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The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu: Beautifully Balancing Tradition and Luxury (2)

By  William Wang (CRI Online)

14:57, September 24, 2012

Classrooms repurposed as dining halls at The Schoolhouse. (CRIENGLISH.com/William Wang)

"I've never been interested in just restoration or trying to copy something old just because it was old," Spear stated, with a smile. "I like taking something that's old and redeploying it, bringing it right into contemporary times. But not disguising the story. I always keep the old house. I don't tear it down. And it's more expensive to keep an old little peasant hut than to tear it down and rebuild something that's an integrated whole."

Spear's description of a reinterpreted home was telling. "As you go in and look at the structure of it, I opened up the pediment at the end of the building and put a big window in that you would never find in the traditional architecture." His enthusiasm animated his hands as he spoke. "Oftentimes in the structure, I'll marry the old approaches of the post and beam construction, and instead of putting in drop ceilings, I'll open it up to cathedral ceilings with the bones exposed."

Within the rooms, the décor is the very definition of tasteful. Antique curios and mosaics created from the discarded tiles from a local factory serve as constant reminders of China's multiple histories. Modern embellishments, such as the modern rainforest showers and iPhone docks, ensure that luxury is always at hand.

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