Saturday, July 3, 2010

Where does suburban shop? Home Style

Household Style

I hate furniture and decoration shopping here. There is nothing unique anywhere, and it's like most of the furniture shops are still selling back stock of  stuff that went out of style in the early 80's.

Perhaps your husband adores the sort of Ugly sofas features extensively in Egyptian Soap operas? those are available in Abundance here. My husband, Stone, has a major Boner for things made out of dark wood from Marina, and so does every other white dude in Oman. All our houses look the same, inside and out.

Short of driving to Dubai to Shop at Ikea, or ordering something massive over the internet, what's a style conscious girl to do? The answer is to make it yourself. Or hire someone to make it for you.

Before we go any further, can I share a secret with you that will Guarantee your success in having stuff made? Here it is:
Take the amount of time you think it will take to create something, and double it.  

Clear? OK. First off, browse design sites on the internet, find some outrageous stuff you want, and go to Wadi Kabir. Try this for starters You can have ANYTHING you can imagine made to order in Wadi Kabir. There are some fantastic woodworking, upholstery and metal crafting shops in Wadi Kabir.

Got an Ugly Sofa? Go buy some Luxe upholstery fabrics and have it restyled and recovered. Want a newer, cooler headboard for your bed? Go find some super high gloss oil based paints in outrageous colors, and have a luscious new headboard designed from scrap wood. Troll the automotive scrap yards and get a bed made of corrugated Iron and glossy, powdercoated,  Classic car fenders. If you can dream it, it's likely the dudes in WK / Ghala can create it.

Ladies, you do not need to be afraid to go into Wadi Kabir or darkest Ghala. Contrary to whatever bullshit rumours you have heard, no one there will rape, rob or harass you.

Barring a trip into the depths of Wadi Kabir, following, is a list of the best places for home style in Muscat.

Al Medina Art Gallery
Al Madina is located on the sliproad between the Omanoil and the New Mosque (or the ghost house) on the  MQ side of the Sultan Qaboos Street. Al Medina has a limited selection of locally themed art, but the real beauty of the place lies in their talent at framing. They are OUTSTANDING, and can frame anything beautifully. Do not be an asshole and ignore their advice, they are professionals, you are not.

-Adlink Trading, and Photo Magic
Vinyl Stickers are where it's at. Got an Ugly Mirror, Plain Walls, or a car that needs Jazzing up?  Create your Own vinyl stickers. You can use fancy fonts, quotes from your favorite book, poetry, or 2-3 color images snatched from Google. Photo Magic has a Laser cutter for vinyl, and a variety of interesting fonts to play with. I had Adlink do some custom stickers and a custom wheel cover for a Pirate themed Car I was building. It looked awesome. I took one of the extra stickers and stuck it to an ugly mirror, and Viola, Subversive and Sexy. I might hang it over our bed  in the new house. Surrender the Booty Indeed.....

Doing stickers right takes some practice, so get 3 times as many as you will need to start. You can also order larger, readymade scenes off of go there and search for Vinyl Stickers. There is some really awesome stuff available.

-Neon Factory In Wadi Kabir-2482-1221
Actually called Al Nahar trading, this little company is located about 800 meters before the Wadi Kabir R/A on the right hand side coming from Ruwi. You'll see the sign out front advertising Neon Signs. These guys can make anything. Get creative, maybe you would like a funky neon chandelier for your dining room? A neon design to illuminate your back porch? Sajith, the guy who looks after the front end of the business is a delightful guy to deal with, and really did an astonishingly good job on the design and execution. All the other guys are kind, talented dudes who really get into the chance to do something creative for a change. Remember that you are not a huge customer, and show these guys some patience while they are working on your little order. You will be rewarded with an outstanding conversation piece for your home or business.

-Caravans Flowers-2456-6795
Located in their new Al Asfoor Plaza location, Caravans is better than ever. Run by a fascinating, and rather salty Canadian lady and her long suffering staff, Caravans is the best florist in Muscat. They did the flowers for my wedding, and they should do the flowers for yours. They have the freshest flowers anywhere, and they really understand how to care for them so that they stay fresh, often for weeks after you bring them home. Don't miss the outstanding Orchids and custom made arrangements they do.  The prices are on par with everywhere else, and they also have an outstanding selection of unique trinkets, cards, gifts and sculpture available. It's a No Bullshit place, with the freshest flowers around. Never again will you have to deal with the unfriendly staff and third-rate flowers from La Bella Rose. 

You should make a point of stopping by places where old-ish houses and buildings are being torn down. Take your kids, and a basket of fresh fruit or cookies for the Laborers. Have a poke around, and see what can be salvaged from the jackhammers. I've scored some fantastic old tiles, giant slabs of Italian marble, Custom carved granite stair accents, stained glass windows, Hand made geometric made wooden ceiling inlays, and custom fabricated round window grilles. It's all there for the taking, and would otherwise end up in a landfill, or melted down and recycled. The laborers have always been amazingly helpful, and only to delighted to point out pretty things that I should take. I make sure to bring them treats, and tip them a rial or two if they have to rip something out specially for me.

-Ceros steel
I have Blogged about the wonderland that is Ceros Steel before. Ceros is located on the left hand side of the road road to the Egyptian, Phillipino (sp?), and ABA school in Al Khuwair, just before the rugby club. You can't miss it. They can make anything out of Metal. Aluminum, galvanized steel, powdercoating, and cast bronze are all within their ability. from custom shelving solutions to bespoke wax-cast sculptures, the nice guys at ceros can create it.

-Pro Shots Photography 2456-6663
Why don't you get your ugly-ass family and make them look gorgeous? Proshots can make that happen for you. Run by talented husband and wife team Rami and Huda, Proshots is a fantastic photography and videography company. Currently based in Al Qurm, near the recently demolished round mosque, they do high quality studio and offsite photography. Proshots has entirely female editing and photography staff, which is reassuring for women, especially at wedding and family sessions. They are professional to a fault, and they will make you look good no matter how ugly you really are. Trust me on this. They do wonderful framing and oversize canvasses, and well as botique and specialty albums. They are also really nice, and make you feel completely at ease from the first minute.
This is Joy, one of the lovely and talented photographers for Proshots. 


Anonymous said...

caravans – used to be the only place in Muscat to get flowers which didn’t walk from the palace; though I would put the saltiness ratio of the owner somewhere at dead-sea levels.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

I love "scrapping": I have a lovely coffee table in the works from an Islamic panel that used to be over a window.

And THANKS for the good florist tip. I usually make my own arrangements from online ordered flowers. Because the rest are HORRIBLE baby's breath between the died roses and daisies. Oh. Dear. God.