Late 2018 Cheryl Krismer of Crayon Design came to us with two detailed hand-drawn sketches for two flights of a spiral staircase in a spacious contemporary Toronto residence. We then worked together to turn her exquisite sketches on small pieces of tracing paper into fully developed designs for each runner, with installation due less than three months later.
Fascinating artwork is displayed throughout the home and the clients envisaged the stairs as another piece of art. The design has a strong fashion focus with motifs of corsets, tulle, ruffles and ribbons connecting the designs. “The pattern changes as you move up the staircase. Nothing is static. Nothing repeats,” said Cheryl.
At Creative Matters the design work and technical production management were shared by President Carol Sebert and Senior Designers Sandra Ciganic-McKinney and Sarah Stevenson. “The clients wanted luxurious within a tight timeframe so we chose the handtufted method with a lot of silk, probably close to 50%. The grey background is all wool loop and the illustrative motifs are in silk, cut pile,” said Sandra.
“The pattern appears only on the tread, not on the riser. Consequently each tread appears as a separate design and becomes an abstract carpet. The risers reflect a predominant colour from the tread so they too have a nice transition of colour, creating an ombre in grey and purple tones,” said Sandra. Twenty-one colours were used in the design, 16 in silk and 5 in New Zealand wool which has a long stable fibre making it very durable and easy to dye consistently.
Detailed planning is key to the success of a runner for a spiral staircase. As the handtufted method had been selected and each step was a different size, the runner was tufted in 41 individual pieces. Sandra, Carol and Sarah spent a day at the house creating paper templates for each piece. Back at the studio it was a challenge to digitize this template and address all the details of the artwork within the time restrictions. The finished carpet took two days to install and Cheryl seized the opportunity to post several videos on Crayon Design’s Instagram, writing, “I’m totally blown away by the final product.”