A Case of French and Chinese Fusion Outside of Shanghai
SHANGHAI — It’s difficult to imagine a home that perfectly balances French antiques with traditional Tibetan artworks and a bold jewel-toned color scheme, but a renovated villa in Suzhou, a city of approximately six million people just a 30-minute train ride from Shanghai, manages to pull it off.
The 400-square-meter, or 4,300-square-foot, villa is the weekend home of a Shanghainese couple, Lily Wu, 42, and Su Jun, 45. Mr. Su, an investor, was inspired to buy the property 15 years ago by fond childhood memories of family vacations spent in Suzhou, a 2,500-year-old city famous in China for its manicured gardens and canals crossed with stone bridges.
这栋面积为400平方米（约合4300平方英尺）的别墅属于42岁的莉莉·吴（Lily Wu，音）和45岁的苏君（Su Jun，音）这对上海夫妇，被他们用来当做周末度假屋。从事投资工作的苏君之所以在15年前买下这处房产，是因为对小时候跟家人在苏州度假的经历恋恋不忘。有2500年历史的苏州以精雕细琢的园林和石桥运河而闻名于世。
A renovated villa in Suzhou has a grand entrance that leads into a reading room.
“Four years ago we decided we could spend some time renovating this villa and enjoy our life there,” Ms. Wu said.
Ms. Wu said that right from the start of the process, she and her husband were in agreement about what they wanted to achieve and remained so through the 18 months it took for contractors to gut and renovate the place.
Today, the villa’s grand entrance, complete with tiled floors and chandelier, branches off to the left through an archway to an open-plan living and entertaining space.
A reading room dominated by a turquoise wall and a traditional Tibetan Buddhist thangka painting, a favorite among Mr. Su’s pieces, leads to the main living room, which then flows out to a glass-encased sunroom, complete with an amethyst velvet-upholstered daybed and colorful leather armchairs. Ms. Wu said this is one of her favorite spaces in the villa. “We wanted to make it a place where friends can come and get together,” she said. “It was important that people can sit anywhere and see each other and talk and relax.”
Ms. Wu’s other favorite room is the master bathroom, complete with Art Deco-inspired black and white tiles and a raised bathtub framed by an ornate arch and welcoming natural light coming in through iron-gridded windows.
Upstairs are two bedrooms. The master bedroom is 50 square meters, with an apex ceiling soaring up more than 4.5 meters, or 15 feet. The bleached wood flooring and neutral colors contribute to the feeling of spaciousness.
Working in corporate communications in Shanghai for the luxury house Chanel has given Ms. Wu a taste for all things French, and she and her husband hired a French interior designer based in Shanghai, Baptiste Bohu, to help them realize a vision that combined both French and Chinese traditions.
“I work for a French company and I quite like the French style,” Ms. Wu said. “The old Shanghai style is also something I like. So when we met Baptiste, we briefed him about what kind of buildings and design we like. We told him we wanted something elegant and comfortable. We wanted this house after 20 or 30 years to still be beautiful.”