Vintage Shop Tour: Second Charm

There's beauty in pre-loved items, and this shop proves that vintage gems have a place in modern Singaporean homes.

Updated on June 09, 2017 9:06 am

On a vintage hunt? Check this out: a boutique furniture shop specialising in vintage furniture, fine reproductions, and custom-made furniture is housed in an old 1920s shophouse in Kampong Glam. Second Charm—which sells vintage furniture, antiques, collectibles, and pre-loved items—can spot treasures even in their raw and rundown conditions and transforms them into beautifully restored pieces for your home.

In 2001, Sharifah Maznah Syed Omar started Second Charm in Kuala Lumpur, bringing in vintage furniture and pre-loved items from Singapore. A year later, Sharifah opened Second Charm in Singapore to cater to homeowners in the Little Red Dot who were looking for period pieces, retro furniture, and art deco items to deck their homes with.

"The demand for industrial and vintage furniture has never been better. For vintage furniture, the demand is more for the retro, Scandinavian pieces of the '60s rather than the colonial or art deco pieces of the '40s and '50s," observes Sharifah. "More and more have become interested in industrial furniture, not just homeowners but also cafes and restaurants."

Sharifah's love affair with anything vintage and old started in the late '90s when she was in London. "I fell in love with the vintage furniture, antiques and collectibles there," she says. Sharifah nurtured her passion for these stuff during her weekends in London. She visited art and antique fairs, flea markets, charity shops, and car boot sales.

"Sourcing, hunting, and discovering these treasures was fun and exciting for me," gushes Sharifah. "When I decided not to pursue an academic career, dealing with vintage is something I know I would enjoy and love to do."

Vintage blue 2-seater sofa

Rounded edge pop TV console

Industrial Rosell coffee table

Through Second Charm, Sharifah wants to send a message to homeowners that there is a lot of beauty and charm in secondhand items. When she started the shop in Malaysia, the response was overwhelming that she needed to source quickly and stock up on vintage furniture. "Singapore then was a good source of vintage furniture. People were literally throwing them away for new modern furniture," she remembers.

Being a mother of a little girl back then, Sharifah had to juggle her family life and her business. She had to travel weekly to Kuala Lumpur to oversee the operations. "Getting a good restorer in Singapore was tough and expensive as there are only a few restorers and craftsmen here. We had to send our pieces for restoration to Malacca, Malaysia. Rent, too, kept increasing because we are in a heritage enclave," Sharifah shares.

The big turnaround for her business was when she started going online. In a short span of time, people discovered and found the shop. There were some who expressed the same amount of love for vintage furniture as her. "The Internet has been a great marketing platform for us," she points out.

"We also made a leap when we started making our own furniture using old recycled wood and new plantation teak. To this day, we make furniture inspired by the mid-century and industrial styles. These pieces strike a chord in many homeowners' hearts."

Tiffany blue bedside cabinet

Chest of drawers

Coffee table with magazine stand

Sharifah thinks that Second Charm's pieces are well received by Singaporean homeowners because mid-century- and Scandinavian-inspired furniture pieces seem suitable for their modern spaces.

"They are simple, clean, stylish, and fit into apartment living. Industrial furniture has become a trend here because of the romanticism of the industrial past. Now that we have moved to a more sophisticated development, the ruggedness of the industrial age is much more romanticised," says Sharifah.

While it is true that vintage, pre-loved furniture can at times be more expensive than mass-produced, run-off-the-mill pieces, there is no denying that these beauties can help you furnish your home in a style that is uniquely your own. Patronising these types of furniture also earns you a "Friend of the Environment" badge.

So what are you waiting for? Go visit Second Charm at Blk 21 Kallang Avenue, #05-165 Mapletree Industrial Building, Singapore, and discover pieces that are uniquely beautiful and could add a vintage vibe to your home.

Red distressed vintage grill with decorative flower patterns

2-seater sofa

Industrial-style TV console

Sharifah's tips for homeowners who plan to add industrial and vintage pieces to their abodes:

* Be eclectic. You can combine industrial and vintage pieces.

* Have your industrial furniture painted as metal gets rust easily.

* Although vintage furniture look great in their weathered, distressed condition, you can also get it repaired, restored, or reupholstered at Second Charm. "We also deal with restoration of old pieces, giving them a new lease on life. We feel good about this as we are helping with the conservation of the environment."

What is your go-to shop for vintage furniture? We'd love to pay that shop a visit so share it with us at hello@cromly.com.

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