So now I have a fabulous marble top kopitiam table – yay! But nothing to sit on – boo! As I said, I had my heart set on a quad of old school kopitiam chairs, not the square uncomfortable ones, but the round seat bent wood ones like so:
As it turns out this kind of chair is rarer nowadays than I thought, or maybe not so rare if you’re willing to fork out some serious cash. The sales lady at W-Furnishing said she hadn’t seen these in her shop in a few years but if I was interested in buying in bulk (say, if I were opening a restaurant) she knew a couple of Johorean companies that could supply them. Uhm… no thanks, I just needed four.
My mum had gotten pieces made from Syarikat Chin Li in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, a carpenter who can make really gorgeous wood furniture for a commission. I did pay the owner a visit but he wasn’t very warm to my enquiries – maybe it was the Honda I drove or the less than luxury bag I carried that prompted him to tell me repeatedly how expensive he was. He wasn’t lying at least, he said a chair like that would set me back RM500 a piece!
I then moved on to Recro Furniture also in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, where I had previously bought a gorgeous refurbished sideboard/cabinet number that has become one of the best investment pieces I own. I knew they were expensive but I thought I should satisfy my curiosity and check anyway. They had the exact chair in their stock loft in a gorgeous nut brown hue. But at RM550 a piece I just couldn’t picture myself parting ways with that much money.
At the back of my mind I thought of my sweet teak furniture lady whom I had been buying from for years. She usually has pretty old school designs selling for reasonable prices and a quick whatsapp to her proved me right. She had the exact model in a dark wenge colour that could match my table perfectly but at RM320 a pop I still wasn’t moved. I thought I could give it a few more days of searching before settling.
As it happened my family took a weekend trip down to Melaka for a break and I took that opportunity to scout the vintage shops near Jonker St area. There are two pretty well known ones: Ancient Curio Store and Abdul Antiques. I’m not quite sure what I was hoping – the owner at Ancient Curio Store was nice enough in helping me out but upon seeing his chairs I realised that while I was keen on the vintage look, I wasn’t prepared to actually buy antiques. Especially when the price didn’t really justify a permanent sojourn into the 1940s Peranakan parlour of a random Malaccan family.
So back to KL and straight to my teak lady I went!
And while I waited for her to wrap up the chairs and fix rubber feet on them so they don’t scratch floors, I took a look around…
The beautiful haphazardness of her store has always been something I appreciated. It is like weaving through a maze of teak and finding little treasures, like this miniature kopitiam table with actual marble top that you could use as a side table.
In case anyone’s interested, her company is called Leading Teak Furniture (Lot L2-11A & 11B, Level 2, The Weld, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, 50200 Kuala Lumpur).