November 2012

KPM Flooring – Royal Fiber: The Custom Queen Holds Court

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Photography by Anne

Floor coverings have a noble, ancient, and even romantic history. Kings and queens were the first to enjoy the luxury and beauty of rugs. Evidence of their importance in ancient cultures dates back more than 2,400 years before the birth of Jesus, and has been found in the Far East, throughout Europe, and Northern Africa. Even the legendary romance between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar began when she had herself smuggled into Caesar’s quarters rolled up in a beautiful rug. And while Cleopatra was portrayed by the lovely Elizabeth Taylor in the movies, history tells us that Cleopatra was not an attractive woman, which leads me to believe that the rug in which she hid must have been spectacular.

Even today, there is something magical that occurs when twisted fibers are matched with skilled hands and a loom or where inspiration meets cutting-edge technology. Nowhere are the limits and possibilities of floor coverings being tested and exceeded more than at KPM Flooring, Inc. on Hilton Head Island.

Celebrating the company’s fifth anniversary, owner Kathleen Mayers says the most exciting thing happening in flooring right now is their ability to give clients the option to have custom-designed flooring with pricing that meets virtually any budget. “Custom has come a long way these days: a) it’s no longer more expensive; and b) it’s not time-consuming. It’s easy!” Mayers said. “We can make your home very specific to you. Why not get exactly what you want, whether it’s the exact size, the exact color, or the exact pattern.”

What makes KPM Flooring a stand-out in custom flooring is their extensive range of material options, allowing inspiration to meet execution. Mayers has earned her own noble title, the Custom Queen, given to her by one of her vendors. She is known to doggedly pursue inventory, information, and trends, and has the magic touch when it comes to sourcing her products.

Filling the KPM showroom is a bit like selecting fabrics for Valentino or gems for Tiffany’s. Having the raw materials needed to successfully carry out a design inspiration is what makes a masterpiece possible. In order to make this happen, Mayers attends at least 12 different trade shows or markets each year.

“Everything is constantly changing. What’s good and exciting today may not be good and exciting in three months,” Mayers said. “I go to furniture markets and fashion markets. Eventually, all that design trickles down to your home. It’s a constant education to make sure in this day and age, where people are so computer savvy and can do so much research, that when they walk in the door at KPM they feel like KPM is up with the times.”

Tapping into her own creative spirit, Mayers recently visited Nepal with one of her favorite custom rug suppliers. “I learned more about the design process. I helped color some rugs, and helped with a collection they were developing. It was a life-altering trip,” she said. Each trip into the world of design and textiles helps Mayers better identify trends and locate special manufacturers who bring more choices to KPM’s creative clientele.

Customization requires a broad selection of materials from which to work. If it isn’t in the KPM Flooring showroom, Mayers and her team will work to find it. But it’s hard to imagine that it’s not already there. Tactile experiences are everywhere. Cool tile is lined up in rows of soft neutrals next to samples in riotous hues that only Mother Nature could imagine; stone samples that look newly harvested from freshwater lakes and streams; hardwood flooring in warm tones from a broad spectrum of tree species; and full-size carpets and textile samples made from the most delicate fibers to the most durable. And this is just the beginning.

Whether your budget is small or large, whether you are creatively minded yourself, you would like assistance from one of KPM Flooring’s experienced staff, or you are working with your own design professional, the potential for a one-of-a-kind outcome is the same. “People love the idea that they can walk in and their flooring can be singular to them. They’re not going to walk into their neighbor’s house and see the exact same thing,” Mayers said.

Historically, the potential cost of customization could strike fear in the hearts of many, Mayers said. This is no longer the case. For example, a custom-designed wood floor recently cost the client only an additional two percent above an off-the-rack selection. Delivery times vary, depending on the materials, but fluctuate very little from non-custom pieces.

KPM Flooring also flexes its cutting-edge muscles with a specialty flooring options to fit needs from the aesthetic to the environmental, and from the budget-conscious to the extravagant. Some of the options include cork, leather tile, paper, recycled products, green products, rubber, and carpet tiles. Cork is a choice that offers particularly interesting options.

“Cork is very green,” Mayers said, referring to the sustainability and environmental impact of the material. “It’s very durable. Right now we’re doing a 3,000-square-foot blue cork floor for a client. They had a very specific color and a very specific need, and I found someone who would make it for us.”

After five years of building KPM Flooring, Mayers knows every purchasing decision she makes for the business is a calculated risk. However, the one thing that is never at risk is the desire to develop long-term relationships with her clients, whether it is a client with a small project and a tight budget, or a monumental project. “I don’t just want to make a sale today. I want to develop a relationship, so that long-term they want to come back to me,” she said. “Everything I do is not about what is good for me or KPM in this moment, but what is good for me, what is good for KPM and what’s good for our customers long-term.”

You no longer have to be of royal descent to enjoy the kinds of rich textures and luxurious materials available at KPM Flooring. Run a hand over the nap of a plush rug, the rough-hewn surface of a warm piece of distressed hardwood flooring, or the cool, clear surface of a glass tile, and you know you are on your way to making your home into your castle.

KPM Flooring is a full-service residential and commercial flooring contractor located at 35 Main Street, Suite 110, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please visit their website at or call (843) 342-4955.

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