Goan furniture-maker Aqeel Khan looks like he was built by his own tools: sandpaper to smoothen out rough edges, knowledge of period furniture hammered into his brain, a smile that stretches to the edges of his measuring tape.
He’ll greet you in the doorway if you make a prior appointment, and lead you into a charmingly dilapidated three-storey structure in Mapusa Market. Here, you’ll find many shops, private rooms and warehouses, all filled with with period furniture reproductions.
West Elm Boys
In one such room, we discovered teak chairs with cane backs pasted high on a wall, hovering dangerously close to a whirring fan. In another, rosewood cabinets with transparent panes were stacked with adorable china, and ottomans of different sizes stood on tiptoes. A third space was dotted with Art Deco peg tables, wicker sideboards and lazy chaise lounges designed to facilitate longing.
Here, any shop that didn’t belong to Aqeel was owned by a “cousin” and so he had the authority to negotiate for them all. He did so good-naturedly, patiently Whatsapping us as many photos as we wanted and offering to replicate designs we might have seen elsewhere.
A third space was dotted with Art Deco peg tables, wicker sideboards and lazy chaise lounges designed to facilitate longing.
The best thing about Aqeel is that his workmanship is neat and his prices work out to half of Mumbai store rates, even after adding shipping costs. He comes highly recommended by a reliable source who assures us of his quality, but you can bring along your own carpenter to be doubly sure.
Chip Off The Old Block
While loitering through these rooms, we found our favorite treasure, a shop dedicated to vintage dinner plates meant for mounting. Victorian singles, aristocratic sets with gold crests and intricate floral disks were stacked in tall piles, happily mingling with rubbish plates not worth their Rs 600 price tag.
After much digging, we left with a single wreathed dinner plate, old, chipped, and terribly charming. Much like ourselves, we quipped, skipping out into the Goa sunset.
Getting there: Aqeel Khan, shop no 10, SR Building, Mapusa Market, opposite Royal Food, Goa Shakar Bhandar, call 09823013769, Rs 20,000 for a display cabinet, Rs 6,000 for an office chair both in teak, plates start at Rs 600 each.
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