My Life,  Renovating Old Chinese House

A Home In The Making


Second floor balcony

The renovation of the old Chinese house from the 1979 has started! The house belongs to my boyfriend’s family and he used to live there when he was a kid. Now we want to make it a home for us two, wishing to move in November. But as we started cleaning up today we realized there is a lot of work to be done, especially because we are on a small budget.


Second floor

Above you can see the self-made blueprints of the second floor where we will be mainly living. The thing we need to figure out is the get rid of the white pain on the walls. It’s dirty and as the paint job wasn’t done that well those years ago, we can’t paint on top of it either. The paint has to be removed and then some rooms will be painted again. Or if possible, just protected with something transparent.


First floor

The first floor looks pretty much the same as the second floor. Here we will be using the biggest room as a dining room, and also the kitchen and the bathroom. There is a small walled garden on the back which we hope to get some work on too later.


The most important room to get finished is the master bedroom in the photo above. The room isn’t big, we aren’t even sure how we are going to fit our 180 centimetres wide bed in there. The windows doesn’t close well, the wall is in a terrible shape and the floor haven’t been washed in years it seems.

Right now we try to find a solution to the walls, ask for how much local workers would do it for and decide if that’s something we can afford. Before that we continue cleaning up the place from the trash the tenants left behind and throw away all the old furniture that can’t be used anymore.

So what you think? Do you believe it’s possible to get it ready before December?


  • Stanley Ho

    180 metres wide – that’s pretty big for a bed.


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Yeah, it’s a big bed. Our other choice would be my old 120cm bed which is a bit small for two.


    Stanley Ho Reply:

    ok. I guess it’s 180 cm not 180 m wide :-). 180m is almost 600 feet in the american system.


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Haha, I could swear my eyes saw the “centi” somewhere in there before the metres ;)


  • R Zhao

    Wow, I can’t believe how much space you have! Where I live in Hebei Province, most people couldn’t even dream of this much space, even many well-to-do Chinese. There’s so little space and property prices in the city are outrageous, about 6,000-8,000 RMB/square meter (which I’m sure is nothing compared to Beijing or Shanghai). Are you living fairly far from the city center?

    Enjoy renovating! I think it’ll be an on-going project and you shouldn’t put an exact end date on it. But you can definitely make it livable in a month or two. Take your time with the details though and eventually everything will come together. That seems to be the attitude of friends and family I know who have bought “fixer-uppers” (as we call it in the U.S.).


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    It’s 160m2 or so if you don’t count the balcony and backyard I guess. Yes, we live about 1,5 hours from the city center by metro + 10 minutes bus combination. This is an old village having history of 700 years or so.

    You’re right, renovating or even decorating a place is an on-going project, it’s never finished. If we can move in a month then that would be just perfect, everything else we can do little by little.


  • ordinary malaysian

    Congrats! A beautiful old house really. Just some clever touch ups here and there and some furniture placed strategically, will turn the place into a comfortable home to live in. The walls would have been better left in their original colour. But from the pictures, its looks like you will have some work to do here. You could place some large green plants and some flower plants on the balcony to bring in some nature.


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you for the tips!

    We really have a lot of work there to be done before we can move in. Right now we are buying some tools so we can get the old paint off, too slow to do by hand.

    We also want to find Chinese workers to help, but they are really busy with new houses right now as the year is coming to an end.


  • Peter Hu China

    oh,amazing blog,I am so interested in your blog now.Reading your blog is an enjoyable activity for me,I can learn something new from your blog


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