Sumptuous selection of furnishings close to home
When it comes to furnishing and decorating your home, what better place to shop than Horizon Plaza? This building in Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong Island, has become a haven for anything and everything connected with the home.
Shah Carpet Palace, on the 20th floor of Horizon Plaza, has one of the city's largest and most exquisite collections of carpets and rugs. The store has more than 5,000 carpets from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Tibet, Mongolia and Turkey.
'We sell only handmade carpets and rugs made from wool and silk,' said Haider Shah, director of Shah Carpet Palace.
Mr Shah rates Iranian carpets highly because of their history, culture, workmanship and the materials used.
'The Iranians are skilled weavers, and that is why their carpets are the most expensive,' he added.
Carpets come in sizes from 2ftx3ft up to 15ftx30ft. An Iranian carpet measuring 7ftx10ft would be adequate for the average Hong Kong apartment, Mr Shah said. These can cost from $18,000.
Carpets and rugs with intricate designs and colours tend to be more expensive because the quality is usually high. 'The colour combination is a vital factor in determining how expensive a carpet will be,' he said.
The number of knots in a carpet also determines the value. The greater the density of knots per square inch, the stronger the carpet. 'Modern rugs and carpets normally have 60 to 70 knots per square inch, but in a Persian carpet, one that is fairly inexpensive, the number of knots starts from 300 per square inch.'
Customers who have bought carpets from either Shah Palace or its outlet in Central can trade in their carpets any time, 'be it one day old or 10 years old'.
'The value of a handmade carpet appreciates with time,' Mr Shah said.
IntoHome, on the 9th floor of Horizon Plaza, has a wide range of home items and accessories such as duvet covers, Lyon French quilts, pillowcases, towels and table linen. 'This Christmas we will launch our own line of pyjamas,' said IntoHome marketing manager Pep Wong.
'All our bedding products are unique as they have a lot of embellishments, such as traditional handmade embroidery with modern designs, like our Oriental bedspread,' she said.
Design is a distinctive feature in the company's products. While most of the designs are done in Hong Kong, some come out of the London office. The company has its own factory in China, 'where quality is controlled at every step'. The price of bedspreads ranges from $550 to $945 (queen size), and pillowcases are from $99 to $115 apiece.
The company has three ranges of bedding products. Bianca is low-priced and aimed at the mass market. Prices begin at $550. The trendy, contemporary designs like Double Happiness and Ink Black are created for the yuppy set. Here too prices start at $550. Margaret Muir is for the sophisticated buyer, and has clean, elegant designs that are embroidered,appliqued or printed.
IntoHome also has an extensive range of high-quality furniture made from elm wood. 'All our furniture is of modern design but made in the traditional handcrafted way,' Ms Wong said.
Prices range from $2,000 to $20,000. Smaller items such as trays cost $500, while coffee tables cost $5,500.
Simply Sofas, on the 8th floor, has an eclectic range of furniture sold under two brand names: Simply Sofas and Orro.
'We have one of the most extensive ranges of sofas, tables, chairs and other furniture,' said Mike Kie, director of Simply Sofas. Buyers will be bewildered at the choice of furniture in this sprawling 10,000-sqft showroom.
More than 40 styles of sofas are available under the Simply Sofas brand.
'If you want something modern or with delicate lines and shapes, or simply a traditional form, we have it all here under the Simply Sofas brand name,' Mr Kie said.
The price for a three-seater in this brand ranges from $11,000 to $20,000, while armchairs cost from $1,500 to $2,800.
The Orro brand is for those who have large apartments and want furniture of a high quality and with large dimensions, such as a three-seat couch that is 8 feet to 10 feet long or in an L-shaped design. 'Some European families like large and deep couches, and we have these under the Orro brand,' Mr Kie said. Prices for an Orro three-seater range from $37,000 to $92,000.
Simply Sofas has its own factory in China. 'It is easy for us to control the quality of our furniture, from selecting the raw materials to choosing the wood and fabrics,' Mr Kie said.
The company uses a special process to marry metal and wood to strengthen the framework of its chairs and sofas. 'Although the framework is of wood, the corners of our sofas and chairs are made of metal,' he said.
Simply Sofas sources all of its fabrics in Spain, and these are specially treated with protective oversprays of Scotchgard and Dupont before being used.
'All of our sofas can be custom-designed and ordered,' Mr Kie said. 'If a customer likes the shape but wants to change the colour of the fabric, we can do it for free.'