After the wildly enthusiastic response (where “wildly enthusiastic” indicates the sound of crickets) to my recent post about our kitchen, I’ve decided to begin a wholly unsolicited investigative series on Hong Kong village houses.
This is a Hong Kong village house:
These Spanish mission villas proliferate the New Territories area where we live, and their interiors are a wonderment of freeform “design” with every area more closed off than the next, every surface covered in tiles, every room humming with a box airconditioner, every amenity conducive to constituting a convenient Western lifestyle entirely absent. Each village house is a treasure trove of
blogging fodder charm wrapped up in white tiles.
I will call this series “Who knew…” because, unlike the layout of the average village house, it’s completely flexible. Simply add your own preposition, like so: “Who knew… it could be so ugly/you could live without a laundry/a house could be this badly laid out/an aesthetic value could actually be null” etc.
Today I’m going to concentrate on the bedroom my kids share. There are four bedrooms in this house, and three of them – the kids’, MaryJane’s, and the spare room – measure approximately 3sq freckles. Our bedroom, on the contrary, is enormous, about the size of an average Australian school classroom. In fact our ensuite is bigger than each of the other bedrooms. This disparity provides just a brief peek into the mindset of the oriental draftsman. And what a mysterious mind it must be indeed, if our place is an average dwelling. But contemplating his motivations will be best done at a later point once his full architectural “mastery” has been revealed. For now, let’s concentrate on the
rathole my beloved children’s sanctuary.
I took this photo before we moved into the house. The previous tenants had decorated the bedroom for their eldest son, currently at university in England. I’m pretty sure he’s never coming back home now that he’s experienced a world where people don’t have to sleep under irregular handpainted bunting.
Between you and me, that shitty black light fitting just inspired my next “Who knew…”, controversially entitled “Who knew you could make a light from craft fixtures you bought at Spotlight for $4.”
In view of how small the rooms are, when we moved in we had to decide between forgoing the spare room so the kids could each have their own (albeit very tiny) space, or make them share a room, giving them a still extremely miniscule area to call their own but freeing up valuable space for storing all our spare junk/our mums when they come to visit. The latter won out. We didn’t want to risk having to put a mattress on our own bedroom floor for our visiting mums. No amount of separate space for the kids to express their individuality could be worth such a tribulation.
The room isn’t finished. This is our first time renting so we’re not sure how much time/effort/money we should put into redecoration. More than we’ve done, I think any adult would agree. We could paint the walls with something a bit less black, at the very least. Poor little unwitting emos.
But the kids are very happy in their lilliputian dwelling. They can hold hands in bed! Zadie recently outgrew her cot and graduated into Rufus’s “cat and dog” bed, so called for the whimsical headboard on this IKEA staple for kids’ rooms the world over. Rufus scored himself a bigger model IKEA bed with shelves (schållves?) behind. This is perfect for his maternal-line OCD. Now he can bring heaps of detritus upstairs with him every night and arrange it behind his bed, all the better for extending the bedtime routine another 12 minutes.
I made the little curtains (with fabric from IKEA, naturally). The cardboard Elmo at top right was found in a rubbish pile behind the local bakery which had been running a Sesame Street promotion. I cut him into a silhouette using a bread knife, removing the part that was covered in slimy choy and Chinese writing about flossy pork buns.
We have to walk between the beds side-on, and execute some Cleese-style choreography to manoeuvre from bed to bed when kissing the kids goodnight. As we bend over to kiss one kid, the other one will poke us in the arse at close range with a toy car, or dack us.
A haven of domestic tranquility, right?