I am an Australian living in Shanghai (China) planning a remodel of my 3 level + Mezzanine Townhouse. Basically I am looking for an open living concept (western style) but need to balance this with the need to compartmentalise spaces for heating and cooling purposes (complete concrete with no insulation). The external of the house can not have any major alterations (standard community) but the front entrance can be changed (a pagoda or anything else). This is an internal remodel + entrance update. Growing up in Australia I also enjoy the outdoors but its just too cold here in Shanghai and in Summer there are too many mosquitoes and its hot and humid (not sure if anyone has any ideas).
Current layout and Future Plan:
* 1st Floor = Entrance, Lounge, Bathroom/Laundry and Garage; FUTURE—> Entrance, Games Room(Ceiling Height can be low), Bathroom/Laundry and Garage
* Mezzanine Floor = Kitchen, Dining and we added a small Family Room in the Void FUTURE —> Main living area incl. Lounge, Dining, Outside Deck, Toilet and Kitchen.
* 3rd Floor = 3 bedrooms + 1 Bathroom (Creative ideas welcome)
* 4th Floor = 1 Master Bedroom + 1 Bathroom (Creative ideas welcome, bathroom/walk in closet will be redone incl layout)
I would like the Mezzanine floor to be a Warm/Cool Comfortable living space with a Lounge/Family, Proper Dining and a Toilet and Storage (its Cold now, no storage, and I have to go up and downstairs just to go the toilet). The 1st floor will only be used very rarely as a Games room for our 2 year old daughter (only used in spring and autumn anyway) and for entertaining guests.
Space: ~240 sqm (2500sqf)
Budget about USD 60-80k but this can go further in China.
Condition: Fully Renovated Townhouse (5 years ago). Previous Mezzanine floor was only a small landing/dining and kitchen with a large void above the 1st floor, half of the void was filled in (concrete) to extend Mezzanine floor. The whole house is concrete construction: floors, walls, stairs and roof; but with no insulation, typical for recent houses in China. Lots of small problems that I need to fix anyway so will do a complete refit.
What do we want?
1. Extend 2nd Floor:
- Demolish the existing 2nd floor extension (it has a step up from the existing Mezzanine floor to give more height to 1st floor which is unnecessary)
- Fill entire void on the same level with the existing Mezzanine floor: Steel frame construction or Concrete. Its ok for 1st floor room height to be not so high, I want the Mezzanine to be a complete floor and the highlight of the house
- Windows etc will need to be replaced to accommodate.
2. Staircase / Toilet:
- 1st to Mezzanine floor Staircase: Demolish and add in new location or keep existing Staircase.
- Mezzanine to 2nd to 3rd Floor Staircase no change as its all concrete and difficult to move (but we will upgrade the stairs)
- If New staircase from 1st to Mezzanine - note there appears to be a concrete support beam limiting heigh clearance if you go straight up from the entrance corridor (see pictures, although a neighbour did demolish this). Demolish support or have a turn in the staircase.
- Add a Toilet and Sink to Mezzanine Floor (could go in the old stair case location or back of kitchen or other places)
3. Mezzanine Floor Entire area: needs to be an enclosed space for insulation and infant.
- Staircase 1st to Mezzanine floor should have a door/enclosed (top or bottom of stairs + Baby gate installed on top are ok) to help with insulation during hot summer months and cold winter months (would like keep heating on mainly in Mezzanine floor only).
- Enclose and add a door for staircase to 2nd floor (could be a sliding door or normal door)
4. Mezzanine Floor Outside Deck:
- An external deck extending South off the 2nd floor extension, BBQ etc.
- Extension of living area (but lots of mosquitos in Shanghai)
5. Insulation: Need to isolate and insulate 1st and Mezzanine Floors . If there are good suggestions I can do the entire house (can’t do exterior unfortunately).
- Wall: Insulated Plasterboard? or other suggestions (I think the space is not large enough for 5-10cm stud walls and insulation)
- Mezzanine Ceiling: Even though its the 2nd floor above, I would like to insulate against loss of heat to the concrete slab which then also looses heat to outside (EPS/XPS boards?).
- 1st floor Ceiling: Also need insulation (consider in plan for how to build the Mezzanine floor).
6. Need More Storage Spaces:
- Consider smart storage solutions everywhere, we need storage for mother and baby (its basically a mess at the moment everywhere). We have lots and lots of stuff
7. Kitchen: Close off / Semi-Close
- Consider using sliding windows/doors +/- cabinets to separate and close off kitchen, but also allow us to still open it up. At the moment I have a small closed cooktop area to accommodate for Chinese cooking.
- A closed off kitchen is also an option if this works better.
8. Entrance: Re-design Entrance
- We need to knock it down and redo the foundation (prev. entrance extension foundation was not done correctly and is sinking)
- We were thinking about moving the main door back to its original location and opening up the space (see the picture of original entrance)
- Main door faces directly out to road, need something to block direct visibility to door.
9. 2nd Floor
- Open to suggestions
- We will demolish the old Tatami guest bedroom
10. 3rd Floor
- Would be nice to redo the bathroom (2 sinks) and walk in closet, maybe something more western and practical
- The Walls are uninsulated concrete resulting in major condensation buildup on the tiles everyday (freezing cold tiles)
We will install heating radiators however this will be compartmentalised to save on heating costs (limited insulation). We currently have a A/C system with 6 internal units (1-2nd floor) and then 2 split systems on the 3rd floor (we will keep and just move around as needed).
Absolutely need to know:
- External of House no changes (gated community), but main door we can update
- No real building codes that we need to worry about
- Even though the interior walls are concrete, opening up passage ways or doors should be possible (construction appears to be more reinforced concrete beams)
Based in China, cost for things that are expensive in the West are cheap(custom made), and things that are cheap (prefabricated) are expensive because people don’t use them often (for example a prefabricated laundry unit is really expensive).
- Advanced building materials or other systems are not necessarily available, or fully imported and very expensive
- Granite is fairly reasonable cost
- Custom made wood or stainless steel components relatively easy.
Current Condition can be seen at:
Original Post Renovation:
Original Pre-Renovation Photots:
Comfortable Western Open Living, in a well insulated compartmentalised space
Entire Living area transitioned to the Mezzanine floor (with Toilet)
4th floor Bathroom and Closet
Challenge: Concrete Construction / Lack of Insulation
Like : Modern Simplistic Designs, Contemporary, Clean lines
Don’t like: Vintage, Traditional (with heavy wood work), Country, We will avoid carpet (too humid)