On the hunt for trendy yet practical wooden furniture? Brasswoods has been around more than 25 years, providing handcrafted wood treasures that last a lifetime. We hear from owner Bhani Karthigesu about the store’s origins, and some of its popular pieces.
What inspired you to start your own furniture company?
20 years before Brasswoods launched, I worked as an air steward. Travelling the world, I would come across craftsmen who took great pride in conceptualising and producing their products; behind each piece was a rich heritage and story. Also, since they weren’t factory manufactured, the items were truly unique. During trips to Europe, the Middle East and India, I’d spend my free time with antique dealers. They always had old but durable handcrafted furniture. Particularly in Pakistan, the furniture not only possessed great craftsmanship, but was made from beautiful grained wood – most of the pieces were finished in natural colour, without artificial staining. It was a major inspiration for me to start my own brand, which I did in 1991, to fill a gap for furniture made from natural hardwood rather than engineered wood.
What’s the story behind the store’s name?
Most of our handcrafted timber furniture is inlaid with brass and copper; hence, Brasswoods!
What can we expect to find?
We specialise in pieces like camel seats, mid-century leather chairs, mobile bars, and other living room and bedroom furniture. We custom-make our furniture to shoppers’ needs and desires, and we also offer reconstruction and redesign of existing furniture, as well as restoration.
Tell us about some of your most popular items.
The Queen Anne Slant Front Desk is inspired by 18th-century New England design and comes with an East Asian twist and a brass and copper inlay. The beauty is in the grain of the honeycomb and sheesham wood. It’s also compact and can fit into small spaces, while offering sufficient room to work; it comes with a width of 36 inches, but this can be customised.
When closed up and set away, the Peshawar Mobile Liquor Cum Bar Cabinet looks like a regular cabinet. When opened, it reveals a moveable bar with naturally beautiful grain and brass and copper inlay that can store up to 42 bottles and glasses. If you enjoy a drink, you’ll want to own this functional piece!
Made of sheesham timber, the Mid Century Leather Chair has a cow hide leather seat. This sturdy chair is held together with buckle clips, wooden pegs and brass screws, and goes well in multiple settings. It can be easily dismantled to pack when moving, and the stretchy leather seat is adjustable.
What would you say sets your store apart from others?
Our furniture is made from sheesham wood (known locally as Indian rosewood), which is highly prized for its strength and rich hues. The trees range from 40 to 80 years of age, and they make the furniture very durable. Our pieces last for a long time; in fact, many of our customers pass down furniture to many generations. We sell heirloom collections that are meant to last the years.
Also, our furniture is painstakingly handcrafted from solid wood, so no two products are the same. Like with a Hermès bag, you’re not just buying a piece of furniture; you’re possessing an object of artistic mastery!
What are some of your best tips for buying wood furniture?
- If you’re a solid wood lover, it’s good to visit different retailers and ask questions. Feel the wood and make comparisons. Increasing your knowledge and verify the facts from online research.
- Stick to wood that has a tight cross grain versus widely spaced out grain, as the former tend to be hardier.
- Also, buy from retailers who’ve been around for a long time, as it reflects their products’ durability and reliability.
- Buy small pieces and build up your collection over time, as this gives you a chance to get a feel of a particular store’s reliability and quality.
- For wood maintenance, be aware of the wet and dry seasons. You’ll need to be more vigilant during the wetter times of year – ensure you ventilate the furniture items, and keep them dry and oiled as per the specific instructions of the brand.
What can we look forward to at Brasswoods in 2018?
I recommend getting your hands on our popular camel seats that come in two-tone colour cushions for flexibility. Also, the store will be launching a floor-to-ceiling steel ladder with sheesham wooden steps and sleeves.
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