Home series: Furniture shopping

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sourcing for the right furniture is an arduous job. This is especially so when you have kids in tow and a work to run! The furniture could make or break the whole look and feel of your home. Hence I took it very seriously and went to several places to check things out. Our theme is skewed towards Scandinavian modern with probably some elements or industrial. Below are some of our sharings:

Our ID brought us to this place called Next Phase at Kaki Bukit Road, Enterprise One. It houses a collection of Korean inspired furniture called Daaz. They are simple and practical and we really liked what we saw. Only problem was the price tag. This three-seater sofa for example could set you back by $3980. It was hard to resist its sleek, minimalist design though. You could check out their website here for more inspirations.

We ventured next door at Enterprise One and chanced upon this store which sells a nice collection of wooden furniture. I love the quality of the wood. It is teak and is imported from the forests of Thailand and each piece is unique as their grains will be different. The prices however is a little hard to swallow. I believe the table itself is a whopping $5000?

City Extendable Dining Set. Great for parties as I can extend it! 

Atelier TV stand

I have been seeing a couple of ads on Facebook and decided to check out this place called Nook and Cranny. As much as I enjoy clicking the mouse and browsing through tons of photos, I still feel unsettled if I can't see the actual item. So I decided make a trip down to their brick and mortar shop. They are located at Blk 514 Chai Chee Lane #02-07 and have a good range of furniture. From Chinese antique furniture to industrial furniture range. A handful of home accessories are also available to help create a unique representation of your individuality. We managed to settle our dining set by getting the City Extendable Dining Set. It is priced at $1499! Pretty reasonable I would say! We also got a matching Atelier TV stand for $899. In order to save money plus to reduce fixtures, we didn't want to custom make a TV console hence had been searching for a long while for a suitable piece that was long enough to sit in our living room and THIS was simply perfect. Most of their bulky items has to be preordered, so do take note of the waiting time.

A hidden gem is Tan Boon Liat Building. If you haven't heard about it, it is located at Outram Road. This factory building houses a handful of furniture shops. The following are some which we have found: 

Journey East. You can find an eclectic range of furnishings of reclaimed teak wood furniture and hand-selected vintage furniture pieces here. 
Address: 315 Outram Road, #03-02, Tan Boon Liat Building 

This company gets their inspiration from its environment. They redefine materials to create sculptural pieces. Unique. You may find industrial and contemporary pieces here.
Address: 315 Outram Road, #03-09/10 

They are a supplier of environmentally friendly teak wood furniture. They have good designs and caters to a wide range of interior styles.

The below is yet another shop which I saw online -- Castlery. It was popping up so often on FB, it was hard to miss. Once again, I needed to visit their brick and mortar shop at Delta House to check out the quality. The staff were very helpful and their selection was totally in sync with what we were looking for. 

We placed an order for the William Sofa in Dark Gray some time in March and had to wait for a few weeks before it arrived. No hurries since our place wasn't ready. However, when we unveiled the sofa, the colour was a stark different. (See above photo). It is supposed to be dark grey but it looked like it was more green than grey! I have since feedbacked and they have since sent someone to assess. And my hunch was right! The one we received was in Charcoal whilst the one we ordered was Dark grey. They are still in the midst of sorting things out with production. It has been a week now and things have not been sorted out at the time of print. In addition to that, we bought a standing lamp and was dismayed to find that light bulb holder had melted! See below photo. That spells Fire Hazard! We have tried to look for a similar light bulb holder but to no avail. We have since gotten a holder which doesn't fit well and had to use masking tape to adhere it. Their recovery was to either to do an exchange for a different piece or a full refund for the item. This, however, has shaken our trust in the product. I mean, shouldn't it be checked and tested before it was sent to us?  We had previously bought a bed frame cum side tables from them and had no issues. This time round, we were dismayed.

Next up, is one of my favourite place to shop -- TAOBAO! the largest online shopping mall from China! Seriously, everything comes from China these days so don't judge. However, there is a huge risk especially when importing big items. Quality is questionable. When people hear the words "Made in China", automatically a stigma is formed. Most buyers are resigned to a certain degree of risk when they shop for stuff which they have not touched or seen in person and hence have to accept that some flaws are part of the cheap deal. What I end up doing at times is to sell them away if I really don't like it. Shipping wasn't too bad as I consolidated my items and went via sea mode to save on costs. If you have more stuff, you could use freight forwarders who will charge by cubic metres. It is more economical for bulkier products to be charged by CBM. Wooden furniture sold on Taobao tends to be heavy due to the material used, so if you were to go by weight, it would definitely cost you. If the items aren't too heavy, you could consider using agents such as ezbuy (formerly known as 65daigou), Peeka, Etrove and many others. The list is endless and the process of shopping on this China eBay is addictive! You can find anything from a Nordic European Sofa, to a piece of sponge for your home! Below are some of my buys:

Majorly pleased with our bar stools! We could even choose the colour of the wood! Item came 90% close to the picture.

Adding an industrial touch to my study room. It was quite hellish drilling the holes though. Fortunately, the hubs is quite a handy man and with the right tools, it was up in a jiffy. 

This was another beauty from TB. My study table. There was a great selection of colours and the wood grain is lovely. Similar ones in Singapore could set me back by more than $600. This beauty was approximately $450 with shipping. The only problem we had with this was its depth! We were too engrossed in making sure the length was right that we forgot to check its depth! It couldn't enter my main door! It couldn't be dismantled either! I had thought that most furniture would come in pieces and that we had to assemble them somewhat like Ikea items. But this particular table wasn't quite like that. The frame was fixed so there was no way to unscrew things. Lesson to self: Check with the seller how it will be packed and ask for extra protection before purchasing! Our solution: to take down our fire rated main door and squeeze it in! Mind you, a fire rated door is extremely heavy! Thank goodness for helpful neighbour who came to the hub's rescue. Hub was trying to be hero and I was no help at all considering the weight and all. Another issue I have with the table is that the drawers have not rollers and hence are tough to pull in and out. You got to be careful not to pull it all out lest the entire drawer comes off! That said, I still love how the table matches my study room. 
If you are interested, the link for the study table is here

My Eames inspired chair. Love it! A steal at approximately $30! Link here.

So there we have it. Furniture shopping more or less done. Next up, I will share with you how I jazz up my little abode with little knick knacks! Stay tune!