A comfortable bohemian haven tucked away on Shaoxing Road

Yang Di
Natasha Ivachoff, born in Beijing and raised in Australia, returned to China 15 years ago with partner Rodney Evans and moved into a two-level apartment on Shaoxing Road.
Yang Di

Shot by Yang Di. Edited by Yang Di.

The Shanghai home of Natasha Ivachoff and Rodney Evans fuses old-world charm with the warmth of a comfortable bohemian haven.

"We share a history with this apartment, having worked on it over the years and continue to style our home to keep it evolving," Ivachoff said.

Ivachoff, born in Beijing and raised in Australia, returned to China 15 years ago with her partner Evans. The couple moved into this 260-square-meter, two-level apartment tucked away on Shaoxing Road. "I love the lane and this quiet street lined with trees. This time of the year it's so green and beautiful," she said.

A comfortable bohemian haven tucked away on Shaoxing Road
Dong Jun

Natasha Ivachoff, born in Beijing and raised in Australia, returned to China 15 years ago with her partner Evans.

The lane is next door to a "Shaoxing Park" where people sit all day, play cards, exercise, and wander around in the sun. "In the morning we hear the old people doing tai chi with the traditional Chinese music sifting through the trees. We know all our neighbors and have seen our kids grown up together. They still play together on holidays and weekends."

Ivachoff appreciates the local neighborhood and after all this time her family feels part of the community. "They all look out for us."

Back then, the apartment immediately captivated the couple. While it was in definite need of an upgrade, it also came with a wealth of features the couple chose to retain.

A comfortable bohemian haven tucked away on Shaoxing Road
Dong Jun

The rooftop terrace overlooks the quiet lane and provides an ideal outdoor spot for the family and friends to enjoy in warmer months.

The rooms and stairs are much wider than in traditional lane houses. The guest rooms are on a different floor so offer privacy. The high ceilings add to the sense of space while the metal-frame windows bring in abundant morning sunlight and the rooms remain bright most of the day.

"All these factors, coupled with a gorgeous roof terrace, made us fall in love with this home," Ivachoff said.

While retaining the beauty and inherent charm of the old structure, Ivachoff has injected her personal style to the space over the years. The creative director at Central Studios has a passion for discovery and a taste for the unpretentious. These aesthetics apply to her home.

"My style is bohemian or you might call it gypsy – a collection of everything – things we have bought, been given, or found over the years," she said.

A comfortable bohemian haven tucked away on Shaoxing Road
Dong Jun

Tones and materials are mostly earthy. Vintage treasures found at flea markets sit alongside modern pieces.

Tones and materials in the home are mostly earthy. Vintage treasures found at flea markets sit alongside modern pieces, while clever touches give the overall look a sense of warmth and individuality.

An eclectic mix of furniture and objects are displayed in the living and dining area. A comfy sofa, a vintage Danish armchair, and a few chairs from Brut Cake designer Nicole Teng make for an inviting living area. There is no specific furniture style as the couple loves to mix in different periods and details.

A small Japanese shelving unit from Madam Sato, a Japanese bric-a-brac shop on Shaoxing Road, is adorned with mother of pearl. "It's home to our owl collection, which are all precious objects collected from our travels that reflect our experiences. Each tells a story of adventure from our family vacations. For example, the white owl made from moon stone on a quartz stand was bought in Sri Lanka during a family holiday," Ivachoff said.

A comfortable bohemian haven tucked away on Shaoxing Road
Dong Jun

The living room corner showcases a collection of furniture and objects the couple has bought, been given, or found over the years.

Next to the unit is a bar cabinet Ivachoff recently made from an old broken Chinese bookcase. "It's raw but still very unique. I love to give new life to a rather old piece; however the size is bigger than I had expected so I need to fill it now with lots of bottles."

Artworks on display were also collected over the years from various artists and adventures. Kenyan visual artist Peter Ngugi's work depicts people in their everyday lives, dressed in African contemporary fashion, while Chinese artist Ying Yefu's painting of a baby playing with blue balls was chosen for them by their friends from Labour Art.

A comfortable bohemian haven tucked away on Shaoxing Road
Dong Jun

The entrance of the home is decked out with fun objects such as the lucky cat given by a friend and a sculpture by local artist Jack Yu.

Special attention goes to the large photography work by Evans himself. It is from his solo exhibition "Postcard," which comprised four years of shooting in China. "Evans spent his spare time traveling through provincial China documenting the way in which Chinese spend their leisure time," Ivachoff said. "He's fascinated with Chinese vacationers who prefer to capture themselves in front of the monumental view rather than the view itself. It leads to a series of tourist portrait shots set in popular leisure destinations.

"Our home reflects our life and experiences," Ivachoff said. "I'm a home person – nothing makes me happier than to be at home cooking, eating, playing games with my family and friends. It's my ultimate place of comfort."

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