Adventures in furniture buying as an Expat- part 2!
Recently I blogged about our experience in buying 2 major pieces of furniture for our new home in Malaysia- the dining room table and the master bedroom set. You can read about that here. Once that was complete, I was on the hunt for more- this time some accent pieces that would give some flavor our home. We’re a long way from where we started with the massive crate of American style furniture that we brought along with us, yet we’ve already made a huge dent within our first year of adding some Asian flare that is sure to become unique to our home and will last with us through many years….and most likely, many moves !
Peter Hoe & Beyond
Early on in our hunt, we were introduced to an eclectic and now decidedly “must” stop on any visitor tour while here in Kuala Lumpur. The shop is different than others in that there is no signage or outrageous marketing that goes along with it. It finds its customers through word of mouth and let me tell you, they’ve got it right!
Located in the Chinatown area of KL, Peter Hoe & Beyond is like stepping into wonderland after being left in the desert. Within an old, nondescript building on the 2nd floor is a vibrant display of asian artifacts. It’s seriously like walking into a field of wildflowers from a sandy desert. Vision sensory overload with flashes of color and knick knacks stacked high and stuffed in every corner. Additionally, they’ve created a nice little cafe nook that serves incredibly delicious foods. Everything is made fresh by them and after having been there a handful of times, lets me assure you everything is delicious! Fresh salads, homemade quiches, and tantalizing cheesecakes, you really can have your cake and eat it too at Peter Hoe & Beyond! As a bonus, they also stock holiday items though out the year to supplement their sales. Many of the items are made in India but you can also find items from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, to name a few. There is not much in the way of big pieces of furniture for sale here, rather you will find more decorative items for your home & kitchen, not to mention some great fashion finds and gift items!
The first time I went into the shop, I fell in love with their lamps. I bought the smaller table version but they also carried (and still do I believe) floor length ones as well. They offer a variety of colors and I just find them so beautiful. It’s made a perfect addition to our living room decor. I’ve also purchased a kitchen rivet, new dining room placemats for the holiday season, some gifts for friends, as well as a smattering of other items. There is always something to buy here!
During the crazy start of the holiday season (which in Malaysia, starts the very first part of November!!!), the American Association of KL puts on its famous annual Holiday Bazaar. Its a sight to be seen for sure! Vendors from all over the city as well as a few charity tables filled with homemade holiday treats, gently used books and other household items. Anyway, here is where I learned of the beautiful Allison’s Place. Their shop is actually located in Damansara Heights, but they do participate in several of the bazaars as well as pop-up shops throughout the shopping malls in high season. They sell a variety of items- from big & accent style furniture to jewelry to kitchen goods & kids toys, Allison’s Place can gobble up your spare time quickly! I purchased from the bazaar some beautiful recycled Christmas Tree serving platters, a few tin snowman & angel figurines, as well as a handful of KL tree ornaments. Then my very sweet neighbor gave us these beautiful coffee/dessert spoons as a gift- and I just love them!
I also went in and purchased a cute little holder for the spoons and toothpicks, plus I have my eye on a gorgeous & unique bookcase and painting of KL. There is always more to buy….
At last we finish with the all impressive Ambiance company. Jim, the owner, has 3 shops around town- a location in Bangsar Shopping Center, one in the Ampang area, and his original location- his house in Damansara Heights. While his shops are open during regular business hours, his house is open to the public only on Thursdays and Saturdays and of course to answer your question, he doesn’t live in the main area where he showcases his items, he has a locked section of the house where he resides. Its also quite fun as he doesn’t advertise his house shop per say, rather you will hear about it and get info on it through one of his shops or from him directly.
Anyway, Jim’s shops are impressive for many reasons. Being an expat himself, Jim knows what other expats are looking for when they move to Malaysia and desire the Asian style decor. He personally handpicks all items sold on regular trips to his supplier in China. What he brings back with him is downright beautiful! His main “bread & butter” so to speak, is outrageously unique pieces of furniture. All made form the highest standards, his pieces reflect the history and flavor that makes Asian style decor so desirable. Wandering around his house, or in his shops, you can find accent tables, benches, dining room tables, outdoor pieces, dressers, chairs, as well as a smattering of smaller items- paintings for the walls, jewelry, and unique knick knacks. I just love his style and the flare he brings to Malaysian home decor shops!
We had been on the hunt for a new entryway table. We’ve searched everywhere and nothing seemed to fit the bill. It was either cheaply made or not the right style at all. We luckily (well, I knew we would find it at Jim’s, lets not kid ourselves) found a piece that fit the bill to perfection! Made of elm wood, the below console table is over 180 years old (Jim provides history and detail on every piece he finds to sell). I think its absolutely stunning. Its large without being too obnoxious and the history is just amazing. Sometimes I sit and look at it, wondering who has owned it through the years and what homes it graced- the stories it must have frighten me! It has a glossy finish & is black in color, with rust undertones. I adore the detail on the legs and the drawers are the perfect answer for miscellaneous items from keys to placemats to candle supplies.
As you can see, we are slowly but surely conquering the shopping world of KL! I’ll post more unique store finds as I run across them but for now….
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