A Peek Inside a 1920s Shanghai Lane House — House Call

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Name: Miranda
Location: Jing An District – Shanghai, China
The basics: 2 years, rented | around 700 square feet

Miranda’s historic lane home is full of antiques, high ceilings and her traditional Chinese dress collection. The layout of the apartment complex let her get to know her neighbors and build a sense of community.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Lane houses are well known structures which are particular to Shanghai, famous for combining both Chinese and Western building aesthetics. They date all the way back to the mid 1800s, although this particular one was built in 1927.

There are a few things that I love about this apartment. The first is the bare stripped back walls and ceilings. I love the feel of the old bricks and elegant ceiling beams, they give the apartment a very spacious feel. Then there is all the antique furniture, I LOVE the antique furniture, and in particular the large Chinese cabinet and smaller Chinese sideboards with inlay, although there is also a myriad of other antique suitcases and pieces in there. I added and changed a lot of things when I moved in, including a few pieces of more modern industrial looking furniture, which I think contrasts nicely with the antique pieces.

And lastly, there is of course the community and the people. People live in very close quarters in these lane house apartments, and there are a lot of old Shanghainese folks around. I love the whole vibe of nosey neighbors (mostly), and laundry being hung all over the place.

For the first year I lived here with my French Bull Rocky, and in the second year I welcomed Pippa the terrier mix that my now husband and I adopted. Then my husband (fiance at the time) also moved in while we renovated our new apartment, along with Kirin the cat. So at the height of the population, we had two adults, 3 pets and an unborn baby all living here (I was pregnant last year).

I also started my blog in this apartment towards the end of last year, which is mainly about qipaos/cheongsams (traditional Chinese dresses), but includes a lot of Chinese history and culture references. I couldn’t imagine a better place to start it than this apartment!

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the living/dining room. It is very spacious, bright, and the antique furniture is really a highlight. It’s a great space for chilling out, entertaining, and my little dogs to run around in.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? The bathroom and kitchen are on a different side of the lane house, where I either have to go up into the bedroom and then down some stairs, or out the front door and into another door across the corridor. It is a little troublesome getting a drink or watering plants, so I do wish the kitchen/bathroom were more easily accessible. But then again, that’s part of the charm of the place!

Thanks, Miranda!

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