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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chinese Houses in the US - Characteristics

The above is very broad generalizations of common elements of Chinese American housing I have noticed. I could not find any similar pages and when I look at Feng Shui, I get really confused:

1. In California, carpet is often replaced with tile (granite, marble, or ceramic) for hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, and eating area. There is a new trend towards wood floors. The living room stays carpeted along with bedrooms.

2. Stairs never point directly out the front door. The idea being here that the luck flows out of the house. There is often a mirror at the first bend of a stairway. You also often see mirrors above the door.

3. There is no direct path from the front door to the back door.

4. Lots of light is preferred. So the house inside is usually painted lighter color white.

5. Houses usually don't have 4's in them (sound of four in Mandarin and Japanese is same as death, which is why in Japan you can get a discount on an apartment with a 4 in it). Preferred numbers are 2, 6, and 8 for Mandarin. Cantonese is a little different.

6. Often there is a fish tank/aquiariam inside. They supposedly increase luck/wealth. You will also notice this in Chinese owned businesses.

7. Often there will be a small cabinet just inside to place your shoes to change into sandals for use on the tiled areas. On the carpeted area, the sandals are removed.

8. AMETHYST cathedral's area often found. They are big rocks with purple crystals inside them. Big as in I have seen them a couple of feet high.

9. Kitchen will often have saran wrap over the stove. Why - due to cooking via wok that throws out a lot of oil. Kitchen will often have a high powered fan above the stove due to the smoke generated. There may even be a high power gas burner that I have seen outside to get the high heat needed in traditional Chinese cooking.

10. Bottled Water - probably more of a first generation issue.

11. Rice Cooker

12. Italian or European style furniture. Either lighter in color or leather. Japanese style is often found, as for example a wooden bed.

13. Vegetable Gardens - Cute book, The Ugly Vegetables by Graced Lin, that is so true! With Chinese vegetables.

14. New houses are preferred.

15. Depending on the religion of the owner, you may find a bowl of Tangerines and oranges that symbolize good luck before a Buddhist figure.

16. For families with kids, a trophy/achievement wall with all the awards their kids have achieved. Education is super important in most Chinese families.

17. Usually in the bedroom there will be post size wedding picture above the bed.

18. Houses are usually not at the end of a street/cul de sac. Idea that ghosts go in straight lines. And so do drunk drivers is a more modern reason :-)

19. Good school district Focus on giving children the best education possible.

20. If kids, usually some musical instrument around. Piano, Violin, Cello, etc.

Kinda related book and Good Luck Life: The Essential Guide To Chinese American Celebrations And Culture Good Luck Life is so full of little tidbits about the Chinese Culture.

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