‘Antiques any way you want them’ could be the slogan for Paul’s Antiques: a sprawling two-storey house of old wooden furniture salvaged from in and around Bangkok and remote corners of the Kingdom. While other, more inflexible antique shops have gone out of business in recent years, Paul’s does a good trade by selling pieces that appeal to more than just your serious antique collector.
“We have a team of two carpenters who restores each piece to its original condition or can modify it to your needs,” says Angela Somwaya, the effervescent American who used to be a regular customer here before she acquired the 18-year-old business back in 2008. This bespoke approach has helped Paul’s weather the rocky economic times – and earnt it a strong customer base that includes corporate clients such as the stunning new Cabochon Hotel as well as expats.
If you’d prefer a lighter finish, that glass panel removed so the kids can’t put their hands through it, or that art deco dressing table tweaked so it fits in that tight corner, her on-site workshop can do it for you. This made-to-order philosophy also stretches to making new pieces entirely, usually out of reclaimed teak. For example, for one client with an apartment not big enough to accommodate a long TV stand they created a three piece set with two sidetables that can be used as bedside tables until they relocate. For another they fashioned a butcher’s block from scratch.
As well as built-to-last wood furniture, Paul’s is also a huge treasure chest of odd little ornaments and trinkets, from Burmese folk statues, salvaged ox cart panels and Chinese bamboo tiffin baskets to quaint old Thai san phra poom (spirit houses) and rustic teak candle stands made from the legs of an old Balinese coffee table.
Prices aren’t super cheap but neither are they overthe- top considering the hard graft that goes into getting them home-ready. A stout old Burmese teakwood bed dating to the early 20th century will set you back B48,000 for example; a Northern Thai sticky rice tray perfect for keeping odds and ends in B9,800; and a cute rattan and bamboo bento lunch box B4,000. They don’t do big discounts, says Angela, but, as any keen antique hunter will tell you, its always worth asking.