Hello SHA, Shah, and Kitty!

Oh, what a sweet reunion!! A bit out of order, but I have to start with a big, cheery HELLO, right?!

Back together again, on the other side of the world this time! No really, China.

Back together again, on the other side of the world this time!

And yes, I’ve gotten many a requests to well-catalogue the Gardner’s infamous Hello Kitty Headquarters… so here it is!

You enter the HQ through this fine door, finished with matching welcome mat and everything.

You enter the HQ through this fine door. It wouldn’t be proper without a matching welcoming mat now, would it.

The ‘OH-MY-GOD!’s generally begin here.

Once you enter, to the left you have the living room! Perfected with it's color-changing chandelier!

Once you enter, to the left you have the living room! Perfected with it’s color-changing chandelier and hanging mini crystal balls!

What you don’t see is the nine light switches and remote control that lights up this room in 17, yes, 17 ways.

Yep, that's right. Custom made TV set! This is totally legit stuff right here!

Yep, that’s right. That was a custom made TV set you saw. This is totally legit stuff right here! No spared expense! All hard wood and built right in.

This guy had way too much time and money on his hands!

From the entryway, if you head right is the kitchen and bathroom. Every door with it's custom made Tony & Ruby Hello Kitty sticker.

From the entryway, if you head right is the kitchen and bathroom. Every door and window with it’s custom made Tony & Ruby Hello Kitty sticker.

Who the hell is Tony & Ruby, I hear you ask? Clue: NOT children! WT?

Pass the bathroom for the luxurious(ly green) guest bedroom!

From the entryway, head straight, pass the bathroom (fully equipped with a bidet) for the luxurious(ly green) guest bedroom!

A bidet with heated seating, front and rear oscillators and powder blow dry at that. Only the best for Tony & Ruby! 

Also complete with it's own matching chandelier.

Ta-da~ Also complete with it’s own matching chandelier.

This pad is aaall about the ambiance!

And, that's right, that is a custom cut Hello Kitty windoor to the master bedroom where the lovely Gardners find their respite from what is China.

And, that’s right, that is a custom cut Hello Kitty win-door to the master bedroom where the lovely Gardners find  respite from what is …China.

Oh my. This place looks even more ridiculous in pictures!

Diego finds peace in this palatial bedset from all his travels as well.

Diego finds peace in this palatial bedset from all his travels as well.

Aww, Diegs… nobody’s going to eat you in here!

A HK headquarter needs a HK worthy vanity mirror, of course.

HK headquarter needs a HK worthy vanity mirror, of course.

If I were 10, honestly, this room would be a dream come true.

And it wouldn't be complete without matching curtains, matching couch, and matching pillows.

And it wouldn’t be complete without matching curtains, matching couch, and matching pillows.

A little much? Should we lose the cushion?

On their behalf though, I have to stop and point out that the house they decorated themselves in SF was absolutely gorgeous and worthy of being on the cover of a Restoration Hardware magazine. It was filled with beautiful antiques seamlessly blended in to their very modern loft. So why this place?

Well, a house like this deserves a worthy tale. So, as you’ve been hearing her voice already, here is Shahirah herself to tell her story!!

Apartment hunting in China (on a budget) is an entertaining experience that begins with taking everything you thought you knew about anything, aaand throwing it out the window. For example, it’s fairly safe to assume that the pictures used to advertise an apartment are of THE ACTUAL APARTMENT, right? Wrong. And that’s before you’ve even stepped foot in the door! Welcome to China.

Counter intuitive home layouts (ie dining rooms that face a restroom, restrooms that ventilate into the kitchen, laundries in bedrooms) are typical of older apartments, along with shoddy plumbing, grimy interiors, and landlords who rarely speak English and quite frankly don’t care.

So when Annie our agent (who speaks fantastic English) showed us a newly renovated two bedroom in the heart of Xujiahui, complete with wood flooring, new appliances, reverse cycle ACs in every room, electric bidet, and 17 way chandeliers at a STEAL – we just couldn’t resist. The fact that the apartment was smothered in Hello Kitty top to toe, for us, was a small price to pay. 

Under normal circumstances, I’d have cringed to death if you’d have told me this is what my life came to but hey, when in China!

– Shahirah Gardner

To hear more of her stories, check out her blog here!

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