After months of scrolling through Pinterest I chanced upon a picture of chifforobe, which is basically a chest of drawers/cupboard hybrid. Made in the midcentury style (my favourite) I decided to get it made for my little flat. There is a nook in my room that is tucked away by the structural beams of the building that I thought would be a perfect fit for it. I took the measurements and on a weekend I was free I made my way to Oshiwara. Now I don’t have one carpenter I go to for all my furniture needs. When you’re in Oshiwara you need to look around, enter all the stores, make your way to the back of the dusty corridors and find what you’re looking for. While there were already many readymade cupboards and chests of drawers, I was already set on the one I had seen.
The shop I got mine made in is called Md Farid Khan, named after the owner I suppose. Mention my husband’s name (Adhiraj) and you might get a discount. When I was there I also saw a chair that I fell in love with, again in the midcentury modern style. He agreed to get it polished and reupholstered. I did not like any of the cloth options he showed me so I bought mine from Fabindia. I bought a patterned yellow to go with my house. It was 620 rupees a metre and I bought two metres.
It took two weeks for the carpenters to make it. They became lackadaisical after a point and we had to keep calling them and reminding them to finish the job. When it finally came we all noticed that it did not fit snugly in the little nook as I had originally planned because the legs stuck out. I had not accounted for that. We had to put it someplace else and push our wingback chair in the corner instead. But I was still pretty happy with it.
The chair cost me seven thousand rupees and add to that the cost of the cloth. The chifforobe cost me twenty five thousand rupees, add to that the cost of delivery and the tips I gave to the men who hauled it up to my third floor flat. It is made in solid teak wood and I asked for a wood polish. I suppose they can paint it for you if you would like. You could get the same made in plywood and it would be cheaper but it will not last as long as wood. Also the humidity in Mumbai is not kind to plywood or MDF. Wood is very heavy and I know a little about it because my father would worked in the timber industry for a bit.
The trick with shopping in Oshiwara is first walking around and checking every nook and cranny of the stores. You need to haggle with the shop owners there and you need to be sure of the style of furniture you like. This place is a veritable paradise for lovers of Art Deco styles. Just like all other markets, one day you might get lucky and another day not find a single thing worth buying. Just keep an eye out.