Thursday, December 12, 2013

Taipei: Living

This is the last of a five post series recounting our visit to the island of Taiwan. If you missed it, here's Part one, Part two, Part three, and Part Four.

While in Taipei, we had the opportunity to visit with many friends and family and their homes. What we discovered was that most people lived in multi-use high rise buildings. The first floor was typically reserved for businesses and the upper floors were used as residences. They called each dwelling a house, but to me, it was more akin to a condo. Most of the upper floors contained multiple houses, like condos here in the US. The older dwellings we visited did not contain elevators and some had balcony areas. A rooftop home we visited had a roof garden. The newer dwellings appeared to be designed to maximize function and storage space. It was quite interesting to see how open and airy the newer spaces felt compared to the older dwellings. The older dwellings contained multiple walls which closed off rooms. It reminded me of the older homes here in the US that partitioned off each space compared to the newer homes that are constructed with an open concept living area. (We also embraced the open concept living idea when we removed the wall between our kitchen and dining rooms to create a large room.  

In an area that is so densely populated, it is important to make use of every space available. Small spaces between tall buildings were used to create beautiful gardens. Where high rises were abundant, windows were prevalent in many of the newer homes taking advantage of not only the view, but also in capturing the sunlight. Being accustomed to wide open spaces and single-family homes surrounded by land, this was a new and interesting experience for me. It was almost as if a delightful surprise was around every corner. Here are a few of the really neat living spaces we saw.

Taking advantage of natural light
A functional and efficient kitchen. I love that they had an upper cabinet dishwasher

View from the kitchen taking advantage of the scenery.  
Rooftop Garden
A garden carved between buildings

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