This article first appeared in haven, The Edge Malaysia, on Issue #77 February + March 2016.
Beautiful Château began as a pottery business operating out of a house before widening its business to include furniture. This family-run business is owned by trio Nor Ziehan Sonia, her aunt Mimi and daughter Noor Fariza Hani.
The store showcases a selection of antique and vintage furniture sourced from the UK and France as well as new furniture pieces inspired by the two countries. Most products are refurbished here while some are sold in their original condition, depending on what the customer prefers. The refurbishing process ranges from a simple coat of shellac to brand new upholstery.
Sonia, who oversees the store, says they strive to maintain a personal touch with their customers. “My aunt is a great baker and we actually serve a little high-tea to our customers when they come in. It is our way of building a relationship with the customers; it’s not just about making a sale,” says Sonia, adding that they encourage their customers to take their time in making their decisions.
The Beautiful Château is filled to the brim with furniture. Rugs are thrown over the wooden flooring of the store and chandeliers, which are also for sale, light up the space. Tea and dining sets in fine bone china, bestsellers here, feature prominently throughout the store, in several designs and colourful variations, while mirrors and large tapestries are hung on the walls.
There is a living-room-like setup at the entrance of the store with three deep red, tanned leather Chesterfield sofas, a large coffee table and a gemstone and marble adorned lampshade in the corner. Sets of crockery from Royal Albert, Aynsley China and Burleigh are arranged on the dining tables and in the cabinets. The furniture and decorative items extend all the way to the back of the store and customers may take a while to browse through the numerous items on display.
The shop specialises in antique and vintage home furnishings imported exclusively from England, France, Hungary, Belgium and the Czech Republic as well as British-made custom furniture. The owners of the shop specially scout for all the items on sale. Customers can expect to find bigger pieces — like tanned leather sofas, side tables, desks, display cabinets and elaborate chandeliers — and smaller items such as footrests, plush cushions, upholstery fabric as well as pottery and crockery. These items are mainly from the UK and France with tapestries from Belgium and chandeliers from the Czech Republic.
“Our items are mostly rare collectibles with their own history and character. When you buy something here, you will be the only one with the unique piece in your home,” says Sonia.
Some of the furniture pieces are over 100 years old but do not require a lot of refurbishment. “They don’t make them like this anymore,” she adds, referring to the quality of the workmanship of the inlaid wood designs seen on one of the chairs. The British Chesterfield leather sofas, armchairs and desk chairs make for grand additions to a living room or study.
Refurbishing services include substituting hay or horsehair, typically found in these antique and vintage pieces, with sponge. Sonia tells us that this is mainly for hygiene purposes, but customers who purchase the item for display purposes only may choose to retain it in its original form. There is an assortment of chairs, one of which is a balloon-back chair with the seat upholstered in deep pink, making it quite the statement piece.
Sonia says it is rare for a customer to fill their home entirely with this type of furniture. “Customers whose houses do not follow a comprehensive English theme may incorporate a single piece of furniture or decorative item into their homes or create a nook inspired by them,” she says. So, whether you are a collector in search of antique items or a homeowner looking for functional furniture, you might just find that perfect piece at Beautiful Château.