Sunday, September 11, 2011

Before and After: Pictures of our new home!

With the arrival of the new sofa covers we got made, I finally feel enough settled into our apartment to post "before and after" pictures.  I didn't think we would get so far this quickly, with all we've had going on.  But I'm very happy to have things cleaned, (mostly) organized, and decorated.  In comparing the before and after pictures, I can really see what a difference it's made!  Enjoy!

1. The Living Room

BEFORE: The "before" pictures are ones our friend sent to us when she was looking for an apartment for us to rent.  We decided to replace the old slipcovers (and get extra foam padding) because they were falling apart, even though they were oh-so attractive.  The glass coffee table (with it's sharp, unattached glass top) was deemed a hazard and removed.

BEFORE: This is what our living room looked like when we arrived, since we had all our things shipped ahead from Weinan.

AFTER: A quick comparison with the before pictures makes this look downright awesome!  The slipcovers look better, no?

AFTER: The living room, view 2: We moved a cabinet into the living room to store our dishes, since there isn't room in the kitchen.  We also moved the little table in so we have an eating area!  The kitchen is separated by a sliding glass door and a window (which you see in the back).
AFTER: On the other side of the living room is Juliana's cabinet.  We have left it empty so she can hide toys inside.  It is one of her favorite activities, along with standing up and pushing buttons on the TV.  On the right you can see that our water machine and fridge are in the living room because they don't fit in the kitchen.  To the left is the hallway leading to the other rooms.

2. The Kitchen

BEFORE: We had a little bit of trouble figuring out the kitchen from the pictures we saw.  The dirty towels hide shelves on the top and cover up the gas tank and random empty space on the bottom.  The counter is formed by two wooden cutting boards.

BEFORE: When our apartment contract listed "dishwasher" we thought, "Well obviously it's not really a dishwasher.  Who ever heard of a dishwasher in China?"  We arrived to find it was in fact - a dishwasher!  Totally bizarre.  Also irreparably moldy.  Bye bye dishwasher.  This side of the kitchen (opposite from picture 1) does have 2 cabinets on top and three cabinets (no shelves, of course) on the bottom.

BEFORE: One of the more interesting facets of our kitchen is the stove cubbyhole/window box.  The one-burner stove hangs off the kitchen in it's own area separated by windows.  To get to the stove, you have to bend over the wide windowsill and out the small window opening, where the burner is located almost a foot below.  Two other nice things about this area: (1) It was covered with newspapers.  If you know anything about Chinese cooking, you know it involves lots of large fires and hot oil.  Smart, very smart.  (2) It leaks.  So if you try to cook when it's raining, your food will probably get wet.

AFTER: The biggest change that brighten up the space are the new fabric coverings I got made (For $2.50).  Very cheerful and green.  We shipped the small oven, toaster, and blender from Weinan.

AFTER: We bought the cabinet on the right so we would have a little more storage space and even a few drawers!  It is very pretty.  The dishwasher removal made room for a dish-drying rack, which is probably more useful anyway.
AFTER: Not a whole lot we could do about the strange cubbyhole/windowbox stove arrangement, but Kevin did take off the windows in front and raised the stove up on a platform constructed from an overturned basin and a random piece of tile, so now you don't have to bend over to get to it.  We are planning to borrow a caulk gun from some friends and maybe even fix the leaking problem!

3. The Bedroom

BEFORE: This is our bedroom, with the laundry porch in the back.  The bed is not actually too uncomfortable...once we added some foam and a couple of comforters to cushion the board, uh, I mean, mattress.
AFTER: Much more cheerful with our pretty flowered bedcovering and some wall-hangings (a fancy name for pieces of scrapbook paper taped up :).  The laundry porch has become a storage area for all the random/broken/useless stuff left behind by the landlord or the previous student renters.

4. The Office

BEFORE: We moved the bed out to make this room into an office space.
AFTER: It doesn't look amazing, and will probably never really get organized, but it is finally functional, and not even unpleasant to be in.  You may not be able to tell from the picture, but that desk on the left is monstrous and Kevin had to remove two doors to move it from the baby room into here.  Out the window you can perhaps see a very Chinese sight: the big construction area across the street.

5. The Bathroom
BEFORE: In typical Chinese style, the shower is directly in the middle of the bathroom.  It's a little annoying that the whole bathroom is always wet, but you can also think of it as a self cleaning mechanism.  The bathroom also includes our washer on the right.

AFTER: Not a lot of transformation here, because really what are you going to do?  Other than scrub and scrub and scrub and add a few Mickey Mouse stick-ons.  Yes, those were mine and I even brought them from Weinan.  I have lived in China too long.  The pipes all along the walls work well for shelves and towel racks.

6. The Nursery: last but not least, and arguably the best room in the house...


After!  Look how pretty and colorful it is!  Juliana enjoys her own shelf where she can pull off all her books and hide toys in the low drawers.  We bough some  inexpensive foam tiles to make the floor a little softer (and warmer in the winter) and moved the extra bed into here.  Her curtains and pictures, along with all her homemade blankets (crib afghan made by my mom, floor blanket made by myself, and bed quilt made by my sister Becky) make the room look very homey.
I am loving the name letters we got this summer!  The beautiful IKEA lampshade made it from Weinan unscathed.  She still has one or ten giraffes.

As you can see, we've made a lot of improvements!  However one part has remained the same...
View from the kitchen window: Most days have been clear enough for us to see the mountains!  And just look at those clouds!  We love the clean air here!!


Anna said...

It does look a lot better. I especially like Juliana's room. It's quite cheery and fun and her name did turn out well on the wall. I liked the picture of the first living room "after" with Juliana hiding in the corner. I thought maybe you would hide her in as many pictures as possible and play a game of "where's the baby?". =) Your new slipcovers are much better, though, and overall it looks much brighter and cheerier.

Candy said...

I like Anna's "where is the baby" game idea! The apartment does look very nice. The kitchen is quite interesting. I can hardly wait to see it all in person!

Nate and Molly said...

I love Juliana's room! Yay for clean air too!

pam williams said...

love that mountain view