After all the planning and research, the purchase of large furniture items comes quickly and easily.
House Doctor: Interior starts to take shape
After I made some great furniture purchases at a local Crate and Barrel store upon my return from Europe, I found the Crate and Barrel website to be of further help, since products not represented in its UAE stores are clearly shown in the web catalogue.
For the dining area of my apartment, I have always imagined contrasting a wood table with metal chairs or combining a table with a metal base and wood chairs, so the Harvest side chairs caught my eye. Made from solid elm, these simple, rectilinear forms with a tung oil finish have a handmade, Craftsman style - which predates Modernism but inspired many of its ideas - that will relate well with the other choices I have made so far.
A brief telephone conversation with a salesperson tells me that the chairs are, in fact, on display at Mirdif City Centre and stocked in the local warehouse. A quick drive to the store confirms my interest and I make another purchase.
While out, I stop at Singways, a furniture retailer specialising in modern-style pieces and interpretations of classic designs. Since my original goal of finding the budget for one or two Barcelona chairs by Mies van der Rohe does not look like it is going to happen, I consider myself fortunate to stumble upon a pair of black leather chairs with polished chrome frames in the Singways Jumeirah Beach Residence showroom. These well-priced chairs are reminiscent of Modernist style and represent similar qualities to the classic pieces: simple forms and an honest, straightforward use of materials. I am pleased to have made another significant purchase. Aside from a storage and media cabinet, I have all of the large furniture items for my living area selected and purchased.
In the short time I've been back in the UAE, I have been delighted at how easily I have found exactly what I need. The time I spent planning the concept and furniture arrangement, as well as developing an understanding of the style I wanted, has allowed me to concentrate on locating great pieces for my apartment because I have clear direction on what to search for. Selections are going so well, that at this point I only have a few large pieces to find (a dining table with metal base, dining storage, bedroom storage, desk and storage for my living and dining areas) and then I can start filling in with smaller accessory furniture.
Once the final items of furniture are found, I can begin to pick up decorative items and window coverings, and hang artwork.
Robert Reid is a professor of architecture, art and design at the American University of Sharjah.