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John Kozoronis, who owns Imperial Carpet & Home with his wife, Helen, displays his fine rugs vertically at their 120,000-square-foot showroom.Thomas Bollmann/SUPPLIED

Come for the carpets, stay for the expertise at Imperial Carpet & Home

You come to Imperial Carpet & Home to discuss the latest trends in luxury rugs and carpets for the home, and very quickly the conversation goes beyond that.

You are offered a coffee, but when you ask for milk you are told you should have it black, even with brandy. That shows “strength,” says owner John Kozoronis. The coffee arrives with milk, but that’s not the point. If there is one thing you need to know about Kozoronis, it’s his strength of personality.

That confidence is on full display through the vast 120,000-square-foot showroom on Caledonia Road in Toronto, a meticulously curated manufacturers’ gallery of design and colour, with rows of timeless, handmade rugs and carpets hung vertically on mechanical tracking systems, like paintings in a gallery.

There is $45-million in inventory at Imperial, which Kozoronis and his wife and partner, Helen, own together.

Dawn Chapnick says when it comes to rugs, colour and pattern will always be a personal choice. “It depends on the look and feel one is going for in the room,” says the principal designer at Dawn Chapnick Designs.

That couldn’t be truer than at Imperial, where the imagination runs wild with ideas of what you can do in a room.

Kozoronis wouldn’t dream of running a showroom where hundreds of more traditional, transitional or classic rugs are stacked on top of each other like slices of processed cheese.

He came up with the idea of displaying rugs as big as 12 feet by 15 feet vertically, so the customer could envision it in their home or work space.

Don’t expect a flea market atmosphere when you come to Imperial Carpet & Home. That isn’t luxury, or sophistication.

It also isn’t what his customers have come to expect.

His suppliers are from all over the world, from such places as India, Nepal, China and Europe. And so are the people who have grown accustomed to the wholesale pricing he offers for high-quality products. Imperial rugs come with such details as where they are made and what they are made of. The rugs here don’t need Scotchgard protection, unlike those with cheaper dyes, colours that will fade or run, or on which that wine stain will be impossible to get out, Kozoronis says.

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Imperial rugs are built to last and will be passed down from generation to generation.

But, quality doesn’t have to mean unaffordability, Kozoronis says. He points to a rug that would sell for US$18,000 in a Manhattan shop but sells for $4,900 at Imperial. That’s what eliminating the middleman will get you. Sure, you could shop for something comparable at Harrods, but be prepared to pay considerably more.

Wholesale distribution and selling directly to the public means clients can justify the cost of a plane ticket from such places as San Francisco or New York to visit and learn about Imperial’s Toronto showroom.

“This is a school of fine art for the floors,” Kozoronis says. He is quick to dismiss top trend lists in interior design magazines.

When you come here, come here with ideas and be willing to engage. At Imperial, there is no mix-and-match game with a piece of fabric. Strength of personality here transcends trends. And it’s not arrogance. This is a school, a place of education, both for in-house designers and outsiders, and John Kozoronis is the professor who helps you get where you want to go. Part of the family. That’s how he sees it.

He says he loves working with younger designers, especially students who come to learn. He’s serious and knows his product.

His advice? Don't go too big with a rug, he says, and make sure there is a space around it to act like a frame around a painting. In terms of trends, the most he says is beige, navies, greys and silvers are in. If you want to learn more, come to the showroom and see for yourself.

Kozoronis and his wife will travel to European trade shows, for example, to get a sense of what is trending and what designers there are talking about, but he is proud to say that his products are often ahead of those curves.

At Imperial, rug section is personal, backed by the finest product with the best dyes and quality yarns, along with wholesale pricing and 50 years of expertise.

“This is my passion,” Kozoronis says.


Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.