In the design world equivalent of nature or nurture, Larry Hokanson, head of the eponymous firm famed for its sumptuous rugs, teases that the debate centers on “contacts or talent—and you’ve got to have both!” Armed with a BFA, Hokanson nabbed a job with revered carpet maker Edward Fields in Chicago in 1968 and “found my passion and talents in the opulent yarns, intricate patterns and inventive nature of rug making,” he says. But 20 years later, when Hokanson opened his own company in Houston, “I found myself sitting alone in my little bitty office thinking, ‘What the heck have I done? I walked away from a great job.’ ” Salvation came when a friend in New York bought John D. Rockefeller’s 17,000-square-foot Park Avenue apartment and told her designer, Mark Hampton, “Only Larry does my rugs,” recalls a still-grateful Hokanson. Today, he can claim five national showrooms and a diverse list of boldfacename clients. “We embrace every style,” says Hokanson, “but always in a sophisticated and tasteful way.”
LX: What’s inspiring you now?
LH: Imperial Russian design—what they did then is not to be believed. It had such refinement and rich attention to detail.
LX: Dream collaboration:
LH: Interior designer Alberto Pinto.
LX: Trend you’re excited by:
LH: Brights that pay homage to the midcentury, but in Easter egg colors. They’re cheerful and sunny, and that’s what we need right now.
LX: Inside tip:
LH: Take every phone call; return every message.
LX: Dream dinner party guests:
LH: Nicholas and Alexandra, Jackie and J.F.K., and Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln.
LX: Favorite hotel:
LH: The Ritz in Paris. It’s total old-world elegance.