Runner


Stair runners often dominate the look and feel of a home when you walk in. You see it if you look down. You see it if you look up. You see it if you look straight ahead.

Making the right selection can be a real design challenge.

Recently designer Meg Carter did a project for a client who lives in an old and stately home in South Tampa. It was a multi-generational family residence and the homeowner had strong feelings about how it should be carpeted.

Meg found a carpet that seemed perfect for the stair runner. It had the right background color and just the right pattern to add personality to the stairs. But this homeowner did not care for the texture of the machine-loomed carpet. She felt it had industrial look.


There was only one alternative. Commission a custom hand-knotted stair runner. 

Before embarking on this complicated and risky venture, Wendy Gold, designer at Addison/Dicus, contacted an agent who specializes in coordinating rugs manufactured in Nepal with buyers in the United States.

He suggested that we commission a sample so that the client could see what the final product would look and feel like in her home.

Meg matched the approved colors with those in our pom box. We then commissioned a CAD drawing and sent the specs to our agent who forwarded them to Nepal.

After two months, we received strikeoff/sample of the custom hand-knotted rug pattern.

Meg's client approved, “It's just what I had in mind!"

Yes! But How Do We Do It?

The project then belonged to Bob Ford, certified carpet installer and rug fabricator at Addison/Dicus & Bailey. 

There were a number of technical issues that needed to be sorted out. The stairs had a landing with four exits. This presented formidable pattern matching challenges.

The stair treads were beautiful and begged to be revealed outside of the stair runner. Complicating that were nail holes from the old stair runner which had to be  covered.

There was no way a scaled ground plan, no matter how detailed, could describe all of the complications affecting the measurement and size of this rug.

The only solution was to make a life size pattern loaded with detailed instructions in magic marker.

Most of the pattern used to construct hand-knotted stair runner

Monster Pattern

Bob measured the project and created a paper pattern on the shop floor. Then he returned to the house where he carefully fitted the pattern to the stairs. He made further corrections. Finally, In consultation with our agent, he noted in magic marker specific Instructions to the rug weavers on how the rug was to be weaved.

Section of the hand-made pattern of the stair runner with written construction specifications

Nothing left to chance.

Then he made a duplicate pattern. Yes, patterns in the past have disappeared between here and Nepal.

The agent forwarded the pattern and specs to the Nepalese weaver who spent three months knotting the stair runner.

Nepalese weaver knotting stair runner.

Three months on the loom.


It arrived in Tampa in great condition.

Hand-knotted stair runner approaching landing.

The pattern flows

As you can see, this rug has a running pattern. This creates visual issues with stair runners. If the pattern aligns both vertically and horizontally, the eye will message the brain,  "Ahh, this looks nice!"

However if the pattern is askew as it climbs the stairs, the eye will send a bad review to the brain, "Something’s not right! "

The place where the pattern has to be most coherent is at the juncture of the treads and  risers. To give the pattern optimal continuity, the client chose the waterfall technique. Here the rug simply flows over the edge of the tread and is tacked to the bottom of the riser. 

Stair runner installed using the "upholstered" technique

"Upholstered" stair runner

With the other technique, called the upholstery method, the rug is folded over the lip of the tread and tacked to the bottom of the lip before continuing down the riser. This would have disrupted the flow of this pattern. 

Waterfall Stair Runner

Bob Ford agreed with the client that the Waterfall method works best for the Hippy Beads pattern.

Stair runner continuing up a second flight of stairs.

At the landing


Overhead view of stair runner on the landing

Overhead shot of the landing.


Happily, the homeowner is very pleased.

Many thanks to Meg Carter for sharing her project with all of us!

As new homes get built with two stories and old ones get refurbished, stair runner challenges will increase. Happily so will  creative  and unique solutions.



55-CYPRESS  OBEETEE  #8155227  CYPRESS  GREEN   8'9"X11'6"  OR  100.63  S/F HAND-KNOTTED RUG


OBEETEE  #8155227  CYPRESS  GREEN   8'9"X11'6"  OR  100.63  S/F




Hand -knotted rug on closeout 8 x 9’10. Light brown on maroon.

8 x 9’10

CLOSE OUT $1000.00


Hand-knotted rug on closeout at Addison/Dicus 8’1 x 10

20-B-12 x 10

CLOSE OUT $1000.00



Addison/Dicus & Bailey Close Out Policy

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You must have an account with Addison/Dicus & Bailey to buy one of these rugs.
The closeout offers will begin when we send the newsletter between the 20th and 30th of each month and last for 30 days.
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