BEIJING native Amy Gussin said being away from the motherland for a long time was a factor in her decision to purchase an apartment in her hometown.
"Since I was born in Beijing and grew up in Hawaii, I've always felt Beijing is my hometown. I wanted to have a home instead of living out of luggage in a hotel suite. So when I saw this condo, I was so happy. Even though it's a contemporary high-rise, the view is one of the best integrating both modern and old Beijing," Gussin said.
"It's an amazing feeling to watch Xiang Moutain in the background on a beautiful day under a blue sky, and it's also a memorable experience to watch the sun rise over the CCTV Tower with beautiful white snow on the ground in the early morning."
Aside from the view, the convenient location in the city's central business district is another big reason why she picked the condo.
Gussin envisioned a home characterized by a sense of openness and subtly defined spaces, and elicited this by combining the living and dining spaces.
"I love the fact that it has a huge living room. Our family likes everything open and not congested, so during the renovation, I combined three rooms to create this effect and expanded an office with glass and steel doors to break down the spaces," she said.
For the bedrooms, she built the bed and night table in the same style and the same color on the walls to make the lines flow better.
It took her six months to finish the renovation. The result is a series of free-flowing places: an opening plan living and dining room, two bedrooms and a study facing the living area. Floor to ceiling windows bring in natural light and amazing city views.
"Minimalistic, contemporary and subtle luxury are themes I truly believe in. The view itself is already wonderful, so having an interior design that can be portrayed as a canvas for a beautiful painting is ultimately my goal," she said.
"Besides, my mom is extremely Chinese and I'm very Western and obsessive with contemporary, minimalistic and clean design. So we had to meet half way."
Gussin designed most of the furniture and had it custom made. Most feature clean, simple lines with Chinese elements. Each space is simple, functional and aesthetically pleasing.
A spectrum of neutral colors dresses up the home and complements its clean lines. Subtle tones of gray, brown, lavender and white define the space. Plants and warm-tone, soft furnishings add to the warmth and lend a textured effect to the rather minimalist spaces.
ASK THE OWNER
Amy Gussin was born in Beijing and grew up in Hawaii.
Q: What's the best thing about living in Beijing?
A: Since I was born and grew up in Beijing until the age of nine, I have many childhood memories that still linger. The friends, food and deep cultural surroundings are what makes Beijing my home truly in my heart.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Fusion, modern, cultural.
Q: What's the first thing you do when you get home?
A: Open the curtains to view Beijing at night.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: Drink pu'er tea, listen to Coldplay, and take a bubble bath.
Q: Where do you spend the most time at home?
A: Dining room eating, and living room studying or on the iPad.
Q: What's the best view outside your window?
A: Beijing's night scene.
Q: How do you scent your home?
A: Lavender oil from Provence and gardenia oil from Hawaii.