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marmot and Others - Looking for Bali Furniture Advice

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My wife Jeane is looking for a wardrobe or armoire - type of wood is not a priority but we are wondering if furniture with hand-carved doors with lotus flowers or Balinese dancers is something we can find, either in a "showroom" or custom-made. Not necessarily looking for bargains. Would appreciate any and all suggestions and recommendations. We are not sure what to expect but have been to Bali before and realize that much that is available is "modern" and that recycled wood furniture is popular. We have not been to Tegalalang, Mas or anywhere else for furniture to actually look. Please let us know if Jeane's expectations are realistic...

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    I don't have specific recommendations for places to buy furniture. We bought all of ours in Jakarta years back.

    Armoires/wardrobes (called lemari) are quite popular in Indonesia. You'll find them for sale all over Bali old and new, carved and simple, at varying levels of quality. Almost all of the furniture and ornate wood carving you see in Bali actually comes from Java, mostly Jepara and Madura. Balinese wood carving is more often found on screens and wall panels and free standing sculptures. I don't know that I've ever seen a lemari with Balinese carving. I'll have to think about that the next time I look at furniture.

    There are big wooden furniture warehouse-like stores in many locations in South Bali -- Seminyak, Sanur, Sunset Road (the road to the airport) and Jalan Bypass. The the most concentrated area for smaller shops is Kerobokan which is just north of Seminyak. There are many shops along Jalan Kerobokan, Jalan Mertanadi and Jalan Mahendradatta. It's a spread out area and the shops are kind of hit and miss. The best approach is to get a car or taxi to drive from shop to shop and wait while you have a look. If you're prepared to comb through a lot of dust and clutter you'll find some good pieces. I'm sure there are vendors in the Ubud area as well, but I've never looked for furniture there.

    Most shops will arrange shipment for you. Or you can work directly with a freight forwarder. I've had good experiences with Rim Cargo in Seminyak. There are many others.

    The two major issues with buying furniture in Indonesia and sending it back to a temperate climate are insect infestation and cracking due to humidity and temperature differential. You want to make sure that the wood has been de-bugged and kiln dried. Teak, mahogany and the local woods, merbau and bangkirai are all popular materials. Because tropical hardwoods are now protected and therefore expensive many use recycled wood or combinations of old and new.

    You will also find that most of the so called antiques are actually new pieces that have been processed to look aged. If the workmanship is good I find these a reasonable alternative to hard to find antiques.

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