This is part re-told from a friend living in Shanghai and bits and pieces from the internet: “Moller Villa: Legend has it that Jewish Eric Moller came to Shanghai in 1919 empty-handed and made his fortune here by winning large sums at the horse races, culminating in the construction of this fantasy home for his daughter. The daughter is said to have had a dream in which she saw a castle like those in the Hans Andersen fairy tales. On awakening, she drew a sketch. The father was so fond of his youngest daughter that he immediately commissioned an architect to build her dream house.
In reality the Mollers were originally Swedish with British citizenship. Eric Moller was the son of wealthy businessman Nils Moller, who had started a business in Hong Kong in the 1860s. It was said that a fortune-teller told Moller that if he ever finished the house, ill-fortune would befall him. So Moller dawdled, adding bits and bobs for more than 10 years, finally completing the task in the late 1940s. According to Johnston, Moller’s daughter said that the fortune-teller tale too is false, but there is no doubt that Moller’s fortunes took a turn for the worse following the breakout of World War II.