STANDING ON TRADITION

by LESLIE J. THOMPSON photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Captivating design often leverages stark contrast, so finding a showroom filled with intricately woven, ornamental rugs inside a beige stucco strip center is only fitting. The austere storefront off the Dallas North Tollway gives no hint to the wonders inside: 14,000 square feet of traditional and antique Oushak, Bhakti and Serapi rugs; handwoven carpets from India, Pakistan, China and Romania; and contemporary over-dyed styles to suit every taste. As the largest retailer of fine quality rugs in Dallas, International Rugs keeps thousands of floor coverings in inventory and has become a go-to destination for interior designers from coast to coast.

“We have buyers throughout Europe for our antiques,” says owner Fernand Faramchi, who has been in the rug trade for 34 years. After his first job at a rug gallery in the mid-1980s, the handsome native Armenian fell in love with the art of rug making and the intricate city and tribal designs of traditional Persian rugs. “I became fascinated with the time involved to make these,” he says. “Some of them, it can take two or two and a half years to weave.”

He opened his own business in 1995 and incorporated International Rugs 11 years later. Today, the North Dallas showroom attracts customers, designers and rug dealers from across the DFW metroplex and around the world. Stacks of carpets in muted shades and rich jewel tones are piled throughout the well-lit space, which features various types of flooring to give buyers a better sense of how a rug might look in their home. Sizes in stock range from small mats to more standard rectangles, long runners, and palatial rugs, measuring 20-by-40 feet or more, as well as round and oval rugs.

The most refined and intricate handmade Persian rugs are called “masterpieces,” and they are the showroom’s specialty. Made of wool or wool and silk, they have at least 400 knots per square inch and often use an all-silk foundation to get a tighter knot count. Tribal rugs feature a coarser weave and bolder, geometric patterns that are well suited to contemporary design styles. “We also have a great selection in powerloom rugs,” notes Faramchi, adding that customers can still get a beautiful rug for a fraction of the price of a handwoven piece. If the showroom doesn’t have a particular rug in the current inventory, International Rugs will leverage its vast network of resources to find it or create a custom rug in virtually any size and color to suit the buyer’s taste.

For clients who need help choosing the right design, showroom manager Meredith Faramchi offers in-home consultations to create the right look. Growing up in the business, she shares her father’s passion for the history and beauty of the rugs they sell, and she handles sales and marketing for the Dallas showroom. “I love seeing where the rugs go—the families and the homes that they go to,” says the second-generation connoisseur, admitting that she sometimes becomes emotionally attached to certain pieces.

Because International Rugs purchases entire containers from its overseas sources, the retailer can offer the finest quality rugs at warehouse prices and even greater discounts to the trade. Given its prime location close to the Galleria, the spacious showroom is popular with walk-in visitors looking to find a unique rug for their home, as well as designers who bring their clients to browse. But, the Faramchis also frequently sell to customers outside of Texas and the United States. “With today’s technology, you don’t have to go see the merchandise anymore. It’s all done through email, pictures and FaceTime,” Fernand Faramchi says.

The delicate designs and incredible artistry of traditional Persian rugs have remained popular for centuries, proving that true quality never goes out of style. From Millennials who want to add a classical touch to their home décor to collectors looking for a rare antique rug from overseas, International Rugs is a hidden gem worth uncovering.

Leslie J. Thompson is a Dallas-based freelance writer with a passion for interior design, whose own skills are limited to selecting throw pillows. Read more of her writing at lesliejthompson.com.