Second Life


My reading chair in my reading corner. Chair from Ikea, fabric from Kamdar. And that fella is a Teddy Bunny made by my friend Little Syam.


Don’t give up on your old furniture. Is it looking tired and sad? It’s amazing what new upholstery can do. I got the chair above from Ikea a few years ago. It had a retro-ish pattern on a light beige background. I loved the design but was getting tired of it. Plus, my habit of putting my legs up had dirtied the seat’s edge. So when I paid a visit to the Kamdar store and saw this pretty fabric, I thought, why not? 

One of my greatest discoveries is Mr. Tan, the upholsterer guy from Kepong. I met him when I bought my 3-seater from Second Charm. He sewed my cushion covers. I got his contact and asked him if he could upholster my old sofa. Take a look at this.

My old sofa. The curves are gorgeous, but the colour, horrendous.

I got this set (3 + 1 + 1) from an ex-boss, who offloaded it to me when I moved to my own place. I needed furniture to sit on, so I took it. By the way, he got it from his aunt, so this piece is at least 20 or 30 years old.

It was still in good condition, though the part where you lean on has sunken in. You need to prop up two cushions to sit comfortably.

Ta daaaa! The transformation.

Sometime last year I was shopping for a wooden 3-seater to replace this as I found the size too bulky. I love the retro curves but it was eating up the space of my small condo. 

I had to get rid of it, but how? I tried selling it to Second Charm but they didn’t want it as it would take up too much space in their already crowded shop. I even tried to give it away to the lorry guy. I didn’t want it to end up in the garbage dump. This piece still had so much potential. And they don’t make furniture like they used to. 

Then I remembered that my colleague Shu Min also likes vintage/retro stuff and asked her if she would be interested. The offer of Mr. Tan’s contact sealed the deal. She took the 3-seater plus a single-seater while her friend Jasmine took the remaining piece. 

Now what’s left is to find the fabric. I introduced the two girls to my other great discovery – Kamdar at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. There are other outlets but this one’s the biggest. I’ve always gone back to Kamdar since I bought my curtain fabrics there. At first glance, the designs may look ‘datin’ or ‘makcik’, but look hard enough and you’ll find many gems. Plus, they cost a lot less than what the posh furnishing stores are charging. Kamdar is also generous with samples. One neighbouring store I went to refused to give me cutout samples or even let me take photos to help me decide, so I crossed it off my list. 

Anyway, the two girls were like kids in a candy store, squealing with delight at the pretty patterns. After what seemed like an eternity, they finally made their choices (there were just too many to select from). Shu Min chose two – one of which is the blue one above. And here’s Jasmine’s.

Even the cat likes this new look.


I didn’t get to see the transformation, just the pictures, but Shu Min tells me Mr. Tan did a great job. He also added more padding to the back so you don’t hunch when you sit. It must’ve been hard work for him because of all the curves, but he pulled it off. The price he charged was also reasonable, less than RM800 for the whole set.

I think he was happy to work on it because yes, they don’t make furniture like they used to. Even he recognises a good, solid piece. The frame is still strong. All it needs is some love and appreciation. I’m happy it has found two new homes.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by LK on January 18, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Love the new look on your reading chair… goes to show, never give up on the old things – applies for old people as well!


  2. hey saw the teddy buddy. Goes well with your interior… so you decided to use wordpress… not that easy… I tried it, but seem so difficult lah..


    • I asked around and did some research before deciding on wordpress. It was finally between this and vox. Not difficult lah, even for a technophobe like me. If you can use Facebook and flickr, you’ll have no problems with wordpress.


  3. Posted by wee on January 25, 2010 at 11:13 am

    see? always give the old stuff a second chance. not everything should go to the dumpsters!


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