Skip to content
Featured, Homes, House Ideas, Interviews, Stairs  |  16 July 2016

A Long Running Story

We are thrilled to bring you another in our series which goes ‘behind the scenes’ of our clients and their runners, you can read the first here. It’s always a pleasure to find out more about our clients and the exciting ways they choose to use our  products, it’s interesting to discover what drew them to Roger Oates in the first place and what excites them in general about interior design – especially as we have so many stylish fans. It can even lead to inspiration for our design process further down the line.

Today we meet Eileen Wada Willett, a Japanese Canadian, who grew up on the west coast of Canada, in Vancouver.  She has ended up living in London having met quite by accident “a charming English man” whom she subsequently married.

Eileen has worked in fashion for most of her life, starting as a fashion illustrator before joining Nicole Farhi. When her children came along she began creating hand-made bags from a studio in her home. Over the years this has grown into her company Wada Bags selling not only bags but scarves, hats, gloves and furs.

As you will read, Eileen has a long history with Roger Oates, spanning almost 20 years. We are so pleased she chose to update her staircases with Shetland Sudbury Light Grey, a great way of modernising, and the icing on the top of an already stylish home.

Thank you for sharing Eileen!

Original Eileen Runner
Before: Eileen’s much loved RO runner, still looking good at almost 20 years old but in need of an update.

Describe your house, where is it, who lives there, how long have you lived there?

We have lived in our house for over 20 years. It is a high-ceilinged, five-floored, semi-detached Victorian house that backs onto a park with lovely green views – a huge plus in central London. Most importantly, it is plenty big enough for whenever children and friends are around.

Which is your favourite room in your house?

Our first floor sitting room. Filled with plenty of books, paintings, comfortable sofas and a fireplace.

Can you describe your design style?

I am from the west coast of Canada and secretly a bit of a hippy – is ‘sophisticated hippy’ allowed?

Who are your design icons/influencers?

I started off as a fashion illustrator and still turn to iconic illustrators for style inspiration – all time favourites are Paul Iribe and Christian Berard, Antonio Lopez, Gruau and more recently David Downton.

Favourite designer – fashion or interiors?

Dries Van Noten – incredibly beautiful, thoughtful design and embellishment coupled to a pragmatic business head. A quiet genius.

Favourite shop?

Fenwick – my central London oasis

RO Shetland Sudbury Lt Grey 4 LR500
After: Shetland Sudbury Light Grey, natural wool colours for a chic, modern feel

How long have you owned a Roger Oates runner?

Almost twenty years. It was the first item I really coveted when we began to renovate. I have finally, and rather wistfully traded our original in for a new model, which I also love.

Why did you choose a Roger Oates runner;  who chose it/had the final say?

Our original runner was green, red, black and putty; I was attracted by the gorgeous colours, the simple, beautiful design and the excellent quality.

The colours of Shetland Sudbury Light Grey (link) are strongly reminiscent, of the colours in gorgeous cowichan sweaters; hand made by the First Nation people of Vancouver Island, it holds a nostalgic beauty for me.

It was definitely my choice, and I brooked no dissent. 

What’s the best compliment you have had about your runner?

My favourite has to be the comment from one of our sons who was determined to hate the new runner – he had grown up with the old one – but on seeing it simply said, ‘actually, it’s quite nice.’

RO Shetland Sudbury Lt Grey 1 LR500
We think Shetland Sudbury Light Grey looks beautiful and timeless with Eileen’s polished floorboards.
RO Shetland Yarn
Our Shetland runners use pure undyed Real Shetland Wool – so the palette is the natural colours of the fleece.

RO Shetland Sudbury Lt Grey 7 LR500

Find Wada’s beautiful and stylish creations here.

If you are interested in being featured in this series drop us an email, don’t forget to include some snaps of your Roger Oates runner!




Subscribe to our Newsletters for events and special offers

In Person

Find A Stockist

Wherever you are in the world, find your local Roger Oates Stockist or Distributor.



Please complete the form below and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.



    Brochure Request

    Please enter your details below to receive a copy of one of our full-colour brochures (UK only)

      * These are required entry fields.
      Roger Oates Design Co Ltd respects your desire for privacy. Data collected from this form will not be given, sold or shared with any other organisation. We will only use this information to contact you about your request. Your data will NOT be used for any other purpose.
      All copyright, design rights in and relating to this website are and shall remain the property of Roger Oates Design Co Ltd