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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Mit Rehan: Chic, Oriental-Inspired Furniture in Zamalek
Step inside virtually any Cairo apartment, and there is a strong likelihood that it will be furnished and decorated in the typical, classical Egyptian style: ornate, dark, and invoking a time in Egyptian history when the thing-du-jour was to adorn one’s home with fakes and replicas of French Renaissance-like house ware. The house will be questionably cluttered with crystals, fancy cushions and lampshades that a home in Victorian-era England could have had. Step inside one of Mit Rehan’s two entrances, though; and the style and design of its furniture and home accessories could not be more different.
Open since the mid-1990s, Mit Rehan is an upscale furniture and home accessories shop selling contemporary pieces that retain the Oriental/Middle Eastern style, but with a 21st century flare and elegance. Shereen Fahmy is both the owner and the designer responsible for almost every item in the shop, with the exception of accessories such as mirrors, trays and other wall ornaments, some of which are imported or are antiques. Fahmy blends Oriental/Middle Eastern themes into the simple silhouettes of her bed frames, couches, tables and more.
The designer also employs a myriad of colours in her designs – bold crimson reds, silver-blues, taupe, etc – using a plethora of materials such as velour, cotton and wood as well as bronze and glass. It’s fairly safe to say that there is something to satisfy almost every kind of taste at Mit Rehan.
This kind of elegant, unique home accessories comes at a steep price. While the products available are beautiful and of a high quality, it is arguably overpriced; a small set of two mirrors with an iron frame sells for 6000LE; a framed nautical-inspired sketch costs 390LE and a large iron chandelier sells for 6000LE, while a simple silver coffee tray with a bit of detailing on the corners will cost you 1050LE.
Looking for an entire set for your bedroom or living room? Mit Rehan currently has a silver-blue living room set including a couch (9670LE), two single chairs (2215LE each), wood and glass coffee table (5000LE) and a set of two large, modern glass lamps (2400LE) patterned in a Greek/Mediterranean theme (geometric patterns against a soft silver-blue velour-style material).
Mit Rehan can customise orders for its clientele; the living room ensemble, for example, can be reupholstered with a different fabric, and the shop’s friendly sales person mentioned that custom-designed and built pieces are also an option.
Classy, modern, and filled with one-of-a-kind creations, Mit Rehan has everything you'd need to outfit a home, albeit at a very high price.
Though it’s been a while, we still vividly remember the somewhat over-the-top promotion of Home Centre In the run-up to it’s opening. There was no getting away from it and though it isn’t exactly a shop that will lure you in as you casually browse Dandy Mega Mall, where it’s located, once we did venture in, things made sense.
More than just a home accessories and appliances shop, it’s like small mall in itself. The first thing you’ll notice is how impeciabbly arranged everything is – it drives home even more how many different areas of the home that the shop covers. We spotted an eclectic collection of wall clocks, of which a three-in-one clock that can show three different times (999LE) stood out, as well as an elegant, more classical bronze clock (499LE) which there was a smaller sliver version of too (299LE). There were also what one might call ‘table-clocks’, with a metallic clock on what was similar to a mini camera tripod (899), surprisingly tasteful.
What struck as most about Home Centre overall is the wide range of prices, which allow you to either splurge on something extravagant, or save some money on purchasing more basic things. This of course applies to some stock more than others, with lamps ranging between 390LE and 1049LE. Naturally, size, materials and overall quality differs as you go up the process range; for example, among the cheapest options is a basic, hollow, metallic lamp, while the more modern designs sit at the top of the price chain – large and suitable for a reception area, it’s adorned with silver-touches and a black, velvet shade.
You can go into most home accessories shops in Cairo and find a small, afterthought of a selection of generic, printed art; Home Centre is no different, but at the time of our visit, there were a few decent pieces among the pop-art inspired interpretations. Prices vary based on size and materials, with the most expensive – a 70cm x 50cm pieces showing famous British landmarks – going for 240LE. The cheapest you’ll find, meanwhile, go for around 79LE.
When it comes to the basics, Home Centre pretty much has anything and everything – a it’s a real one-stop shop. You can find everything from towels to toothbrush holders, both in all manner of colour, though the latter is outlandishly expensive – 99LE for a toothbrush holder! Even a tissue box cover is an outrageous 299LE.The prices are made all the more hard to swallow when you consider that, quality-wise, these items neither look nor feel like they justify their prices
Overall, Home Centre is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to kit out a new home; and even if some of the prices are rather steep, you will find yourself browsing the shop’s isles for some time.