12 posts tagged shanghaishopping
Katie and I on Yangkang Lu, the expat bar street enjoying a beer at The Rooster owned by our friend John Cox. Hope you love my new dress as much as I do. It’s from Beijing designer To Be Adored (TBA) - check Saks.com as they have just expanded to the US! Sold at OOAK and Dong Liang in Shanghai. Everyone is wearing this sheer look in Asia at the moment.
Me and my new belt….
Completed guest bedroom! Very excited to see it all together after picking the furniture and waiting months to have it created.
Come visit us!!
Loving the Turkish store Ankyra, just blocks from our apartment. They are spoiling us with delicious feta cheese, olives and homemade humus. Plus they have amazing home goods and painted bowels - perfect for a house warming gift.
Before the holiday I was running last minute errands when I came across the cutest collection of jewelry at Madame Mao’s Dowry on Fumin Lu. Madame Mao’s is the current location of Shanghai’s TopShop pop-up store and one of the trendier shops in town offering one-of-a-kind finds. The wearable lucite collection features functional pieces while also offering a dose of humor – everything from grinning crocodile pins to elaborate laser-cut fleur de lis-style necklaces and clear clutches.
The collection, 10X1, is the brainchild of young Shanghainese designer Shi Chen Yi – Shi means 10 and Yi means 1 so the brand is named directly after her. She started the collection in 2008 and says she “loves designing for stylish people.” She hopes to continue expanding her collection to reach a larger market, which should not be hard considering the pieces are budget friendly – around $15-20 for a necklace and $5-10 for pins and bracelets. Here are a few pieces I purchased. I just couldn’t pass up the dancing Psy pin….it made me smile.
Shanghai Vintage: After a delicious brunch at Mr. Willis this past weekend, we took a stroll around the French Concession and came across the cutest vintage store, Lolo Love Vintage. This shop feels like walking into a forgotten attic crammed with amazing antique finds. I was shopping with my friend Brianna and we went crazy – the accessories were the best. I walked away with a pair of vintage Dior earrings – so chic!
This week is grey and rainy in Shanghai putting me in a Shang-low mood. I did however find caperberries at the grocery today, which effectively lifted my sprit (note misspelling on the package). I purchased them even though they are double what they would cost in the US because I feel they are essential to my culinary survival. As a newly minted “stay at home” wife, and culinary enthusiast, I frequently find myself in the grocery store often times with nothing in particular to purchase. Instead, I’ll roam the aisles willing desired American ingredients to materialize. For Valentine’s Day I made beef bourguignon from the Ina Garten cookbook and it took me two weeks to track all the ingredients. This is no lie as I usually have to visit multiple stores to find everything necessary for a meal.
Good news is I’m starting to understand where to purchase certain items and buy in bulk when I stumble across them. I currently have enough beef bouillon cubes to last 2 years. There are “western” stores in Shanghai but the items they stock are schizophrenic – case in point, picture 3 – I recently stumbled across an entire shelf of Corn Nuts and other truck stop fare at one reputable grocery. After seeing this I assumed beef stock and tomato paste would be simple to find – wrong – but they did have an entire display of Wheat Germ and Cheddar Bunnies as well as many varieties of a substance called Brown Job’s Tears Powder. Items that top the list of hardest to find include; herbs of any kind, stocks, organic tomato products, breakfast bacon, orange juice under $10 a carton, paper towels and proper trash bags.
There is one Chinese woman who has realized the shortage of European and Western foods and has done her best to stock lesser known goods. No one knows her real name and instead she goes by – Avocado Lady. She has an unassuming stand (pictured) where in addition to selling her own blend of coffee, customers can get everything from quail eggs and caviar to smoked salmon and blue cheese. She even has bacon that while is not 100% like that of The States is a welcome substitute.
Shanghai Apartment: Decor in Progress
I have received many requests for apartment pictures so I wanted to go ahead and post a few. Those who know me know I’m a bit of a “perfectionist” when it comes to getting items for the apartment and also have difficulty making up my mind. Because of this, it has taken me quite a while to determine what items I want let alone sourcing them.
It’s far from finished. I have not added any “flair,” like pictures, pillows, etc., but at least we have the base, which is the most important part. I would love comments and ideas……
Picture 1: This is the view as you enter the apartment. We have great light – a main reason why we look the place. Since we’re on the top floor we don’t need curtains, which I love because the windows provide sweeping views of the city.
Picture 2: The kitchen has a stove so I can bake. The layout is open to the living room and I found the bar stools while my mom was in town. They were a great price and fit nicely into the small space.
Picture 3: Our dining room table I had made from Elm Workshop in walnut with black metal legs. We wanted something rustic but not over the top. I liked this design because it’s made of reclaimed wood making it feel old but the dark color gives it a modern update.
Picture 4: View of the living room from the stairs. This couch is Jake’s baby. Some of you might remember the rather uncomfortable mid-century blue velvet couch from Brooklyn…..well , that couch is decidedly “mine” so it was Jake’s pick this time. I’ll say at first I wasn’t so sure. I like sleek lines and the clean look of a modern couch, but after watching a few movies on this guy I was sold. Its goose down cushions are so comfy.
The rug was another debate. Again, a departure from our Brooklyn look, but after the couch and table and wood-feel of the apartment I decided something different was in order. Couple that with the fact rugs are IMPOSSIBLE to find in China unless oriental is your style. Jake calls it the Aztec rug and says I purchased it at an Indian reservation….please! Due to this he got to choose another item so we have a Barcelona Chair in camel leather on order. The coffee table is marble top with chrome base that I bought as a floor model. Both the Barcelona Chair and table are from Studio FH. They have amazing knock-off furnishings – the Chinese can copy anything!
Picture 5: The dining chairs I have chosen
Picture 6: Lucky Beer bottles make neat and cost effective décor for this shelf. Notice the old glass windows throughout the apartment – lovely.
Picture 7: Roof deck! We can’t wait to grill up here.
So that’s it! There’s also a guest bedroom ready for visitors so I hope some of you will stop by soon! We would love to have you.
The French Concession offers many amenities close to our apartment but our street is a little more “authentic” in the fact that we are virtually the only westerners on our block. I don’t mind this because it allows us to experience day-to-day culture while confident an Italian wood-fired pizza shop or other western reprieve is blocks away. This is what I tried to explain to my mom during her visit when she wondered aloud, “Why does your street seem so messy (said while glancing at a woman chopping meat on my sidewalk)? Why can’t it be cleaner like AnFu Lu (wood-fired pizza street)?
I don’t have the answer but what I’ve found is that it’s interesting to interact with the locals instead of being insulated in a western-style building. On our street there is a wonderful woman who owns a leather goods store called Dragonfly, a nice laundry man who will iron my shirts and have them back the same day, an antique store where I have an ongoing haggle over a 1940’s lamp, and a group of older women who sit in the lane and chat all day. They especially love me because I bring them cardboard boxes and glass bottles, which they turn in for money.
I’ve also come to realize everyone on my street knows who I am. At first I was a bit confused when the wife of the cobbler pointed up to my apartment to show she knew where I lived. I guess it makes sense since we’re the only Americans. They also have assumptions about us. According to the woman at Dragonfly, (who speaks English) the people in the neighborhood do not understand why we use so much electricity. She explained most Chinese people use dim lights to keep costs down but our place is brightly lit. They do not understand how this is possible. Maybe it’s time to invest in curtains?
Picture 1: Our apartment, top floor with roofdeck
Picture 2: Local market at the end of our street
Shanghai Shops: Furniture
It’s amazing what you can find in Shanghai when you’re not looking. I’ve been exploring the city for weeks now and have a fairly good grasp on where the basics live….a great cappuccino, amazing tailors, yoga studios, handmade shoes, very good knock-off bags, cashmere ….all seem to present themselves without much trouble. What’s giving me difficulty however, is furniture. Now, if its Chinese traditional furniture you’re after, take your pick! Virtually every furniture shop in Shanghai focuses on traditional styles and stocks loads and loads of Chinese furnishings. Some shops will even try to convince you the furniture they sell is “antique” as if left over and forgotten from the Ming Dynasty. I highly doubt this when I can still smell the varnish and it costs less than 6,000 RMB. If there’s one thing I know it’s how to spot an antique. Those who know my style will understand what I’m looking for. I like a blend of mid-century modern and rustic antique pieces. I like to mix-and-match materials; wood, chrome, glossy veneer, marble, with pops of bright colors. In all fairness this look is not easy to cultivate in The States. It takes plenty of patience; mainly due to the fact that I’m budget conscience. If not, I would make two stops – ABC Carpet & Home and DWR – then throw in JA for finishing accents. But where’s the fun in that!
Here in Shanghai I’m destined to roam the streets tracking down leads from Smart Shanghai and recommendations of friends. That’s what I spent today doing with some surprise success. Here’s what I found.
Stop 1: The Carriage House (pics 1 & 2)
Women from the Upper East Side rejoice! All your furniture needs are covered. Flower print chairs, opulent dinning sets, crystal chandeliers and big curtains all live in harmony. For the right room I actually like the gold dresser in picture 2. The prices are crazy but I got a good vibe from the people running the place. If you wanted you could walk in and BAM have your place outfitted…..all to the tune of 100K
Stop 2: MU Gallery (pic 3)
Here we go…lots of Chinese décor. But if that’s what you want this place is brimming and seems to be good quality without the “antique” sell. The shop gal was very nice and showed me many different dining tables. They did have a cool raw wood and iron book self that was not too badly priced as well as accent pieces to give a “living in China” vibe without a “I’m now Chinese” vibe – two very different things!
Stop 3: 1930 (pic 4)
Right next to MU Gallery I ran across an art deco shop stocking lamps, desks and a few chairs from the 30’s. All true antiques and with prices to match. But, my gut tells me the Chinese women knitting a sweater behind the register could be bargained with. This place is on my list for accents!
Shop 4: Studio FH (pics 5 & 6)
FINALLY! The first real modern store I’ve seen in Shanghai! This place has everything…..you name it they can make it or order it. Of course all the items are knock-off (as mentioned, I can’t afford an entire DWR apartment) but everything looks exactly the same and I’m a tough critic. It’s a difficult shop to find as it’s housed on the fourth floor of an office building but follow your nose and you’ll be welcomed by a big showroom and helpful staff
Shop 5: Kenas (no pics allowed)
The shops listed above are in the same vicinity so when I hailed a taxi and Google mapped Kenas I was surprised to find it was seemingly on the other end of the universe! Once I arrived (40 min later) I was happy to find the trip worth it. If you like Restoration Hardware this is the closest you’re going to get. Rustic tables, linen/cotton couches, raw wood and metal pieces. They have a nice table that they’re pulling from the warehouse for me to look at next week. The shop girl was very nice and we spent time chatting about other furniture shops in Shanghai. Surprisingly (or maybe not) I have found most of them.
Shop 6: Paustian (no pics)
Danish shop that ended up dealing modern office furniture. Everything was super bold and tables were made of Formica but still worth mentioning as it seems like a great shop, just not for my needs.
Two other shops I’ve yet to check are Bolia and ArtDeco Tek – more info to come on those! Others worth a look include Casa Casa, barrn and Little Dragon (sounds very Chinese but the furniture is American and custom). We move in this weekend with our items from home arriving Monday. Next week is going to be busy! Wish me luck…..