Sino-british couple turns their jing'an home into a utopia
The garden house Vivian Chang and Jason Bridge call home is complemented by their collection of travel finds, unique artwork and quirky curios.
Chang, an advocate of healthy, sustainable food and the founder of MissGreen, met her British husband, Bridge, in 2010, and moved into their current house eight years ago.
"For quality of life, Shanghai must be one of the best cities in the world. My husband and I have fallen in love with this city and are proud to call it home," she said.
Their rented house is tucked inside a leafy compound near Suzhou Creek in northern Jing'an District.
"Jing'an is now growing so much and ranked as one of the coolest places in the world (according to Financial Times), because of the urban space and, most importantly to me, the dynamic people who live here. When the sun comes out we bring our dog Westie to nearby restaurants and cafes; everywhere is dog-friendly. It almost feels like West LA or Camden Town on a sunny weekend," Chang said.
When the couple saw the space for the first time, it was a bit rundown and required some repairs.
"We saw it had potential to be a family home with three floors and enough rooms for different functions," she said.
"Both of us are travelers. We love traveling and we love art, and we have a number of items that we've picked up on our travels," she said.
"There's no particular style we wanted to create here. We often purchase something that reminds us of that moment, such as the three statues by Korean sculpture artist Myung Nam An which I bought from the Saatchi & Saatchi gallery in London that represent us and our marriage. We are two very strong and dynamic characters that came together, and this mutual ground that we share is what we call home."
The first floor consists of the living and dining rooms. A harmony of color schemes gives off a welcoming vibe.
"The living room is where we want to wind down with music or a movie, so the furniture and the wall colors were both chosen with that purpose in mind," Chang said, adding that a home must have art and memorable items, as they always provide a touch of style and emotion.
In the dining room the couple placed an eight-seat long table for socializing with friends.
"We used to host a lot of dinners at home before COVID-19, but we have fewer social gatherings at home these days," she said.
"I love the second floor as my home office where I spend a lot of time working and gathering my thoughts. It's where the creative magic happens. I have meetings with my staff here most of the time, because the environment allows us to get things done in a space that facilities open communication."
The top floor is a private zone where the couple unwinds after a long day for total relaxation. The bed frame was purchased in Bali, Indonesia, and the four-poster bed gives a resort-like feel. The overall atmosphere is calming and romantic.
The adjoining sunroom is decorated with plenty of plants.
"We use the sunroom for playing music, reading, breathing and meditating," Chang said.
They are upgrading the top floor because they are expecting a baby early next year.
"That is a big change to consider but we want to ensure our baby grows up in a sustainable way, so we are trying not to buy new, unnecessary things. We are designing the baby-friendly version of our home at the moment," she said.
The couple also loves to discover and collect artworks that inspire them. One of Chang's favorites is by local artist Zheng Wenxin that she purchased two years ago.
"She worked as an art teacher in China then moved to Berlin to set up a studio. This artwork expresses the sadness created by social media for our generation. The person has a lot of friends and followers online, but at holiday time he sat in front of his computer alone.
"Thanks to the Internet, we can connect with people but we create more gaps and walls that we can hide behind. I'm really touched when I hear her story, and this is the piece that always reminds me of the conflict we are facing at this time," she said.
Chang said her husband loves the piece called "Known and Unknown" by Li Jingguo, depicting billiard balls in a crystal egg, and "Fail to Launch" by Ma Liang. "We have fun items from our trips to Spain, Cuba and South American countries that are great at brightening our days when normal life needs a boost," she said. "Home is everything to me. It's where I find myself, reflect and rebuild. It's where I can be myself without any judgement or mask, and where I can become a better person and bring the best of me out to the world. It's where I can create a Utopia."
Ask The Owner
Q: What's the best thing about living in Shanghai?
A: It's lively & safe at the same time.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Comfortable, green space and central.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: Doing anything with our dog at home.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: It would be a tie between the reading lounge and sunroom.
Q: What's the view outside your window?
A: We are fortunate to have "an oasis" in Jing'an where we regularly see hedgehogs, weasels and even an occasional owl.
Q: What's your favorite object at home?
A: My bathtub.