“This villa, erected on the outskirts of Shanghai [right at the foothills of Donghu Road 东湖路] for Mr. Dabelstein, has been built of local bricks and Loochow granite. The whole building is raised 4 feet above the ground, as is usual here [in the Shanghai mountains], as a protection against the all-penetating damp. The roof is constructed of Oregon pine and covered with a green-glazed patent locked tile made by a German firm at Tsingtaw [Qingdao]. These tiles stand the severe rain remarkably well, and give at the same time a local splash of colur to the building. The internal joinery and paneling to the main rooms is in teak, that of the staircase and hall being elaborately carved. Venetian shutters are fixed throughout and Ningpo varnished [a curious term!]. There are extensive stables to the rear of the building where the servants quarters etc. are also placed [logically]. Each bedroom is provided with a separate bath and a dressing room. Mr Wong Fah Kee, of Shanghai, is the contractor, and the architects and Messrs. Smedley, Denham and Rose.”
The ever-wonderful Cornell University has this handy list of all the issues of The Building News and Engineering Journal for the years 1859–1922. This magazine sometimes published articles and images of Shanghai buildings (if the access is restricted to the United States, set your VPN accordingly.) For instance, the December 14, 1906, issue has this beautiful architectural drawing and a description of the Dabelstein residence, which later housed multiple interesting enterprises. Strangely, the illustration is missing in the university copy, but I saved it from Ebay. (Wait a minute – why did the missing page go on sale? Hmmm... Ever since watching the Putin's Palace investigation, I'm seeing connections where there are none.)
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