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So, what does it really look like?!

I visited the property the first time without Sharon and the kids, and then brought them back with me the next time to see what they thought. As they were exploring the place, I lagged behind and took a bunch of pictures of the interior.

They aren't yet systematic nor professional, but they should give you a sense for what the interior is like. I've compressed them alot since this page has so many photos, so some of them are kind of grainy:

The front door. The doors use a fancy new electronic locking mechanism, which is hopefully not going to break...

The development has clear rules that prevent owners from changing the exterior of the unit. This is important to maintaining the value, since alot of older developments here look horrible since each owner has made all sorts of customizations...

We entered through the garage. We're planning to convert it into a home office, since even if we have a car we'll park it outside.

Note the central vacuum system on the far wall. The home's entire cable TV, phone and initernet cabling is also all together in the access panel on the right. A nice touch.


This is looking at the inside of the front door. To the left is a small open area, which we're planning to wall off so it's a small study.

I then turned around 180 degrees from the previous photo. This shot shows the entryway hall, that leads into the living/dining room.

A bathroom is on the left. The stair case is nicely compact and in the center of the house.

The living and dining room area is quite large, and double high. These huge windows are really high quality. It was freezing cold that day, and there were no drafts. The porch doors had a nice "thunk" to them. The floors are all a dark wood.

The only thing I don't like is that you can see the neighbors. But we can install a tall fence, and also tall trees.The yard is really huge for Beijing, and would be great if we had little kids. We probably won't use it, but it certainly adds to the value of the house.

I took this picture with my back to the double-high windows. There is a nice little balcony over the living room, which we might extend a bit and then enclose with a glass partition to turn it into a study.

You can also see the kitchen to the left. We're planning to add doors so that it can be closed off when we entertain. We might also expand the kitchen a bit by moving the wall.

This is another view of the kitchen. The appliances are really nice, including a gorgeous big LG refrigerator.

I'm not thrilled with the cabinet facings and handles, but that's easy and cheap to change.

This is another view of the staircase, taken from inside the dining room. We're planning to change the banisters and spindles to a more contemporary style.

Note that the heating is all forced air. The unit has its own heating and cooling system, with separate thermostats for each living area. This is unusual for China.

This is a view of the downstairs bathroom. I'm not crazy about the tile color, but the installation quality is good, as are the fixtures.

We might change the tile, depending on the pricing.

Here's the view from the upstairs balcony. They did a nice job putting in a curve, which adds a nice sense of style. Highly unusual for China.

This is the view down the upstairs hallway. First door on the left is the guest suite (with its own bathroom and walk-in closet).

Next door on the left is kid room 1, opposite is kid room 2.

The first door on the right is the kid bathroom.

This is the view into the bedroom of the guest room suite. The wall outlets are nicely placed with regard to furnishings.

In China, wall outlets usually seem to be placed randomly.

The bathroom in the guest suite. Same tile work. Nice fixtures. Much roomier than it looks.
The walk-in closet area for the guest suite. It's large enough to also be a study room.

The kids bathroom, which is nicely designed in two sections: outside sink area, and interior toilet and shower.

The shower area is also easy to clean (a feature that's consistent in every bathroom).

Kid room 1 (the one on the same side as the guest suite). Interesting ceiling detail, and pretty roomy. Nice natural light.
Kid room 2, which was very hard to photograph. Might be time to get a real wide-angle lens...
This is the view out of the upstairs hall, looking across the street. There is a little balcony, which is pretty much wasted space (though it is a nice style detail on the exterior).
This the view as you walk into the master suite, which occupies the entire 3rd floor of the house. To the right are some nice Velux skylights. Sharon is walking into the spacious walk-in closet ahead. The walls are covered with an expensive (and ugly) fabric wall paper, which is coming down!
This is the view of the master suite. It opens onto a balcony with a southern exposure. Nice vaulted ceiling makes it feel really spacious and dramatic. The walk-in closet (not visible) is immediately to my right.
This is the inside of the walk-in closet. It is nestled up inside the roof line, and will be easy to turn into a space with tons of storage.
The master bathroom. I'm definitely going to change the decor (yuck!), but it's really spacious and has a nice southern exposure with great light.
The girls are headed down the stairs from the first level into the basement. Note the nice area (with sconce wiring) for some kind of art display.
This is the family/media room in the basement. It's already been decorated in a slightly-funky way. I like the lighting placement, and the wall and ceiling detail. It will be easy to change the colors, add storage, and then wire the whole thing to make a great home movie theater.

The basement also includes an entire "ayi" (or maid) apartment. It has OK storage, its own full bath, and a spacious bedroom. Most maid's quarters are half this size.

The light well is a very nice touch -- as a result the bathroom and the bedroom both get a lot of natural light.

This is the maid's bedroom. If we don't have a maid, this could easily be another nice bedroom or study, especially given the natural light.
This final shot is the maid's bathroom. The light well can also be easily used for long-term storage, or perhaps even turned into a separate entrance.

As I said up top, these are just the preliminary shots. But I know some of our web visitors will have lots of questions (you know who you are!), so hopefully this will help slake your thirst for photos!!


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