The Hanoi Ancient House located at 87 Ma May Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter shows how Hanoians used to live. It was built in the late 20th century and used to serve as both shop and home.
Its wooden furniture and interiors have been preserved. The space where we entered is where the owner’s shop used to be. Walking forward is a receiving room where vintage tea sets were on display. There was a courtyard that divided the store from the kitchen, servants’ quarters and bathroom. I found that men and the children eat together at the dining area, while the women and servants ate in a separate room, which was also the servants’ quarters. At night, the servants unfold the blinds so that their open space room would have its ‘walls’.
Going back to the shop we went up to the wooden stairs at its right, where we landed into the home’s most important place, the place of worship. Towards the back we walked into the owners’ reading room and then lastly to the master’s bedroom. The children shared the room with their parents. The bed has no matress, and the pillows looked like 2 wooden blocks. Our guide said that the masters of the house would stay up in their room and in the adjacent reading room most of the time and would only go down when big traders would visit the shop.
It was an interesting trip to the Hanoi Ancient House. I marveled at how life must have been like back then. I was also amazed at how the furniture and the home were maintained despite the changes that it must have witnessed through the decades that followed.