We imagine plenty of you out there dream, as we do, about buying an old Shanghai lane house and renovating it to its former glory. Well, a city resident named Melanie is doing just that — and she started a blog to document the project’s progress. She’s only written three posts so far, but we hope she keeps it up so we can all follow along.
In her introductory post, she tells us:
My husband and I recently acquired a 1930’s lane house in a Shanghai lane with a colorful and turbulent history. The area is a few blocks south of Yu Garden (also near Wen Miao) and a few blocks from the future World Expo site. The whole area is undergoing massive reconstruction and transition, yet the Old atmosphere of the lane has changed very little.
Our goals for the renovation is to restore the home to its original condition, yet update it with modern conveniences. The house was originally designed with many Art Deco architectural features (rounded corners, horizontal lines) and we hope to bring this motif back wherever possible. We also want to use resources that were locally available at the time and were popular household construction materials. My husband and I feel a strong sense of responsibility to make this historic renovation as accurate as possible; however, lifestyles have changed a lot since the 1930’s so we hope to reach a midpoint between form and function.
Before the holiday, we did a walk-through with our architect and happily discovered some of the original cornices that had been hidden under a drop ceiling in one of the upper bedrooms. We had long wondered how the ceiling molding had originally looked in the downstairs living room, so it was quite exciting to find a bit of it still lingering. It is very similar to what we had planned to use, but it was reassuring to see that we are on the right track.