Thursday 28 June 2012

Shop : Chor Bazaar (Sofa So Good!)

Combining my passion for shopping and interiors, Chor Bazaar is a place where I like to spend hours hunting for knick-knacks and bits of furniture.  Even Mr Jules quite enjoys it there (although of course he won't admit it).

Chor Bazaar is sometimes described as a flea market (and apparently translates as 'Thieves Market' as stolen goods used to wind up there) but I think it's much better than that. To me, it is a paradise for vintage, antique and old colonial furniture (some of it reproduction), Bollywood posters, sculptures, old record players, Art Deco light fittings etc etc etc.  The thing is, the 'locals' don't, as a rule, like to buy anything old.  Most of them want the glitzy, gold-plated, faux leather look.  So lots of the Old Colonial furniture from the big old houses and plantations winds up at Chor Bazaar.  There are some good antique shops in town like Phillips Antiques and the Raj Company but in my view, they are very over-priced and do not present such a good opportunity for bargain hunting (as they are mostly fixed priced).

Anyone for a giant brass elephant?  You can buy all sorts in Chor Bazaar!

As mentioned, a lot of the furniture is reproduction, so you have to look really carefully if you really want the genuine article. If you ask the shop-owners they are usually honest about what is genuine antique and what is not. However, even the repro stuff is well made and usually in good quality woods like teak and rosewood, so there is no point being sniffy. There is definitely a bargain to be had if you barter hard enough and I have bashed down a wooden Art Deco armchair to about 3500 rupees (£40/$65).  And that is with my western face, I bet the locals could bash it down even further!

So now I can show you our prized purchase from the Bazaar.  Mr Jules and I were browsing one of the many furniture shops and after getting into a conversation about sourcing an Art Deco sofa suite with the owner, I asked to look upstairs.  And what did I find! It was quite hard to spot, being a bashed up old wreck of a wooden frame, but the Art Deco features were unmistakeable. Dusty, filthy, and a complete disaster:

After agreeing a price for an upholstered and polished 'three piece suite' consisting of a two seater sofa and two chairs, I then had to track down some upholstery fabric elsewhere. (Oh, let me explain - the antique dealers rarely have items that are already perfected and ready to sell - rather they hope that someone with a lot of imagination will happen to come along who will offer a fantastic price whilst also coming up with design and fabric solutions - ie ME!) 

After sifting through hundreds of samples of gold flecked polyester material in several shops, we eventually found some plain cream linen.  After bringing back the fabric to the furniture dealer, and after his umpa lumpas had worked on the re-upholstery - one week later, see what we ended up with...I think quite fantastic for a week's work!!

Good quality teak wood frame in tact
Fab Art Deco detailing

Tarted up with Indian stylee cushions from Good Earth

I mostly stick to Mutton Street where the best of around 150 shops are.  I also found this excellent printable PDF guide from Mumbai Boss to be extremely useful in tracking down the best quality traders:

Please keep tabs on my blog for further interior updates. We are working hard to make our apartment a home.

Find Chor Bazaar here:,Chor+Bazaar,+Kamathipura,+Mumbai,+Maharashtra,+India&gl=uk&ei=QUvsT-SbH47prQfm_4nEBQ&sqi=2&ved=0CAUQ8gEwAA

Happy shopping!

I returned to Chor Bazaar on 14th March 2013 - please see my other post here!


  1. What a find! Oh no, cream linen, I am already nervous of the inevitable red wine spillage! Maybe I'll stick with less-stainy drinkies... Does teddy bear like new sofa?

  2. Bobby loves new sofa...very comfy indeed. As for the red wine, in Mumbai there is enough other filth that creeps into one's household without worrying about red wine!

  3. Oh dear, having read your more recent post I hope you're not talking about the STAFF!
    Aaah joke...!

  4. Hi Jules, I just discovered you blog and love it. My husband and I have been in Mumbai for the last few months and have our first visitors coming soon so I've been rummaging through you shopping an touristy posts. Quick question: my dad is quite a collector of militaria especially uniform buttons (don't ask!) is there any chance you have come across any shops like this?

    1. Hi Elee. I am so sorry I have taken so long to reply! I have been away and then had a very hectic week working. I am so delighted you have got in touch. I need to do more shopping blogs soon - I miss them myself!
      There is a place in Chor Bazaar where you can get old coins but I think they might do militaria as well. You might have to go and have a rummage. Try Old Art on Mutton Street - here is a map of all the good places in Chor Bazaar
      You could also try Philips Antiques in Colaba but I am not so sure.. bet is to rummage in Chor Bazaar I think!

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  6. Would you believe it if I told you that I have this very old exactly "same to same" original Art Deco sofa set in 3 pieces and my wife wants to get rid of it for a bigger sofa cum bed? How much did you get yours for finally?

    1. I honestly can't remember in Rs..but at the time I think it was £600 excluding the fabric. We love it and will take it back to England.



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