When a couple with discerning tastes saw the portfolio of James Tu, they immediately knew he would be the designer to create their family home. Having purchased a property spanning 15,000 square feet in the heart of Taipei, the homeowners wanted to create a timeless and elegant abode, fitted with state-of-the-art appliances and amenities, with thoughtful, well-executed features so there would be no need to ever leave the residence.
The goal was to envision their home as a sanctuary where they could unwind, relax, play, study, work, exercise, entertain and be pampered. The homeowners trusted James completely, giving him free rein with the space. The result is a delight for the residents – boasting seven bedrooms, a spa, a gym, an expansive study, multiple dining and tea appreciation areas, an atrium with a grand piano, a chef’s kitchen and gallery spaces to display their fine-art collection. “One of the family’s common interests is travelling together, where they get so much inspiration,” says James. “They are also keen on wellness and good health, so they love to cook and enjoy meals at home.”
While the homeowners weren’t overly specific in their design brief, they emphasised that they loved the aesthetic of Hermès – especially the fine craftsmanship, tactile luxury and timeless elegance of the brand’s homeware collection. It’s hard to pick a pièce de résistance as there are so many beautiful furnishings around the residence, but standout items include the cream leather loungers, the study desk and chairs, a wooden dining set, a chaise and several ottoman benches, all from Hermès.
In subtle hues of cream, orange, rich woods, beige and tan, the effect when paired with the clean beige backdrop of the space exudes classical chic, while the impeccable quality of the furniture demonstrates true luxury. James explains, “We wanted to achieve a bright and airy living environment, so we chose cream tones as the main colour scheme, and weaved in dashes of greys and pops of gold and orange for visual interest.”
The couple also expressed their passion for furniture pieces that combine modernity with Eastern flair, so James sourced items such as the desk, tea tables and chairs from Shang Xia, as well as select pieces from Giorgetti to complement the elegant surrounds. Other gorgeous furnishings and accessories include the Promemoria bed in the master bedroom, the B&B Italia bed in the children’s room, and a statement chandelier and sconce lighting from Saint-Louis in the living room.
The Bulthaup fitted kitchen is every chef’s dream, while the bathroom and spa are perfect for pampering with their Teuco, Hansgrohe and Toto appliances. In the spa, Swarovski crystals and a statement wall with a Bisazza mosaic injects understated glamour.
James says the biggest challenge of this project was finding the right spaces to display all of the homeowners’ artwork. “They have an extensive collection, so finding a way to blend them into the overall design took some planning,” he recalls. To this end, he’s staggered pieces by artists Lee Yih-hong, Yang Yu-yu and Hsu Wen-jung, positioning them expertly around the residence to simultaneously highlight and balance the interiors and furnishings.
It’s hard to pick a preferred location in this home – each area is unique and invites the feeling of peace and serenity, yet remains fully functional. For the homeowners, their favourite space is where they spend the most time as a family: the study. This is where they hang out together, reading, drawing, practicing calligraphy, browsing the internet and enjoying each other’s company.
Surveying the expansive space, James believes that the secret ingredient to tackling this home successfully lies in his experience as an architect. This has helped him create a smooth flow of lines, utilise every space and allocate the most suitable proportions so that each designated area is comfortable – and utterly beautiful.