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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Theodor's: Practical Antique Furniture in Maadi
There’s no denying that the Cairo shopping scene has recently experienced an upsurge in the antique and furniture market, to the extent where it has almost become standard to find an antique shop just around the next corner from wherever you are. This increased popularity is mainly centred in the Zamalek and Maadi areas, and since Theodor’s is one of the more popular names in the business, we decided to check it out.
Tucked away in a secluded residential area of Maadi, the shop is shaded by a striped canopy; the shade is certainly a welcome sight in this season’s glaring sun. The shop’s expansive sign and bright blue exterior are eye catching, being the only burst of colour in otherwise bland surroundings. The shop’s display window also offers some colour with a collection of vibrant tables, as well as chairs that are deep and rich brown – the items are enticing and likely to draw people in to check out what else the shop has to offer.
The shop’s interior, although pleasantly air conditioned, is quite small and cramped. A couple of oldies were softly blasting from the speakers at the time of our visit, instantly transporting you back to the 70’s.
Most of the shop’s space is taken up by a gorgeous Victorian dining table made of white oak (12,000LE). A large four-poster bed takes up one corner of the shop, laden with an array of linen goods and an assortment of vintage bedroom necessities. A huge boudoir takes up another side of the shop, with a large mirror inlay and a variety of antique portraits lining its dark, hued surface (10,000LE).
One of the most curious things about this shop is the lack of any professional assistance; most of the shop’s products were not priced and with no one to ask for guidance, it was kind of a hassle. However, the merchandise that was priced was quite exquisite. A set of old, engraved glass goblets amounts to 850LE, while a China tea set with Chinese engravings and pictograms is priced at 1250LE.
Some people might find that the prices are far too expensive for the products on display, but seeing as they are considered antiques, they are expected to fall within these price ranges.
Overall, the shop was a pleasant enough experience and the merchandise is certain to pique the interest of an interior decorator or newlyweds who have a taste for the antiques.
The ground floor is stocked in full with fashion goods imported from India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, but don’t be deceived; the upper floors are much more spacious and hold larger selections.
Everything from dresses, gowns, robes, jackets and vests to purses and scarves as well as Fayoum-style pottery and home accessories is stocked carefully in the well-organised shop. In general, their colours are bright and their patterns are bold, though more subdued tones can be found in tunics and trousers. The diversity of Nagada’s products is surprising, and the warm ambience of the shop will appeal to your earthy side.
Clay ashtrays, serving plates, cups and other table accessories are hand-made in Nagada’s Fayoum pottery workshop. Students of the workshop have a corner display in the shop, resulting in an interesting selection ranging from the more rural-inspired pottery to the more sophisticated patterns of the designers themselves.
Table trays are lain out with colourful tiles and can be custom-made in different sizes. Tables and other home accessories can be pre-ordered and are unique in their Arabesque-style, often inspired by rural designs and patterns. They come reasonably priced, falling somewhere between 3000LE to 4500LE.
Their large selection of colourful silk, cotton and linen carves from Vietnam, Malaysia and India range from 200LE to 700LE. The women’s wear section is quite large, with a selection of robes, dresses, skirts, vests, jackets and blouses.
A collection of local and imported fabrics is sure to keep you busy, especially after you find out that they also tailor-make all their designs. Fabrics are suitable for cushions, curtains and clothes alike. The fabrics section includes napkins (120LE for a set of six), placemats (80LE per item), hand-woven bedcovers that go all the way up to 8000LE and duvets (1200LE range) as well as tablecloths (700LE to 900LE) and runners.
The ambience and selections at Nagada are sure to keep you busy for a while and the local flavour adds a lot of appeal to this shop. Designs are colourful and original, fusing oriental styles and designs with high-quality craftsmanship.