PORTAGE PARK — Anyone passing by the corner of Montrose and Cicero once the sun sets is likely to see a warm, colorful glow coming from a new shop on the corner.
The former Memories dive bar at 4358 N. Cicero Ave. is now Home Line Decoration, a family-run shop that sells handmade, intricately designed Turkish lamps — and represents a fresh start for its owners who lost everything to Hurricane Maria.
Yousef Barakat, who co-owns Home Line with his wife Kholoud Ghaith, came to the United States from Turkey in the 90’s and settled in Chicago before heading to Puerto Rico 14 years ago to open their own store.
But when Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, Barakat said they lost their home, their store in the island’s tourist area in Old San Juan — practically everything. So, they packed up what was left and returned to Chicago.
“When we had to start again Chicago, we decided to have an even better store than we had before,” Ghaith said. “And in the evening, it’s very beautiful to look at the lamps from the street.”
In addition to imported Turkish lamps, each with a unique glass mosaic lampshade enveloping the light bulb, Home Line also sells handmade rugs and decorative places imported from Turkey.
“[The lamps] are made in Turkey by hand,” Barakat said. “What’s unique about these lamps are the mosaics. Over the decades, and even during wars, this has been a tradition in Turkey. A long time ago they used to make these mosaic lamps during the Ottoman Empire, long before electricity, and lit them with candles.”
The shop opened about two months ago, and is stocked with the best lamps Barakat finds on trips back to Turkey.
“My husband tours the businesses that make these lamps in Turkey to find the best quality ones to bring here,” Ghaith said. “In Turkey, there will be a woman who crushes the glass, another puts the tile designs, and another makes another part of it.”
Smaller desk lamps cost about $25 while the larger ones cost upwards of $50. The handmade Turkish rugs start around $150.
Despite what happened in Puerto Rico, the couple is grateful to have found a place to rebuild on the Northwest Side.
“What can you do? You continue,” Barakat said. “We chose the former bar to open our store because it’s a good corner, you can see the lamps from very far away. It’s a really nice display.”
Home Line is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Their Facebook page can be found here.
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