The Random Writings of Rachel: Home Tour

Home Tour


You know, I never did a home tour post the entire time we lived in Michigan for a couple of reasons.

1) I don't have a DSLR and my photography skills do not extend to making a house look good.

2) While I loved our little rented home and the rainbow colors I painted each room, I never felt that it was anything particularly special that anyone else would want to look at.

In our new home here, both of these facts are still true (except the rainbow colors, I can't paint this one). Our new home is not a majestic triumph of interior decor--but it's practical, it's clean (post 24-hour cleanathon when we first arrived), it abundantly meets our needs, and it's our home for now.

A home tour has been requested, so in spite of my lack of photography skills and home decor resources, here you go:

ShenZhen Apartment

Look up, and you see that blue shirt hanging inside the bars? That's our balcony. This is the back view of our apartment building. In case I haven't mentioned it before, as part of our contract with the school, we are provided with housing that we don't have to pay for, it's part of our compensation package. Many foreign teachers in our area are housed in dorms on their school's campus, but we're housed off-campus. We live in building #21 out of a huge complex.

ShenZhen Apartment

Here's the front gate to our little stairwell. After you unlock this, you just climb up to the 3rd floor, and you're at our home (And no one should pity us for being on a 3rd floor walk-up--these buildings are 8 floors with no elevators...if you lived on the 8th floor, you'd either have to be a hermit or in really good shape).

ShenZhen Apartment

Here's our front door! More bars, and locks. We are very safe.


Just inside the front door there's a dining area. The apartment is actually much bigger than we expected, and bigger than many of the apartments others in the program have received. We estimate it's between 600-700 sq. ft., but they make efficient use of the space.


My kitchen, complete with a fridge, microwave, and 2 burner gas stove (hurray, I love gas stoves!)


I placed myself in the kitchen for size comparison to the fridge. By the way, in case you have been under the impression that I'm a giant all these years...I'm not particularly large.


Cozy living space next to the dining area. The couch has holes so I came up with the idea of covering it with the brand-new comforter our school gave us. We don't feel the need to use a comforter when it's over 80 degrees at night. The tv has so far been pronounced unfixable by the very nice workmen who came by to fix the wifi, standing water in the kitchen that was there when we arrived, and the bedroom air conditioner.


Living room decor. I'm so predictable. This is on the wall of the tv. This wall, like many other in the house, has the ugly remains of yellowed adhesive from previous foreign teachers' posters all over it. So, as is my habit, I stuck a bazillion photos all over the wall, strategically covering yellow tape spots. AND I used a kind of tape that actually comes of of the wall and neither removes paint nor leaves yellow marks. I'm a genius.


On the little shelf in the living room--Angel set this up. This is really all of the "home decor" we have, so even though the nativity scene and snowmen are supposed to be for Christmas, I'm thinking of leaving them there. The sign with the Bible verse is one of Angel's most treasured possessions, and these other little bits are all special to us. I bought Angel the Swarovski cat to commemorate our Narcan, who died last Christmas. The snowman frolicking in popcorn represents me because I always frolic when there's popcorn around, and the snowman with the cat represent Angel petting Morphine.


Here's our balcony. We have a washing machine (hurray!!!) and a bar to hang clothes on to dry.


Our bathroom--in my experience this is a very normal design for a bathroom in this area and I actually love this bathroom design because they are easy to clean (American style bathrooms, while easier on the eyes, frustrate me come cleaning time). Basically, there is no shower area so when you take a shower the entire bathroom gets wet. The water drains into a little hole in the floor next to the toilet. You can't store anything in the bathroom unless it's something that can get wet. This is pretty similar to the bathroom in my family's home when I was growing up, only their home had been renovated recently so the tile was in better condition.


The spare bedroom! Now who wants to come visit? I'll even put a sheet on the bed for you if you do.


The other spare bedroom. But, as you can see, this is mostly a storage room. We were told that we have to keep all of the appliances in the house, even if they are broken, but we can put them in this storage room. So stored in the wardrobe are a broken toaster oven...broken speaker system...etc. This tv also doesn't work. There's no airconditioner in this room which makes it more of an ideal storage room than bedroom.


The master bedroom. I'm not the biggest fan of flags as decor--I think they look a little more like dorm room decor than adult home decor, but Angel's put them up temporarily until I get some wall hangings I like for this room, which also suffers severely from the yellow adhesive problem I mentioned before. The school provided us with brand new sheets, one set is a purple and pink pattern and the other set is blue and red so we can switch out between girly and manly sheets. :)


The wardrobe on the wall at the side of the bed. Yes, yes I did steal the larger section of the wardrobe for myself and yes I did put Angel's clothes in the tiny section. That's only right, isn't it?


I thought these shelves next to the wardrobe were perfect for my little shoe collection.

And that's our home! It's hard to say whether it's "average" or not--it's very "average" for our apartment complex which contains about 30 apartment buildings that look identical from the outside. Like anywhere, homes in this city vary widely--from huge, palatial mansions and extravagantly gorgeous apartments to tiny rooms in high rises where people are crammed into unbelievably small spaces and shacks on the sides of fields constructed out of sheets of metal. We're already falling in love with our new community. 

39 comments:

  1. WOW- I am surprised at how blessed you are. THREE bedrooms? I know these programs give out housing, but I figured it would be nothing more than a dorm. I always wondered how it would work for a married couple. Thanks for sharing with us (also, for fridge comparison, how tall are you?)

    Anyway, they aren't exciting, but I have two navy blue blackout curtain panels that we don't use in the new house...they are 62" I think and if you have use for them, I'd be happy to mail them to you. Is there anything else you all need?

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  2. Two spare bedrooms and a washing machine? Luxury! Glad you guys are settling in :)

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  3. 3rd? Rachel I love your apartment! I'm glad you shared it with us!! Love your shoes :)

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  4. Awww your home is fabulous!!! love the shoes!

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  5. Soooo spacious!!!! And I love the idea of having a clothes drying bar on your balcony. We just have to throw ours over doors, chairs, and a foldable drying rack in hopes of them drying. x

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  6. Lots of space...more than I thought you'd have.

    Although the idea of the all over "shower" in the bathroom is kind of cool at first, I don't think I'd care for having the whole room wet. I suppose the up side is that you can be going to the bathroom and taking a shower at the same time! LOL

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  7. So much space! That's great! My little sister just moved back to China last week and she was giving me a tour of her new apartment and telling me how excited she was to have a couch that wasn't just wooden slats (which is what we had when we lived there as teenagers). It's funny how the little things matter. :)

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  8. Wow I am surprised you have spare rooms, I'll bet the extra space is handy...it looks great so far!

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  9. This is so cool. Thanks for sharing! Bummer about the TVs but at least you have wifi! The shower situation would take some getting used to, for sure. Love your little gallery wall, too!

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  10. This is cool! I like home tours, whenever I have friends over to my house for the first time, I give them a tour even if they don't ask for one. Ha! Maybe it is deceiving, but that looks like a big-ish wardrobe? Also, I chuckled out loud when I read that the school gave you manly and girly sheets. Very thoughtful!

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  11. What a cute apartment! It looks like you actually have quite a bit of space and I'm sure it will feel more like home once you get to get to make it feel more like your own. I was surprised, this was bigger than I was expecting!

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  12. That's wonderful to hear!!! (Re: falling in love with your new community.) Thank you for taking us around on a tour of your abode. I agree, they've done a good job with the space there, you wouldn't guess at first glance that it was only 600-700 square feet at all. I hope things continue to well for you guys and that this house feels more like "home" with each passing day.

    ♥ Jessica

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  13. Wow! Crazy that you have spare rooms!!! So cozy!

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  14. That tiny fridge is cracking me up. Thanks for showing us your house :) I really love your excitement about your space. Yay for a washing machine! It's the little things.

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  15. Your home is simple but colorful and inviting just like you. Love the wall filled with your photos and all of the art frames in the living room. Did you bring those from the States? Also your tiny closet is so neatly organized. I do agree that men need a lot less space. Period.

    Pleasure catching up with you after my Vacation.

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  16. Wow! I love it! Beautiful home...looks cozy and inviting. :)

    Ashley B.
    Like No Other Fashion
    www.likenootherfashion.blogspot.com

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  17. Great post!! It's nice to have a little peek into someone's home!

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  18. Really enjoyed the tour of your home--I like all of your and Angel's little touches to make it homey!

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  19. How exciting! I'm so happy for you both!!! :)

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  20. How exciting!! I'm really glad that you did the home tour it was fun seeing everything! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures

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  21. How lovely! It's a charming space indeed - and the living room is definitely very cozy. What sort of modifications/personalizations can you make to the place? I'll visit! :P And yes, it is only right that you occupy at leat 75% of the closet space. Have a great one Rachel! -Iva

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  22. I have no idea why, but I'm completely in love with your balcony. So cute! Doing laundry outside sounds rather pleasant, actually. :)

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  23. Ah your cat's name was Narcan!! That is too cute!

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  24. YAY! I finally am back on the blogging world and can't wait to catch up on your posts. Love this one especially because it SO reminds me of a Korean apartment. :) Cute photos too. Makes it homey for sure.

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  25. Love your apartment! It seems quite spacious for a Chinese apartment! Love your bathroom, I miss the Chinese style bathroom a lot...there's something so much more relaxing about taking a shower in a room rather than a tub with a curtain. I guess there are pros and cons to both though! Did you bring the Christmas tree with you, or find it there? How funny that they don't let you get rid of the broken appliances...

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  26. How interesting about the bathroom...I guess it would make it easy to wipe everything down after a shower! I think you apartment is lovely.

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  27. It's only natural that the woman gets the larger wardrobe...at least that's how I think. I really like the balcony laundry area, much better than the small stuffy rooms I'm used to seeing as laundry rooms.

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  28. I love this! It is a lot bigger than what I would have expected from watching House Hunters, haha!
    www.amemoryofus.com

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  29. I've been on vacation for a while and was totally missing your blog! Isn't it interesting how in other parts of the world "home decor" doesn't really exist anyway. How the home is viewed as a practical space used for eating and resting. When you move overseas and bring the bare minimum all of this becomes so true. It is much more important that the standing water is fixed instead of having teal throw pillows. I love the collection of photographs over the t.v., we've been in our apartment for five years and I have YET to put up photos.

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  30. What a cozy apartment! I am surprised you have 3 bedrooms! It looks very practical and I love the pictures on the wall :) Looks like you guys are set. Oh, and I'd totally come visit if I could convince the hubby to spend the money on a plane ticket.

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  31. this is QUITE the efficient use of 700 sq ft! are you expecting any visitors soon? they'll be taken care of!

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  32. I love my Thai bathroom! And I completely agree with you on the cleaning front. It's super easy to just spray down the whole room and let it dry while I'm at work or in bed for the night!

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  33. YAYYYYY! This is the post I've been waiting for! These are my favorite of ALL blog posts. I have to say, that's super gracious to get 2 spare bedrooms, wow! I love all of the natural light in the living room...it's my FAV! And that little fridge is so cute. lol. I've never thought you to be a giant...just taller than me is all. ha

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  34. OMG, you have the same black comfy Clarks I have (with the cute little brown button)
    Now I am absolutely CONVINCED we are shoe soul (sole?)mates.

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  35. I know I'm late to the party, but I'm happy to see that you guys are making a home for yourselves there in China! It can be a bit disorienting living in another country after having lived in the US for so long, but I just know you guys are going to have some amazing adventures. Looking forward to reading through your archives and catching up!

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  36. I know I'm WAY late in the game but I just love your apartment! Did it come furnished? Surprisingly, the bathroom reminds me of the nicer bathrooms in Rwanda. What is up with not having shower curtains???

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  37. Oh wow, it's huge! When I look at the first photo, I never thought it's that huge. But your place has 3 rooms! And a big living room. Your school is very generous.

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