Just moved to Singapore and looking for some signature pieces with a bit of Asian flair? From something old to something made new, we find out from these readers where to buy antiques, vintage and reproduction furniture, and how it fits with their home décor style. Sometimes expats wait until it’s time to leave Singapore before they buy vintage Asian or antique furniture and accessories, but why not enjoy it now?
Great choice of antique and vintage furniture
Jennifer Wilson and daughter, Meriel West, British
“Not long after we moved to Singapore, I was admiring a friend’s furniture and she pointed me in the direction of Woody Antique House. We swiftly popped in and bought a couple of smaller pieces. However, having recently moved to a larger apartment, we were in the market for something bigger.
In particular, we wanted good storage. Our previous place had a lot of built-in storage, which meant that when we moved we had piles of clobber with nowhere to put it!
My favourite piece we bought is this antique kitchen cupboard from Shaoxing Province in China. We were drawn to the calming green shade and the scars of time on the piece, which is likely to be 100 to 150 years old. I’m a bit of a daydreamer and I like to imagine how the dents and scratches have collected over time. This piece would have been in a kitchen and used to store leftovers and dining ware; underneath, behind the sliding square trellised doors, was where live chickens were housed. It doesn’t house anything as exciting as live chickens now!
We love to visit Woody Antique House as the stock changes frequently and you never know what you might find. We now have a growing collection of items from the store. The staff are so knowledgeable about the pieces, and always keen to assist when you’re browsing. We’re first-time expats and when we arrived in Singapore two years ago we were very fixated on what would look nice in our house back in England rather than buying pieces that would be too big to fit there. These days, we’re happier to buy things that fit with our life right here, right now – and we wish we’d done that sooner.
Good quality antique furniture
Amanda Lawrence, British
“We’ve lived in Singapore for just over eight years. We were looking for good-quality antique Chinese furniture, and a friend recommended China Collection. So we visited the store, which was in a stunning black-and-white space at Malcolm Road.
The choice blew us away! Everything was fantastic quality, and every piece told a story. More importantly, storeowners Anne and Doug will happily tell you those stories. Their customer service is second to none.
We’ve bought many pieces from them, both big and small. These range from ginger jars and tassels, to amazing wedding cabinets. We chose the bookcase as we had started quite a collection of jars, boxes and so on, and we wanted to showcase our “treasures” on a lovely piece of furniture. In the shop, it had a lovely selection of similar things on it, and we knew it was ideal. One of our favourites is our 19th-century elm display shelf from Shanxi Province, China. Doug was able to show us a photograph of how the particular piece looked before restoration. He sent us the photo so we know about its provenance. We feel that, wherever in the world we are, this beautiful piece of furniture will always have a place.
China Collection has since moved to historical Joo Chiat Road, in an equally stunning shophouse. You can’t miss it; it’s the vibrant blue house on the corner. Be warned, though: you will not leave empty-handed!”
Reproduction and antiques
Bárbara Navarro, Spanish
We rented a black-and-white house when we came to Singapore, and I thought some antique pieces would suit it well. I first did some research of my own, but later I asked a few friends and the person assisting with our relocation. I told them I was looking for something antique, unique but affordable, and all of them pointed me to Just Anthony.
In particular, I wanted two big identical antique wardrobes in a black colour. When you have a very clear idea of what you want and it isn’t “standard”, it becomes a real challenge! At Just Anthony, though, we found exactly what I was after. We also bought many other pieces: stools, a chair, a table, two great antique consoles, two vases, two side tables and more – the list is really long! But every piece fits perfectly and looks great, and prices aren’t crazy expensive.
I love the experience of buying in Just Anthony and I always get great recommendations – the people are extremely nice and professional. Also, every time that I go, they have new things.
They’re open to making changes, too, like colour, or adjusting details here and there; for example, they converted five old bamboo doors into a folding screen. Also, when a piece of furniture was damaged by my kids, they came and fixed it.
Doing up your home? Read on for more furniture stores in Singapore!