Both of them had bought old chairs from Mercadolivre and then taken it to a tapeceria to get reupholstered which can cost as much as the chair but still cheaper than buying it ready made from a shop like Desmobilia, and you would have a completely unique piece that no one else has. So I took it upon myself to be more budget and try the online shopping here. I've been looking for an old medicine cabinet for our bathroom like this one in Desmobilia, so I copied and pasted the text into the Mercadolivre search engine and voila, found a very similar one for about a quarter of the price! OK, the sides are missing, there is no key and I need to buy glass shelves to insert. I checked the seller's credit rating, paid via the site (though in hindsight, the sellers prefer you to pay in cash on delivery if possible so there is no fee paid out to Mercadolivre) and he delivered free of charge 2 days later.
Today I went to my local glass shop "vidracaria" and ordered the glass shelves and side for another R200 and they are delivering tomorrow. So far one of my less painful shopping experiences in Brazil, and certainly won't be my last on Mercadolivre.
Another site to check out is elo7 which is their version of etsy. I don't think the standard is quite there yet but maybe in time..
Crap, I think I've just jinxed myself. I should've waited to post this once the glass shelving is delivered tomorrow...