Allan Lawton remembers a time when there used to be no traffic lights at the Burke Road, Riversdale Road and Camberwell Road intersection; one of the busiest intersections in Melbourne. “I remember when the traffic got too bad, they had to bring in a police officer to move the traffic through, and he would have to wear a mask because of all the fumes” Allan says. This year on October 1st, Allan will celebrate 50 years at Reliance Carpets in Camberwell. Allan is the third generation of Lawtons to be at the helm Reliance Carpets.
- Image above, Allan in his showroom at Reliance Carpets
Established by his grandfather, Allan now runs Reliance Carpet with his brother and his wife. If you are a carpet aficionado like Allan, walking into the Reliance Carpets showroom would feel like a kid walking into a lolly shop.
- Image above, a display of the beautiful carpet for sale at Reliance Carpets.
Spread out over 3 large, well-lit rooms, hundreds of rolls of carpets grace the walls of the Reliance Carpet showroom. Allan greets me with a warm smile and firm handshake; he is eager to show me around the showroom and to show off his extensive range of carpets. Allan is quick to remind me that to really get a feel for the carpet to see if it’s suitable, I should run a hand over the sample. That way I can get a feel for its texture and softness, two critical components when it comes down to buying a carpet. “My favourite carpet is plush pile” Allan says as we brush over a Prestige plush pile carpet.
“They make the house so much more luxurious, classy and comfortable underfoot”. Allan’s favourite range of carpets is the Oakford Elegance from Prestige. Plush pile carpets, I am warned, are not for everyone. Being a more delicate weave, they can become damaged much more easily. “If you have a young family, it’s probably not the best way to go” Allan says.
- Image above, Prestige Carpets Oakford Elegance 'Lancashire
- Image above, Prestige Carpets Oakford Elegance range of colours
For those with young children or dogs who are spoilt and like to sleep next to the fire in winter, Allan suggests a low profile, twist pile carpet. The firm, dense qualities of a twist pile carpet means it’s harder for them to be ruined by dirty little hands and dirty paws. “Choose a colour with depth; no light colours!” exclaims Allan. Allan grew up around the Camberwell area and has always considered it home. Allan installs carpets in some of the grandest and oldest homes in the area.
But when you ask Allan what he loves most about his job he stops and pauses; “I suppose it’s the difference we make to someone’s dream home. A carpet can really transform a home, a new home especially. It transforms the whole space” he says. “It’s amazing when people come back and a really pleased with what we’ve done for them; it’s such a thrill when they come back!”
Allan mentions that the post popular carpets with his customers are the plush and twist pile carpets. “Twist is not as smooth as plush but it doesn't show up marks as easily” he says. Cavalier Bremworth and Prestige Carpets are two brands that Allan says he can always rely on for a quality product. Cavalier Bremworth in particular makes a beautiful plush range of carpets that Allan says his customers always fall in love with. Recently, Allan has brought in a new range to Reliance Carpet from Wool International.
- Image above, another of the terrific displays of carpet at Reliance Carpets.
Allan is most excited about promoting this new range of carpet to his customers because of its quality finish and extensive range of colours. For 50 years Allan has seen trends come and go in the carpet world. He recalls a time when pinks, greens and yellows would stick around for a few years and then disappear off the radar. “Today’s carpets are all very similar in browns, taupes and neutrals. Grey is taking over a little from the neutrals now as it’s a functional and stylish colour”. One concern that many people have when buying a carpet, other than choosing the perfect colour, is how long their carpet will last. “My carpet lasted 28 years!” exclaims Allan. “That’s because it was great quality, and the only reason we changed it was because we grew tired of the colour”.
How long a carpet will last all depends on what material it’s made from and how you look after it. “Cleaning is important for maintaining the longevity of your carpet. Try not to bring dirt in with your shoes, leave them at the door. Rubber sole shoes can also be abrasive on carpets” advises Allan.
So why should you choose carpet as floor covering? “The comfort, warmth and insulation” Allan says.
“Other floor coverings don’t have the same feel good factor as carpet. That’s why you will always see carpet in bedrooms; you don’t want to get out of bed in winter and step onto a cold floor!”
Allan also says that carpets are a great solution for the second story of a home as opposed to polished floorboards.
“If you have bedrooms on the ground floor, you can often hear people clunking around on the second level if you have floorboards”.
By now, Allan has taken me right around the Reliance Carpet showroom.
- Image above, another room in the fantastic store at Reliance Carpets.
It has been a great experience to understand carpet a little more and why it is such a fantastic flooring option for the home.
I thank Allan for all his help; he says it’s not a problem.
For the very best and most experienced advice on carpets, drop into the Reliance Carpet showroom in Camberwell, Melbourne.
Allan will undoubtedly be able to help you choose the right carpet for your home.