FIT FOR A PALACE

by ALAENA HOSTETTER / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

An incredible assortment of rugs, in styles like modern, contemporary, transitional and traditional, that are made in the United States or as far away as remote villages in the Middle East are found just blocks from the University of Miami at Royal Rug Gallery.

The Coral Gables-based business is staffed by Iranian-born proprietor Amin Yamini and his adult children, who are third- and fourth-generation rug experts, respectively. When Yamini set up shop in Coral Gables, he chose the gallery’s location for its proximity to his alma mater, from which he graduated in 1982, just years after emigrating from Iran with his family.

The Yamini family touched down in Miami in 1979, bringing generations-worth of rug knowledge, first to Miami Beach before relocating to Coral Gables in 2000. “My father owned one of the largest rug companies in Isfahan, a major rug manufacturing city in Iran,” says Yamini.

Yamini’s inherited knowledge comes with worldwide connections as well. “I travel all over the world— Nepal, Pakistan, China and India—to purchase our rugs directly from the weaver,” he says.

Yamini’s knowledge of rug quality and sourcing is unparalleled, whether the rugs come from a tribal settlement in the Iranian countryside or a major rug manufacturing mecca, which is especially indispensable when appraising rugs, one of the many services offered at Royal Rug Gallery.

“Each city produces its own design and style,” he explains. “There are more than 80 cities with their own style.”

According to Yamini, the three areas that produce top-quality rugs are Isfahan, which is known for color palettes of navy and light blue with sunburst medallions; Tabriz, which uses similar designs but in earthy rose and pink tones; and Qum (pronounced “comb”), which makes “the finest quality silk rugs in the world” in vivid shades of blue with luminous gold and copper accents.

Yamini is happy to educate clients on the basics of rug buying, since there is so much to know, and he offers design advice. Besides the range of styles, there are varying price points to consider, which are determined by the number of knots per square inch and whether the rug is hand-knotted or made on a power loom. Then there are other factors, like the materials used. “Rugs come in wool, wool and silk blends or 100 percent silk,” he notes.

Steering customers toward a price range that is comfortable for their budget is just part of Royal Rug Gallery’s exceptional customer service, since the showroom stocks all price points, from the “Mercedes of rugs” to the “Chevrolet,” as Yamini puts it.

Royal Rug Gallery is also on hand to help homeowners and designers past the point of purchase. The company offers restoration services in addition to specialized cleaning that’s tailored to the specific type of rug and what it needs to look its best.

They are indispensable services, considering rugs bear the brunt of daily living unlike any other household fixture. They’re not only subject to the wear and tear of foot traffic but to contaminants, like ubiquitous dust, pet dander and dirt, plus inorganic ingredients, like pollution particulates, chemical fertilizers and herbicides that are tracked into the home on the soles of shoes.

“After cleaning, they’re almost like a brand-new rug,” he says—a shining endorsement for the rug’s quality and durability, not to mention Royal Rug Gallery’s own cleaning services.

It makes sense that rugs would be durable. Throughout the millennia they were used as floor coverings and wall reinforcements by villagers and nomadic herders in rudimentary dirt-floor living structures, while simultaneously adorning the palatial abodes of European nobility. They’re made to withstand the test of time. Some antique varieties in Royal Rug Gallery’s collection date back 150 years.

For more contemporary-minded folks, Royal Rug Gallery stocks a large assortment of rugs in popular patterns and abstract designs. And for those with a creative flair who would rather design their own rug from scratch or play with new colors on existing patterns, Royal Rug Gallery has relationships with manufacturers to get the job done in a timely fashion. Homeowners are welcome to bring their designers to help in the creation process, and designers and tradespeople enjoy discounts. After making a mock-up, it takes about two months to produce a proof—a miniaturized version of the design—for customer approval, then six months to produce the full-size rug.

When considering the incredible lifespan of the rugs found at Royal Rug Gallery, the wait is totally worth it.

Alaena Hostetter is a content strategist, editor and journalist who writes about art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food.