A New York City-Designer Plays With Form On Her First Rug Collection

Posted by Jamie Stern on 10/24/23 4:41 PM


Caroline Kepley is the co-founder and lead designer of Comma, an industrial design firm with a central focus on interior projects. Drawing inspiration from a self-described transient upbringing in which change was the only constant, she places great value on the power of evolving environments and projects with a true sense of freshness.

Reverie for Jamie Stern represents Kepley’s first collection of natural fiber rugs. The three designs – Visage, Celine and Terre – are born out of her love for novelty, a fascination with human connection and a constant search for beauty. Her commitment to crafting distinct experiences, evoking emotions and inspiring connections through design is as present and undeniable in this collection as it is in the rest of her work.

Read our interview with Caroline Kepley below to learn more about her creative process, the inspirations behind the Reverie Collection and the designer herself!


Could you describe your inspirations behind the Reverie Collection?

I was thinking about carpets within space. Something that is ethereal but plays with form beyond the traditional rectangular geometry. How exploring exciting juxtapositions between shapes that are rectilinear and organic can make a space feel and then creating a collection that’s not exactly either or.

Like most designers, I pull from our environment and there’s so many beautiful color gradients around us from the sand melting into the blues of the sea to the undulating tones of green on a new leaf. I wanted to scale that up for interior spaces and bring that feeling indoors.

I was also playing with the tension between manmade and nature, rectilinear versus organic.


Where does your process begin when designing a rug?

Carpets are such a nice touch point for the narrative of the space or object in quite an artistic way. So, I begin by asking what is the story the space or object wants to tell?

If I am working on an interior space and designing a custom rug it’s about what that space needs visually. Sometimes it wants to ground the seating group around it as a subtle softness or sometimes it wants to add that rich texture and pattern and be the focal point.

When I am designing a rug out of an interior context it’s truly about form. Being a furniture designer originally, I approach objects as sculptures. Every piece deserves the love and care of that iterative process finding the proportions that are balanced with moments that are unique and curious.


How long has this collection been in the works?

It has been a labor of love collectively since July of 2022.


Did you encounter any unexpected obstacles or challenges during the design process?

Rugs being a soft, natural material and crafted by hand forces you to release some control as a designer and reminds me a little bit of an industrial way of painting. I’ve become so accustomed to trying to foresee the final product through renderings and the rug development process does not want to be confined to that! They require a bigger leap of faith but that makes the outcome so much more exciting when you see it come to life.


Do you have a personal favorite rug (or rugs) in the collection?

I have a soft spot for Visage, where the oval is intersecting the rectangle. It feels almost 3D and questions the standard rectangle form of rugs in a subtle way.


Do you have an early design memory that still informs your process?

My first love was the written word. Since I was a kid, it was a way that I could organize my thoughts and feelings into something that felt concrete. I have always found it difficult to verbalize thoughts and feelings in a way that feels right and discovered early on that both writing and drawing were ways that I could communicate that made sense to people. I have countless sketchbooks filled with blurbs of this internal dialogue about what story I want to tell and if the visual outcome is aligned.

I was fortunate enough to move around quite a bit during my childhood but with that came language and cultural barriers. Something that seemed to cut through it all was visual storytelling.


Do you have any plans for future collections (rugs or otherwise)?

I released a couple of new furniture pieces this year during NYCxDESIGN week that felt like a new chapter for myself and my brand identity that I want to explore more these upcoming months. In terms of interior design, I am working with a company based out of Alberta, Canada, designing a series of luxury tiny homes that I would love to bring to the US!


What is your dream design project?

After designing high-end hospitality interiors, I would love to work on spaces that are smaller scale and more accessible. Designing the renovation of boutique motels around the US or a collection of rentable airstreams seems like a dream.


Lastly, do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Mexico City.


See more from Caroline Kepley’s Reverie Collection here


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Topics: Carpet, Designer Collection

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Jamie Stern Furniture, Carpet, Leather & Fabric blog JSpecify4 is a blog developed to educate, inform and inspire you. Educate? We stick with what we know and we know a lot about Furniture, Carpet, Leather & Fabric! Inform? Find out about everything from our newest product releases to industry news. Inspire? View our custom stories or see some of our latest installs for a creative boost.

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