Lane House Life

By Ariana Crisafulli 2018-12-27 17:18:11

The Gabrielse-Dukers have turned this lane house into a dream home.

Is it just me, or are lane houses one of the best things about living in Shanghai? The first time an agent took me around to visit rentals in the city, I fell in love with the tiny communities of multi-level homes in the heart of Shanghai. I loved the feel of a traditional-style Shanghai home but with modern renovations. But I’ve never seen a lane house quite as beautiful as the one the Gabrielse-Dukers live in.

Kim Duker and Wouter Gabrielse moved from their home country of the Netherlands four years ago with their three daughters, Sterre (19), Annefloor (17), and Karlijn (14), plus their 13-year-old Labrador, Dukie. Since then they’ve lived in four different houses, mostly on the outskirts of Shanghai and have collected a roost of adopted animals. On their fourth go-around, the Gabrielse-Dukers found and fell in love with their current lane house home, planted squarely in the middle of Xuhui. According to Kim, that’s just how the family likes it. Kim says she loves being in the center of all the city action and she enjoys chit chatting with her Chinese neighbors. Her teenage daughters are also really keen on what the location has to offer, being near to all the goings-on of Shanghai.

Kim describes the décor of the home as classical with a modern touch and says that she loves decorating houses and creating warm atmospheres. She’s used some modern pieces mixed in with traditional items and even heirlooms to create the desired ambiance. Hanging on her living room wall above the fireplace, for example, is a traditional kimono-jacket from the Dong minority in Ghuizou. This adds a touch of traditional China to the home. She’s also chosen some modern pieces, such as the dining room table. This piece, made from recycled wood, adds in a dash of contemporary style. However, one of her most favorite items is the silver teapot she inherited from her grandmother. “Things with history and a story are what make a house a home,” says Kim.

There’s a lot to love about the three-story lane house, including the big bedrooms, the bathrooms with deep bathtubs, the large windows, and the adorable outdoor space where the family can step outside to get some fresh air. However, what the Gabrielse-Dukers appreciate most about their home is the living room with the fireplace. On Friday nights, this space becomes a family cinema room where they watch movies in a nest of blankets and pillows, with junk food near at hand.

Though they’ve moved many times since first setting foot in Shanghai, Kim says that their lane house in the heart of Xuhui is home now and it’s where they hope to remain for a long time to come.