Friday, August 15, 2014

A tour of our home

Apologies in advance for the many pictures...

With our boxes finally here and touches of home up, since I cleaned the house today I took pictures to show what life and home looks like for us here. Of course, not everything is the way we want it... but I've learned things won't ever be "done" and it's almost done! :) We truly feel blessed with the furnished apartment we found. God has blessed us, and it truly feels like home now. 

So, here we go...

 Our apartment, building 44. Climb to the 3rd floor and you'll come to our door...

Stepping inside, you can put your shoes into the cabinet on the left. 
Chinese apartments have many smart storage compartments, that help greatly!

To the right, you'll see our dining room. Through the sliding door straight ahead is a small enclosed balcony that holds a washing machine, sink, and drying space. The cabinet on the left holds dishes that makes setting the table a breeze.

The plants are ones we're watering for our neighbors while they  vacation for a month. But they make a house so homey, that maybe one day we'll have our own. 

Hanging on our dining room wall, this gift made by a dear friend when when we were teens makes me smile... neither one of us would have ever dreamed it would be hanging on a wall in China!

And funny story: my Chinese tutor today was shocked to see it and hear I'd gotten it from a friend in America, as she thought only people in China did cross stitch. I guess it's a universal art. :)

The cute kitchen feels open to the dining and living room, which is nice. Hadassah can play in the living room or scoot around and all I have to do is peek my head out to check on her. :) Though the smallest kitchen I've had yet, it doesn't seem too tiny and has just the cabinets we need.

And no, under the stove (which has both burners working - they actually both worked all along, I just had misunderstood... though one only cooks WAY high so I've had my share of boiling over and scorching...), that is not a dish washer. It's an "anti-bacterial" that heats washed dishes very hot to kill parasites from the water...

The view from the sink where it seems I am a lot during the day... I use a dish pan on the counter to wash now, as the low sink was giving me a backache. I get a lot of those as a taller person living in a shorter society ;)

Surrounded by people... it makes life interesting sometimes, and is a good reminder to pray as I do dishes.

So happy to have an oven, atop another great storage compartment. The lowest drawer I just "gave" to Hadassah for spoons and other kitchen things for her to play with. First time she sat at it she was occupied for almost 20 minutes - which is huge to a mom!

 To the left when you come in our door, you'll find our living room. The curtains and tan couch were here when we moved in; we bought the black & white couch used and after much deliberation went with a bold rug choice. We're still working on adding a few more touches of red (on couch pillows and possibly a swag on the curtain rod) to tie everything together. But we like how fun and lively it all makes the room!

The Chinese paintings of the four seasons Ryan bought in 2011 in Suzhou, China. Pretty cool to bring them back and add a touch of the Oriental to our home.

I like having a guitar in the corner - and even more hearing Ryan play, often with Hadassah "helping" him. It was the first purchase we made the day we moved in, and definitely worth it.

Wedding and family pictures out help so much, to see loved ones right there. The play set our neighbors gave us to borrow, and Hadassah loves maneuvering through the openings.

I made this in Iowa, as our theme verse in our first home, and it definitely still applies here. I hope to start another one to match the colors of our room someday soon... to maybe make a new wall hanging in each home we live in, to have a collection one day. :)

 The book shelves are some of our favorite furniture pieces, and after 2 months of being empty, it's so wonderful to see them full of memories and great books. And the lower shelves conveniently conceal Hadassah's toys.

Ryan's coworker generously gave us this Chinese picture (adding another touch of red - yes!) and a door to the right leads to another enclosed balcony to hang laundry.

 Straight in front of you as come in the main door is a hallway with mirrors. Hadassah thinks a friend lives in them, and she visits with "the baby in the mirror" quite often throughout the day. :) 

A bathroom is straight ahead to the right- so nice to have when guests come!

 Down the hall and to the left is the office. Not too fond of the curtains (which were here) but we're happy to have a rug to make it more cozy! We actually bought this rug used only to find it definitely did NOT go with our couches, but made a great addition to this room!

 Again, so nice to have shelves no longer blank! And yes, we did ship over a lot of books... Ryan couldn't bear to leave them behind. ;)

 The not-so-great side of the room - aka, the place for stuff to be stored! We'll probably eventually pare down the number of empty boxes we have. But this super-long table that was originally in the living room (and looking very awkward) works great as storage and place to stack stuff!

 Pretty Chinese desk :)

To the right of the office, you'll find the master bedroom. First time with a master bathroom, and I don't think we'll ever want to go without one!

 This quilt was made by a dear and generous friend in Iowa. I didn't pack many big items, but this is one I couldn't leave behind. And though Chinese beds we've found are many different sizes (much more variation that just twin, queen, and king!), the quilt fits our bed perfectly!

And the big cabinet has two rods on each side to hang clothes, plus many shelves and drawers. The Chinese really know how to make practical furniture especially for small spaces!

Again, the curtains I could definitely do without. ;) But they're low on the list of things to replace (if ever), and I'm grateful we didn't have to spend money for them! The door also goes out to the place to hang laundry, making it easy to bring clothes in to put away.

Our room has a cool alcove that has many windows. Until we get the windows fully light and sight-proof with all of our cardboard (maybe this weekend!), we have a curtain hanging up. One day it would be neat to have a cozy place for devotions... but we'll see if that ever happens. ;)

To the right of the second bathroom, you'll find Hadassah's room. Cheerful, girly, and fun!

 Her playpen, with a quilt made by a cousin of mine, "children are a blessing from the Lord" embroidered, and cute pictures of our little Iowa baby :)

Another big cabinet, great for clothes and toys! "In peace I will lie down and sleep" is embroidered on the wall. Crazy to think I was making it a year ago, not knowing if we'd be having a boy or a girl, and not dreaming we'd be in China a year later!

So, there you go. An in-depth tour of our home, since we won't be able to host many family and friends from the states. But, if anyone ever does want to come, we'll have a guest room by moving Hadassah into the office for a few nights... so let us know if you ever want to visit Shanghai! :)


  1. What a delightful, homey little "nest" you have made! A true haven for your family. :)

  2. It's lovely! You're good at decorating and organizing! -- Donna Jo

  3. Anna & Ryan, what a treat to see the inside of your new home--and you have certainly made it a home with all your personal touches. It is so cheerful and neat as a pin. We know God will greatly bless your time in China. Sylvia Newman (Robyn's mom)

  4. Oh! Such a beautiful place! So delightful. :)

  5. This is Helen-
    It's bigger than I thought! I love it.
    I have written you a letter, but I have to find a post office that sends mail overseas. So until patient. ;)

  6. Thank you all! :) I really enjoy organizing and decorating, so this has done my heart good. And trust me - it's hardly ever this neat - these pictures were taken right after cleaning with baby napping and husband at work, so nothing had gotten out of the shelves yet. ;)

  7. Yay! Pictures! It's lovely, Anna. I like all the organizers, too. =) You have lots of shelves and cupboards to put things in! Hadassah's room is precious, and I LOVE the rug in the living room! -Natalie

  8. I didn't comment on this before before - but I am so impressed with how well you've decorated your apartment and really made it into a home! I have a hard time doing that myself because I feel like it's "just" an apartment and not really *mine* or because I feel like we'll only be here temporarily. So this post was definitely inspiring to me. Hopefully I can make our little temporary place here more of a home for my husband and I. =)