Shanghai Homes: Unique Chic

An international affair with art and design

by Alex Sheffield | Mon, September 25, 2017

Stepping into this four-story town house, it’s hard to believe that one of this city’s busiest streets, Wulumuqi Lu, is just a stone’s throw away. But once through the front door, that noisy hustle and bustle fades into the distance. Ivana Sedic and her husband Filip moved to Shanghai almost 12 years ago to set up their own business. “We own a few brands now, but the largest one is Foreo, specializing in toothbrushes and massagers which sell worldwide,” she says. Their eldest daughter, Filippa (12) was only six months old when they moved, with their other two daughters, Tia (8) and Amalia (4), both born here in Shanghai.

Unique Homes

They bought the 1928 house three years ago and embarked on a huge restoration project, totally gutting it and starting from scratch. But there are still hints of the past, such as the 100-year-old magnolia tree, which sits proudly in the garden.

“The structure was designed by my husband and I, but the interior design is all me.”

As we sit on the striking green velvet sofa, you can’t help but admire the openness of the space, with its large windows and high ceilings. Sedic is also an avid collector of engaging artwork, mostly from her home country of Croatia, but also from Shanghai and around the world.

Unique Chic Secret Door

With so much art, it can be hard not to make a space feel like a gallery, but she has found the perfect balance. First and foremost this house is a family home; well loved and lived in. It’s a very social place, with children running through and even the family dog, Haily, having a little accident on the very expensive rug under the coffee table. Sedic’s reaction is, “well – it’s a home, what can you do?”

The furniture is an eclectic mix of styles, which blend seamlessly. “I get items from all over. All of my vases from Kartell on Anfu Lu for example, I must be one of their best customers,” she chuckles. The clean cut dining room table is custom made by a friend who has since left Shanghai, and all the chairs were from Taobao. “I buy a lot from Taobao,” Sedic says. “The house is made up of expensive, unique items, paired right next to some things that didn’t cost a lot at all.”

Shanghai Homes

With so many dynamic works of art, it’s hard to select a favorite, but one of the most impressive is the large photograph hanging over the sofa. Depicting a moment captured in time, the painting from the Don Gallery on Fuxing Lu is of an artist mid-way through a performance. “I love all the art. But one of my favorites is from a Chinese artist upstairs, made in Japan. Another is from here in Shanghai; it always evokes feelings, or I see new details, whenever I pass by.” 

Home and Style

Sedic finds it hard to describe her style.

“I was always admiring houses in magazines, and wondering how do people do this? Surely it’s not possible? But once I started collecting items I understood. I always purchase on gut instinct. If I see something I like, I get it – no second thoughts.”

As we’re wrapping up, she mentions that she is thinking of redecorating. “It’s been like this for a while so it needs a change.” Perhaps we’ll schedule in another visit next year – with her undeniable sense of style and design, we’re sure it’ll look completely different, but always fantastic, when she’s finished.

Get the look

Steal the style with these fresh options for your home.

Home and Style Get the Look

1. Heracleam Light, ¥2,783, hivemodern.com

2. Zhejiang Artwork, ¥1,799, dingtang.com

3. Faux Fur Cushion Cover, ¥149, hm.com

4. SKOLD Sheepskin Rug, ¥399, ikea.com

5. Large Glass Vase, ¥249, hm.com

6. Austin Sofa, ¥22,4990, indigo-living.com