Scanning the brick interior wall to his newly opened business called Barrington Fine Rug Gallery, Mostafa Beik points to a large carpet titled "Tree of Life Design," which, he said, was woven in the 1880s.
"It's from one of the best workshops, and made from natural dyes and wools," said Beik, who opened the gallery Jan. 1 inside the Ice House Mall, 200 Applebee St., in downtown Barrington.
Beik said he hopes customers will take similar pride and interest in a rug collection that consists of antique carpets from around the world, including American-crafted carpets. The new business also includes cleaning and restoration services.
As classical music played in the background on a recent day at the business, the gallery featured handmade rugs and tapestries dating back to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries from the Middle East, Central Asia, India, China, and Europe, he said.
"I'm adding an American collection, which are hooked rugs from the New England area, hand-sewn quilts, and Navajo carpets," said Beik, who has lived in Barrington for 30 years. "People are looking for more than just floor coverings. They want something unique with artistic value."
Beik said location also played a factor into why he wanted to open the new gallery.
With the White House cultural and community center opening in 2015 along nearby Main Street and several new business development projects on Main and Hough streets, Beik said people should be taking notice of the increased business activity in downtown Barrington.
"The Ice House Mall has galleries and high-end shops, spas and now Flesk Brewing – a craft brewery," he said.
To stock his collection, Beik said he goes on buying trips once a year to places like China and the Middle East, carrying on a family business that started more than 100 years ago with his great-grandfather.
Beik said he took interest in the business after studying antique carpets and the woven arts from the early 1500s while working in the corporate world.
"Barrington is my hometown, and I wanted my business to be right in the center of town," he said.