For 18 years, the family behind Woody Antique House has been scouring Asia for antique, vintage, reproduction and contemporary furniture for the Singapore market. Their store is a treasure trove of colour, texture, history and passion, with furniture now sourced by CHRIS ANG and his wife WEI CHIN from China, Tibet, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Indonesia and Thailand. They also do customised pieces, using old to make something new.
One of the company’s strengths, according to Chris, is their customisation process, which is particularly useful if you’re looking for something unique and interesting for your home. “Often our customers are inspired by something they may have seen, but it mightn’t be the right size, colour or finish they want. We work closely with them to design and make a truly one-off piece they can display proudly in their home. We also take repurposed and vintage furniture and give it a modern twist.”
Over the past two years, Chris and Wei Chin have noticed a trend towards coloured pieces. “A few years ago. it was all black and white, but now we’re finding our customers are requesting brighter, more daring colours,” says Wei Chin.
The range of outdoor furniture they stock has also seen a change in style and taste, different from the standard synthetic rattan wicker products commonly found in the market today. “Our customers are looking for metal- and powder-coated furniture, which is more modern, with clean lines. These new designs are stylish and elegant – the frames and cushions add colour to your balcony or garden.”
Do you have an antique piece in store with a fascinating background or story?
In the past, these kitchen cabinets were a standard item in every home in China. The top compartment was used to store plates, bowls and ceramic pots while the chopsticks, spoons and soup ladles were stored in the drawers. The lower compartment stored dried food items, vegetables and food ready to be cooked.
These days, they are repainted in bright colours like red, blue, green, orange and white to blend with modern décor, and they’re used for storage – of wine, for example, or even shoes.
What’s the oldest piece that you have?
It’s difficult to pinpoint the oldest but we have a number of them. But this wedding bed is definitely one; it’s over 150 years old! We found it during one of our sourcing trips to China’s Zhejiang Province. There were actually two of them in one house; the owner was moving to the city and wanted to sell the beds due to the lack of space in their new place.
When we first saw them, they still had stickers of Chinese pop singers on the inner panels. We bought both beds back to Singapore and one of them to an expatriate couple who use it daybed in their study now.
Do you remember the first piece of antique furniture you sold?
Although it was 18 years ago, I can still remember it clearly! It was a red Chinese wedding cabinet with carvings – a signature piece of furniture from Zhenjiang, China. It’s a traditional gift to a married couple from their parents as a blessing and is used as a wardrobe in their room. There are ones simple designs and ones with elaborate carvings; all depends on the wealth of the family.
These days, like the kitchen cabinets, they’re also repainted in different colours depending the customer’s preference and décor. They’re reproduced in various sizes and with different shelving and compartment configurations.
Are there any challenges in running a business as husband and wife? What advice would you give?
We don’t always see eye to eye on work matters! When it happens, we sit down and list down the pros and cons of our differing viewpoints and decide on the best way forward for the company. Also, we make a point of discussing any commitments external parties first so we can reduce the chances of any disagreements later.
There’s a tendency for company matters to carry over after work when we’re at home. We try not to talk work” at home unless it’s absolutely necessary, so we don’t affect the quality of our family time with the kids.
Woody Antique House
#01-05, 13 Dempsey Road
6471 1770 | woodyantique.com
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