Inspired Decor

February 2019 View more

Syrah Home features eclectic furniture, lighting, and accessories for the home.

By Annemarie Mannion

Color, shadow, and light—these elements all play a role in the selected offerings at Syrah Home, a Naperville-based store that offers handmade, small-batch furniture, plus unique lighting fixtures and home accessories.

The vibrantly hued furniture incorporates reclaimed antique and industrial elements and is imported from artisan studios in India. The lighting, also made in India, is designed by co-owner Mateen Husami, who is just as fascinated by the illumination they provide as he is with the interesting shadows the shades cast.

The store at 233 South Main Street, which was previously located in Evanston, is in the heart of downtown Naperville, where people can pop in to find everything from Turkish mosaic chandeliers to Thai silk scarves to rustic furniture or hand-hammered shades in copper or other metals.

Here’s what Husami says about the store and how he and his business partner, Greg Armich, started working together.

What was the genesis of Syrah Home?

I was a corporate lawyer who fell in love with lighting and tried my hand at designing it. I was thinking of leaving the (legal) field and my wife said, “Go for it.” We’d met Greg when he had a furniture store in Logan Square. We were like, “Wow. This store is great.” Greg and I hit it off and kept in touch, and eventually I popped the question [about creating a store]. It was a mutually beneficial cooperation.

What makes the lighting and the furniture cohesive?

Both have this handmade element —it’s the common denominator. The furniture has these beautiful colors and hand carvings, and the lights have the handmade shades. They pair very well together.

What types of home design styles does the furniture work with?

It’s suitable for any setting—even modern. The colors, the hand carving—they add a touch of eclectic charm.

How does your co-owner find the artists who design the furniture you carry?

Greg is a “roughing it” type of traveler. He goes into the alleys and finds these workshops that make the pieces by hand using reclaimed wood. Our prices range from $150 for a side table to $1,000 for a large cabinet. Our prices are good because we don’t have middle men. We go direct to the workshops. You could go to Home Depot to get a light, but this is all handmade.

What does lighting mean to you?

Light is functional, but it’s also beautiful. The shadows are what create the mystery. They reflects the passage of time, and isn’t everyone, since they were little, mesmerized by their shadows?

Can you describe the range of lighting fixtures the store offers?

There are globes made of spun wire that create striations of light and have a very organic feel. There are handblown glass lamps in copper frames, hand-cut paper lights that resemble paper flowers and have a beautiful, soft element, and Turkish mosaic chandeliers that have a Tiffany-esque feel.

Why did you choose Naperville for your store?

We were drawn by the thought of offering a boutique in a sea of big box stores. We thought people would appreciate that. Also, Naperville is a fast becoming a diverse city. It attracts a lot of visitor traffic, too, so that’s a nice aspect.

What kind of ambience does your store have?

We wanted to create a place where we make friends, where we know our customers and they enjoy the interaction. I think people like knowing the owners of a place.

Do you sell your items online?

We have a website [] where we sell all over the world. We also have a wholesale arm where we supply interior designers and architects.

Photos courtesy Syrah Home