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November 20, 2016

5 Best Home Decor Stores To Find Vintage Treasures

Text by Simone Louis

The finesse and artistry of bygone eras never goes out of style. These stores have us saying, ‘In with the old!’

1. The Great Eastern Home

Nestled within the New Great Eastern Mills in Byculla, Mumbai, is a must-visit for anyone with an eye for detail and a fondness for exclusivity. One of the most premium home-grown design destinations in the country, it currently holds a magnificent collection of Art Deco furniture from a mix of countries like France, Italy and Burma. The extremely well-travelled owner Anurag Kanoria’s passion for both furniture and history is apparent from the way he speaks about craftsmanship. In addition to displaying objets d’art, the store provides a platform for artists, photographers and sculptors to exhibit their works as part of curated shows. For Kanoria though, the most cherished part of the business is “the procurement process, because we source from places like Libya and Saudi Arabia. Such countries are rarely the first to come to mind when one thinks of furniture, but we met amazing people there — exiled royalty, eccentric collectors — and got very rare pieces, too.” Although the brand has a presence in Vikhroli, the Byculla property, which includes the original mill structures and century-old chimney, boasts a ‘light room’ which is essentially 10,000 square feet of remarkable ceiling, wall and floor lighting options. There’s no dearth of reasons why this place is a go-to for interior designers, architects and collectors alike. “In our fast-changing and mutating world, it is wonderful to have something that one can return to everyday, to feel a strong connection with the past,” Kanoria muses. “So much of it is documented in the very material of the antique.”

2. Room Therapy

From being a budding architect in Bengaluru to a field engineer in Los Angeles to creating this popular Hyderabad emporium, Sona Reddy has come a long way. “I felt that the city needed a space that could cater to both the young at heart and the old soul,” she explains. “As an architect, it was hard to find the right products. The furniture would all be there, but the pieces that make a house a home were missing.” Spread over two floors, the vibrant store features rare and exquisite clocks, bookends, chests, tapestries and more. Proclaiming a love for ‘junk that can be reused’, the brand offers some great salvaged relics too. Reddy’s favourite is a bar unit made from an antique door and window, and she fondly recalls the time when a client was so keen on a particular pillar they had, that she wanted two. “We couldn’t get more of the same kind and making a replica was almost impossible, so we sliced the single pillar in two and fixed both pieces to make it look like each was half-swallowed by the wall. It looks gorgeous.” Creativity abounds in the space, where the high ceilings, exposed walls, a signature chandelier and Corinthian pillars have been customised by the owner herself.

3. Anemos

Revisiting this gem within Mumbai’s Raghuvanshi Mill Compound is never the same experience. Each time, there is something new to see; something more unique than the last majestic acquisition. Founded by best friends Rajkumar Jain and Nipoon Agrawal, it filled a gap in the market with inimitable designer fans, subsequently expanding its reach to include restored furniture, bar chests, old typewriters, masks, urlis and even lights from a reclaimed ship. Jain and Agrawal chat about a grand carved wooden door which became part of a headboard for someone’s bed and a 100-year-old rath, while explaining to me that reliable knowledge of age is the most important factor when buying anything vintage. “History has value,” they assert. Firmly underscored by a desire to preserve heritage, the brand has long been a magnet for connoisseurs from all over the world. Make a beeline for this place and you might still find some of our current favourites like a carved bar unit with a secret compartment, old haveli doors, brass urns and a Chinese bed that was built circa 1860.

4. Parvati Villa

A veritable wonderland of exquisite curios lies behind a large wooden door that sits pretty on the Cusrow Baug side of Colaba Causeway. The 1,000-square-foot boutique was conceptualised by Ileshaa Khatau, a magpie collector who is constantly adding to her sundry hotchpotch of antiques. Although she does collaborate with designers and artisans to create products, much of her collection features unusual pieces from her travels. Case in point is a 19th-century sevaiyan or noodle maker from Himachal Pradesh, shaped like a mountain goat, which she says is “a wonderful example of how artistic expression and adornment were such an integral part of creation…even kitchen appliances were made to be aesthetic”. Khatau has always fantasized about places and times that she will probably never get to visit, which is why she loves anything that tells a story. “If you keep your eyes open all the time, you’ll be surprised at how many beautiful things you can find in unexpected places.” One of the first things she ever bought for the store was an antique wooden lion, which she got so attached to that she named him Sebastian. “Every time anyone came close to buying him, I felt a twinge of regret. It’s never easy to find special pieces, but it’s always harder to watch them go. One day, I got a call from my store saying that he had been sold. The next morning, I woke up to find Sebastian at the foot of my bed, as a Diwali gift from a friend!”

5. Meuble India

The brainchild of five design enthusiasts — Hardik Naik, Parikshit Deshmukh, Bhushan Kapase, Harshad Jadhav and Chirag Chopra — this is a design studio, co-working space and cafe all rolled into one. The 3,000-square-foot Lower Parel property offers free Wi-Fi, a private desk section and a couch corner for meetings, for busy bees who want to work amid the company of heirloom artefacts and coffee. One thing the owners steadfastly believe is that “antique furniture with a story should be sold at the right price to aficionados. The buyer should be happy to see the piece in their space without the feeling of having a hole in their pocket”. Given that the ambience immediately reminds visitors of Rajasthan, it’s not surprising that their claim to fame is their array of intricate, traditional jharokhas. One that you cannot miss, and which is the owners’ favourite, is currently being used as an open balcony at the cafe — a wooden and cast-iron jharokha procured from a 100-year-old house in a small village near Jodhpur. Weighing around 800 kilograms, the 24-foot-wide and 12-foot-tall masterpiece displays some truly amazing hand carving skills.

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