Area Rug Co.

Licensed Brand
Products: Rugs

Tina Smart, Area Rug Co.’s founder and Creative Director, comes to the rug business naturally. She grew up in it. Her family’s store in Toronto, Canada was over the years her playground, after school place to do homework and her weekend job. When she married and moved to the US border state of Michigan commuting and continuing her work in the family business was not onerous. It was just a short trip over the border. That is until the pandemic and that was when she decided to launch her own business. “I already had the background, the passion and the knowledge,” she says. She also had an understanding of the incredible craftsmanship it took to make a rug so joining GoodWeave®, an organization uplifting weavers and their families, was one of her first steps. “We needed to know that nothing in the process of making the rugs was an ethical compromise,” her right-hand man and husband Ojas Smart added.

It could be said that Tina grew up with and grew into the business from playing on the piles of samples that came to her house, helping choose styles as part of the family, going to university and studying business and then, with her brother, taking over more of the selection and designing. She has brought those same family values to Area Rug Co. She wants to serve a broad community with a wide selection of rugs at various price points and ready to take home or create luxurious custom rugs for her customers. From high performance recycled plastic to elegantly handmade wools, Tina will provide it.

Her favorite collection at the moment, she says, is the meticulously hand tufted, highly textural Myrtos series. Myrtos is named after a beach in Greece and like that beautiful beach, the couple says, it conveys a feeling of beauty, relaxation. Myrtos is available in any color but the neutral sandy tones with flecks of charcoal remind one of the long sandy stretches of beach on the Greek island of Kefalonia.
One of the most unique pieces Tina and Ojas agree is Pebbles. Its cozy, wool felt balls make the rug almost playful. “Every time we display that one it is a showstopper!” The wool, felt and nylon piece, Tina adds, is also reversible.

Hestia is a rather astonishing polypropylene piece. It’s a tough high-performance rug of 100 percent recyclable plastic but, says Ojas, when it first arrived there was a surprise when he opened the package. “It looked as if it was a wool rug until I touched it. I was blown away!” The resilient Hestia that comes in gray/blue tones as well as beige/creams, is incredibly versatile Tina says. Customers have told her that they even use it in their dining rooms because while it looks like wool it is easily cleaned if something from the dining table spills on it. It’s an illusion of luxury but just so practical, Ojas says.

Tina, whose family showroom in Toronto was very much like her home when she was growing up, says she has created that same feeling in Area Rug Co.’s showroom in her new Michigan hometown of Birmingham. She encourages whole families to visit the store where her own daughter, Mali, can often be found playing among the rugs. With its hanging racks of beautiful rugs, the showroom is much like a welcoming gallery where people can relax and take their time browsing and chatting with each other and with Tina. She says she loves when her clients send her photos of the rugs once they install them in their homes and most enjoys the home visits she makes to customers for a look at and a little advice on the placement or their purchase. Family is obviously important to Tina and Ojas and that extends to the weavers’ families too. “If we are going for a family feel, a community feel which we feel so strongly about, that includes not just here, but the world. The GoodWeave certification is something we can feel good about!”

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