Friday, January 7, 2011

Officially the worst blogger ever, & home decor!

Hi guys, Happy New Year! I know, I am officially the worst blogger ever... 2 posts in December?!! I mean, what's up with that?! The truth is, I've just been majorly busy! Running around town, exploring different markets, trying new restaurants with friends. It's been fun but the blog has suffered - sorry about that. I'll try to be better! At least 3 posts a month... ha ha ha! I recently went to a huge fabric market in Beijing and bought some super 120s wool that I am going to have made into a shift dress - you know, with the hopes that one day I will have a legitimate job to wear it to! I'll keep you updated on how that goes and post pics when it is finished.

4 months. I only have 4 months left in China... can you believe it?! I'm not going to lie - at some point (in the midst of my homesickness, I am sure), it felt like I'd NEVER get this far, and now here we are, 4 months left, and I know I have to really make them count. We have travel plans for every month we have left here, so we'll see how that goes! We are going to Harbin soon to see the Ice Festival.... it's like -15F in Harbin, so I am hoping the (ugly)(but warm) Northface snow boots I bought will arrive in time.

What else have we been up to... buying furniture. I love Asian style furniture, and it works well with many different types of decor styles without being overwhelmingly Asian. I'm hoping to find somewhat unique pieces that I can use to add a little Asian flare to our house, without someone walking in the room and feeling like they entered a traditional Chinese house or a badly decorated Chinese-themed hotel. So we'll see. I've been scouring photos on the web to draw inspiration from, and I have definitely settled on the look I am going for. Check out this amazingly decorated home I found on Apartment Therapy.

That's just the living room. I love the warm colors, how it looks homey and cozy but also amazingly decorated, with interesting pieces that make you wonder the story behind them. The statement piece that keeps drawing my eye in that photo is definitely the Beijing cabinets.

You can see more pictures of this amazing house here.

We've purchased a few things recently in our quest to recreate this sort of look in our own living room (when we move back to the U.S.) I'm using the picture as a guide - I was afraid that if I didn't have a guide like that, I'd end up buying a bunch of things that may not work well together.

We bought this table at an antique shop near my hair salon. This place is like a treasure cove... I really want to go back and buy a chest. This table is from sometime in the early 1900s and is made from Elm wood. Supposedly. Who knows in China?! We don't care whether the stuff we buy is an antique or not - so long as we think it looks good and is well-made.

Close up of the carving details

Funny story about this bowl

We bought it for about 250 Kuai (a little over 40 USD) at a small shop at Gaobeidian furniture street. At Beijing's 798 Art District the other day, we saw this same exact bowl but the smaller version being sold for 2600 Kuai! OMG! Are you kidding me?!! That made us feel reaaalllll good!

These next two pieces are just small little basins that look cool strategically placed on the floor. The first one is a wash basin that used to be used to wash clothes or dishes in. It's made of walnut wood. Every time we buy something like this, the seller tells us we can raise a fish in it, and other Chinese people look at us like we are crazy for buying these things.

This is just a bucket, made of willow wood, and you can still see people in the countryside using these to carry water.

I did some research online and decided I wanted to check out an antique store (that also produces reproduction furniture and custom designs) in the Tongzhou part of Beijing. So, my husband I jumped in a cab and off we went... after driving an hour and ending up in the middle of nowhere, we realized it was a lot farther than we thought. The cab driver gave us a big smile and told us he'd wait for us... which I was very grateful for, there would have been no catching of the cabs way out there! I told him if he didn't wait, we'd end up sleeping there, which he thought was very funny coming out of my mouth. When we arrived, we stepped out a little like, now what? It was deserted.

We eventually found someone to help and purchased a Beijing cabinet, and a chair.

This is made of elm wood and is not too old, about 80 years. We are going to purchase another chest to put on top of it, like in the picture of the Beijing cabinet in the "inspiration picture" I posted above. We did not purchase the colorful chest on top of it.

And our chair, made of walnut wood... I love the geometric shape of it.

I plan to place it somewhere off to the side, with a simple piece of artwork above it, like this.

So, over all I think we are off on the right foot in creating a unique space for our house when we return to the States.



  1. Wow looks like you nabbed some gorgeous furniture! And 4 months is still long enough to continue enjoying the country :)

  2. I like Asian style furniture too. But only when they are mingled with modern, contemporary styles. The pieces you have are beautiful.

  3. Jamielee - thanks! I know, plenty of time left still to enjoy!

    Thegirlieblog - yes, those words MODERN & CONTEMPORARY are EXACTLY the words I was searching for when I wrote the post, but they just weren't coming to mind. That is exactly what I want to do with these pieces, mingle them with modern and contemporary, but not have the room reek of Asian decor - much like I think the inspiration photo achieves. The real obvious ornately-Chinese side table we bought is the only piece I am buying like that. All the pieces may not even end up in the same room - we'll see how it plays out with our other furniture back in the States!

  4. That furniture is all awesome, and the best part is that you will have a neat story to tell about each piece! I especially liked your fish basin :o)

  5. oh my gosh, that cabinet is so gorgeous!
    Love it!

  6. Great pieces! Im so jealous of your whole experience there!


  7. The one thing I hate about living in a small apartment is that we don't have the space to really showcase our Beijing furniture. Instead of being an interesting focal point, it's shoved into whatever space we have and relegated to purely functional roles.

    Also, did you hear about the incident at the Siberian tiger park in Harbin? So sad! I thought of your upcoming trip when I read it. I wasn't sure if you were planning to visit while you were there or not.

  8. Meg - I know how that is... I am really hoping we can find a good house to rent with plenty of room to create the look I want! That is the one thing that stinks about renting. Hopefully we can make it work!

    I didn't hear about the incident, I'll have to look it up. We are only spending 2 days in Harbin so I don't think the park is on our schedule.

    Oh and obviously, the chair in that picture has like 20 years worth of Beijing pollution caked on it... the color really is a nice wood color, not that faded dusty look that it has in the picture. They delivered the stuff to our house yesterday and it smells like a coal factory.. LOL. We are going to have to work on that.

  9. Oh my goodness - those pieces are incredible. You're going to love having those in your home stateside (provided you can get rid of the icky smell!).

  10. Happy New Year! I love asian furniture as detailed and every inch has significance to its maker.

    <3, natasha

  11. cool finds! I missed your blog entries :) glad you're back to blogging!

  12. I love that home you found - SO gorgeous!!! That's totally my style. :)

  13. Like the photos you shared. The home you featured is beautifully designed.