Warmth and wellbeing in Xuhui home
Alan Sartori's apartment on Wukang Road makes an impact with its skillful mix of modern furniture and arresting artworks.
It is important for the Italian native to feel he lives in a place where he can truly unwind, spend time and surround himself with things he cares about. His home reflects his life and experiences inspired by different cultures.
Sartori, who spent time between Hong Kong and Milan after completing his MBA in Hong Kong, decided to move to the Chinese mainland with his Chinese wife to start a business in the food and beverage sector. Above all, the couple chose Shanghai because of its international and vibrant setting, an ideal platform to build their network and inspire entrepreneurial ideas.
Initially, they lived in Xintiandi, at the very heart of city center. After three years, they decided to move to Xuhui District, a very appealing and "people-friendly" neighborhood characterized by low-rise residential compounds and beautiful historical villas surrounded by secular trees.
"To find the right home in the city is never easy, and there's very high demand for rental apartments in Xuhui," Sartori said. Fortunately, there were several good agents who supported them in finding the right apartment.
"It is important to take your time and be patient when looking for a new place to move in," he said. "While it was counterproductive setting stringent criteria, we definitely knew we wanted a spacious apartment with lots of sunlight and, if possible, a little terrace where we could enjoy the beauty of the neighborhood."
They decided this 180-square-meter apartment in a residential complex on Wukang Road was the best option after visiting several other apartments and lane houses.
"We immediately liked it at first sight, and we can have brunch outside," Sartori said, pointing out the lovely terrace beautified with plants and flowerpots. "We were able to create a feeling of wellbeing. Indeed, we fell in love with the location, the abundant light coming into the bedroom and living room, the two balconies and the spacious rooms."
He pointed out the little balcony connected to the bedroom that faces the inner garden, which is very quiet and green.
"I feel like we're in a small village rather than a metropolis of over 20 million people," he said.
The couple's personal aesthetics underpins their approach to interiors.
"In the past, when we've moved to new homes in different cities, we tried to adapt the type of furniture and style to the intrinsic atmosphere of that specific space. I would say that here we have a casual, relaxed-yet-a-bit-eclectic style, which mingles well with the spacious interior," Sartori said.
It was all about turning a bland white box into one that was bursting with personality. He said it is essential to instill a positive frame of mind.
"The main idea is to obtain a feeling of wellbeing, of warmth," he said. "Materials and colors play a central role in that. We like mixing different colors and contrasting materials: marble and wood, metal and fabric."
Sartori added that an essential element to create a welcoming home is a fireplace.
"In Shanghai, to recreate the key element, we have found a modern fireplace called Ghost Fireplace from EcoSmart Fire, which has crisp lines and a glass body that give it a strong, modern feel. It brings a warm vibe and warms up our hearts."
The couple has carefully chosen each object for this home along with its journey and story. Among what they like most is a stunning green terracotta chandelier found in Taormina, Sicily, as well as works from artists they recently discovered, such as "Love" by Hu Zi, an untitled collage on paper by Sarah Faux and "Finger to Lips" by Ivy Haldeman.
Plenty of color, patterns and personality have turned a living space lacking character into a central social spot that feels warm and inviting. The living and dining room really sum up the couple's style, where they often socialize and organize dinners for friends.
The small library next to the living room is where they unwind with music, a book or a glass of after-dinner whiskey. They introduced color and patterns into the room to give it a more funky vibe.
"We love traveling and often find interesting, beautiful pieces to add to our home from new countries we visit. The resulting effect is quite intriguing and eclectic with an original mix of colors and materials ... yet there is harmony and balance," Sartori said.
Ask The Owner
Q: What's the best thing about living in Shanghai?
A: It's a city rich in history but modern and oriented to the future at the same time.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Peaceful, comfortable, intriguing
Q: How do you unwind?
A: In the library listening to music, having a glass of wine and sometimes reading.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: In the living room, which is spacey and relaxing.
Q: What's the view outside your window?
A: Trees! One of the things we love most here.
Q: What's your favorite object at home?
A: The Sicilian chandelier, a piece from a magic land in our home.
Q: Where do you buy furniture?
A: There are several good shops in Shanghai, but I think CasaCasa probably has the most curated selections that match our taste.