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Magic Caravan: Austin’s Turkish Rug Shop with an Enchanted Heart

“Vintage rugs have their own lives, their own stories,” says owner and collector Huseyin Sahin

Magic Caravan

Stepping off bustling Burnet Road into Magic Caravan feels like being transported into an entirely different place and time. Rich rugs, tapestries and antique carved wooden pieces line the walls, while light shimmers through the colored glass panes of dozens of mosaic lamps hanging from the ceiling.

Owner and collector Huseyin Sahin steps into the room, his presence in tune with the vibrant, other-worldly ambience of the shop. “Would you like a Turkish coffee or apple tea?” he asks in greeting.

Every customer to Magic Caravan, which is co-owned and operated by Phoebe Reed, is invited to first sit with a coffee or tea, handmade on a small manual burner by Sahin. The shop specializes in unique, authentic Turkish rugs and other home collectibles such as pillows, pottery and towels, along with personal items like exquisite jewelry and bathrobes — all carefully selected handmade goods from the geographic region once known as Persia.

Owner Huseyin Sahin preparing Turkish coffee.

Sahin grew up with these carpets in the family business in Turkey, and moved to Austin to open Magic Caravan as the reincarnation of the famed Istanbul establishment, Arsah Carpets.

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“We don’t carry anything that’s commercially mass produced,” Sahin says. “Nothing is new. Everything is handmade by a weaver in Turkey; each piece is unique. Our rugs date from modern times all the way back to the 1700s.”

He says that usually he doesn’t find the rugs — they find him. “It’s a mystic thing; vintage rugs have their own lives, their own stories. This is all about love.”

Sahin believes that no matter how antique or precious a rug is, it’s meant to be used and lived with. “The worst thing you can do is fold them and put them away in a cabinet,” he says. 

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Customers need not fear the possibility of harm to the pieces, because Sahin and his partner Phoebe Reed offer a lifetime guarantee on any rug.

When it comes to advice for choosing such a rug or original handmade Turkish home furnishing, Sahin cautions against trying to match it to your decor.

“Don’t come in here with a swatch of fabric in your hand to match,” he says. “I sell to you, not to match your curtains. I match to the heart. Come in with an open mind, and the perfect piece will find you.”

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