Furniture Shopping in Cuenca

| January 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

Furniture Shopping 

Red Love Seat with Attitude

Red Love Seat with Attitude

As promised in the last post of 2016,  here’s what we’ve learned about furniture in Cuenca to date.

More challenging than finding a place to live has been shopping for furniture.  There is a Cuenca style of furniture that we are not enamored of and our apartment is too small to fit a standard living room suite.  Cuenca-style living room suites are rectilinear in the extreme, orange is a favorite color, and cushions tend to be rigid and overstuffed.  After shopping in a great many furniture stores and sitting on a great many sofas,  we’ve purchased just two pieces of furniture and two bar stool chairs — the rest we bought used from Gringo Post or had custom-made.  

As we figure out how to furnish our  2500 sf house, we’ll report in again.

The red love seat was on clearance for under $400 at Vitefama and John had to have it — it has elliptical arm rests with attitude.  The black “sofa-cama” (futon) from Colineal was comfy, stylish, and practical for visiting guests, at around $560 on sale.  From Gringo Post we bought:  

Our living room furniture

Our living room furniture

a set of 4 folding metal outdoor chairs and a table (we added chair cushions) for $350, an antique oak hutch, an Haceb washer-dryer combo ($800), a cheap desk, and 48″ flat Smart TV (sitting on the floor).

The rugs available in Cuenca are ridiculous — too small, too flashy, and synthetic — but I persuaded John we needed SOMETHING on the living room floor and found a tiny inoffensive grey and black rug at Coral.  We prefer native-made products but the thick wool hand-knotted rugs of Riobamba and Ambato area are very pricey here in Cuenca and Otavalo weavings are not large enough to re-purpose as area rugs.  Veremos.

John balked at buying the bulky wooden beds that are ubiquitous in furniture stores here.  Nothing wrong with them but they are pricey and not his style.  I wanted to get our mattress off the floor, but agreed to wait.  

Since our 2nd visit to Cuenca in 2014, John has been intrigued by the metal worker shops on historic Las Herrerias Street.  It’s the street where Simon Bolivar would have had horseshoes made and his horses stabled.  It’s a narrow, colonial street of mostly 1 story adobe houses that, today, sell one of two things — metal works or tamales & humitas.   After we had some metal kitchen shelves made to our specs, per John’s sketch, and saw the result, we had confidence that Eduardo would do a good job with our full-size bed.  Because Eduardo had a big order ahead of ours, completing the bed took a month and a half but it was worth the wait.  We found images of metal beds on the internet and simply added our own dimensions and sketches to the one we chose.  We love the metal frame and the $380 price tag including wood slates, delivery and installation.   We also like that we are supporting a native business that is in decline. 

Our custom-made metal bed

Our custom-made metal bed


As you can see, our walls are bare and furnishings are few.   In a few months we’ll be moving into a house and want to return the rental apartment to it’s original, brand new condition.  It’s easier to wait it out with bare walls than hang shelves and pictures only to have to patch the walls when we move out.   


Leaving furniture for philosophy, “waiting it out” is what moving to Cuenca can be like for expats — camping out for a while and making do with the basics at first.  We arrived in early June, and are not settled after 7 months — still waiting for our Residency Visas.  It’s a transitional, liminal period where we are “betwixt and between” two lives and two cultures.  It never felt this way before — on our two visits here in 2012 and 2014.  We were care-free tourists from North America then.  Now we are, technically, neither residents of US nor of Ecuador; we are hoovering and waiting like a male hummingbird with no nest.


Our custom-made metal kitchen shelves

Our custom-made metal kitchen shelves at Las Herrerias Street



Metal worker in action

Metal worker in action, Las Herrerias Street

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Category: Cuenca Move 2016, Expat Life in Cuenca

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