Family's urban apartment offers a peaceful haven
Jelena Salai and Milos Gazdic's Shanghai home is comfortable and functional, characterized by an eclectic charm.
Salai, originally from Serbia, has been living in Shanghai for the past decade. Within the fashion industry, she's a design and creative director, specializing in innovation, sportswear, and trend forecasting. The dynamic nature of the local market fuels her enthusiasm for her profession. Her Serbian life partner Gazdic is a photographer who runs Studio Dare | 大胆, a photography studio in Yangpu District. Their daughter Angelina was born in 2019.
"Shanghai's rich history, captivating architecture, lesser-known corners, and perpetual evolution have captured my heart, endearing the city to me in myriad ways," Salai said.
Initially, the couple held an idyllic vision of life within the charming lane houses of the downtown area. "However, the allure waned as I grappled with mundane challenges like noise, cleanliness, and heating. This prompted us to make the transition to a compound in Jing'an District, a decision that has proven unequivocally wise," Salai said.
The couple has undertaken a total of four moves within the city, and their current abode is their fourth residence.
"Our primary criteria revolved around location and our hearts are firmly rooted in Jing'an," she said. Moreover, the pragmatism of residing in a high-rise was undeniable.
Three years ago, they embarked on their journey to this 200-square-meter flat, captivated by its inherent potential. Spanning three levels, it takes the form of a triplex.
"Occupying the 25th floor affords us a panoramic vista that encompasses the Jade Buddha Temple, Suzhou Creek, the Lujiazui skyline, Shaanxi Road and the resplendent Changshou Park. This panoramic view is an amazing bonus," Salai said.
Sunlight filters generously into each room, infusing the entire space with a radiant ambiance. The distant sound of chanting emanating from the nearby Jade Buddha Temple serves as a melodious reminder of their surroundings.
The location offers them the best of both worlds. The allure of proximity to all that Jing'an has to offer is undeniable, and the added charm of being in close proximity to Suzhou Creek further enriches their experience.
"Our weekends often find us by the river's side, enjoying leisurely moments with our 4-year-old daughter Angelina. This area holds a special place in our hearts, not just due to its historical significance and heritage, but also because of its recent transformation, making it one of our favorite corners of Shanghai."
The apartment was not in great condition, prompting the couple to undertake comprehensive changes. A complete overhaul ensued, encompassing the reconstruction of the master bathroom, a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and the infusion of their personal touch through carefully selected furniture and decorations.
"What truly distinguishes it is the personal touch we've added – embarking on a self-directed renovation that has undeniably infused it with a distinct sense of home," Salai said.
"We are very pragmatic so we don't go for any style in particular. Our primary goal was to cultivate a cozy atmosphere, which posed a unique challenge given our natural inclination as collectors. Striking a balance between our penchant for collecting and the desire for a clutter-free space has been the most demanding aspect. In this pursuit, our emphasis has shifted toward efficient storage solutions rather than ornate decoration."
Throughout their various residences, a common thread has been their commitment to nurturing a sense of togetherness, symbolized by a generously sized dining table where they bookend their days.
Their voluminous collection of books, vinyl records, and clothing naturally led them to prioritize the creation of a dedicated library room on the second level. "This room, aside from its practicality in terms of storage, holds a special place in my heart as a personal favorite," Salai said.
Though she avoids overwhelming the living space with decorations, Salai loves to display a few craft pieces collected from their trips. "Among my most cherished possessions are wedding headpieces acquired from Sumatra and Java in Indonesia, as well as the masks I've gathered from Cambodia, Timor, Java, and South Korea. Equally dear to me are the hand-painted batiks from Java; each item holding a special place in my heart."
"I also adore my daughter's artwork and love watching evolution in her mind, skills, and imagination. Those are my favorite art pieces in our home and we rotate them almost weekly," she added.
Complementing Angie's artworks, the living space is also adorned with Gazdic's captivating photography and photographs gifted by their friends. "These visual narratives enrich our home."
Salai said her home is a testament to functionality, characterized by an eclectic charm. "Much like my approach to dressing, I never pre-plan outfits, relishing the spontaneity of selecting garments that resonate with my mood. This perspective extends to our living space, where constant rearrangements and adjustments are the norm. Our home thrives on an ever-changing, vibrant energy that reflects our individuality."
Amidst the constant urban rhythm, the home provides the precious gift of tranquility and respite, offering the peaceful haven the family yearned for.