17
Feb-2011

Life in a Beijing Hutong – Part II

As many of you know, we moved into a Beijing hutong– a traditional single-story home in a traditional maze of houses that makes up a close-knit community. Anyways, its been a bumpy and rewarding ride. I recently painted the interior of the hutong, spending a bit of my own cash to fix up the place. Here are some before and after pictures, which I know everyone loves.

The Office:

Before

Middle

After

The Living Room:

Before

After (same view)

Bedroom:

Before

After

Anyways, life in a hutong has been a bit of a rewarding challenge:

The upside:

  • Culturally relevant
  • Close to Beijing’s unique culture
  • Large and relatively affordable

The downside:

  • Vacant and dismissive landlord
  • Shoddy construction, ongoing problems
  • Expensive utilities

Many of the reasons we decided to live in a hutong include the upsides listed above, but more importantly, the hutong homes in Beijing are so unique and beautiful that they really inspire a sense of living in another time. You can walk through the hutong alleyways at night, when the streets are void of sweet potato salesmen, street sweepers and thousands of meandering elderly folks, and it feels like you have time warped back a generation. Thats the number one reason we live in a hutong, the sense of time lapse and the feeling of being 100% in Beijing, and nowhere else.

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  • Michelle says:

    That’s so cool! I visited Beijing two years back…a really fun city with never-ending amount of things to do!

  • Looks like you have really improved the living space. Paint and rearrangment makes a world of a difference. Hopefully the utility will go down for you.

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