You might remember Dempsey Hill from my post about Jim Thompson’s Thai restaurant. I returned here on Tuesday in search of a few odd pieces of furniture we didn’t include in our shipment. Wow – this place has more furniture and Asian housewares than you can shake a teak stick at and it’s way more gorgeous than what’s on offer at The Furniture Mall (duh). Much of the furniture at Dempsey Hill is insanely beautiful — begging to placed carefully in a spread in Architectural Digest. Huge teak and tamarind tables, rain drums, old doors as decor and table tops, stone Buddhas galore and one particular apothecary’s chest I loved with 12 carved wooden figures representing the Chinese zodiac. Heaven! Not sure I’ll buy anything though, as one of the benefits of traveling is knowing where stuff comes from. It’s probably cheaper to travel to Bali, Myanmar, Thailand and hand-pick a few items we can have shipped to us.
More importantly, I look forward to learning about sustainably created furniture as so much of what I saw at Dempsey Hill left me wondering if it was created through recent deforestation. I spoke with one shop owner in particular who told me that Burmese teak (from Burma, also known as Myanmar) was the best quality for its age and its weather and climate resistance. However, if you know your current events you know that Myanmar is just now opening its doors to the West and to more commerce and tourism in general. Burmese teak may be great for the shop owner only because it’s one of the last untouched places in Asia where old teak forests can still be cut down… perhaps? I’m not sure, so I hope to learn more. In the meantime, recycled teak from old homes and shops seems a better option.
In the meantime, get your Buddha here! After a challenging search in the States for one stone Buddha, here lies a cache with plenty for all. This is just one wall outside many shops with many exquisite options. The only remaining challenge, for visitors at least, will be getting one home in your suitcase or paying the price to ship it. Perhaps that’s why so many are at home, and will remain so, right here in Singapore. Can’t wait to pick one out for our new home! I see a taxi ride in one Buddha’s future.