The design of this home was inspired by the owners’ two cats, Millie and Hana. “Cats love to perch and lazily bask in the sun”, designer Jeff Weng of 2 Books Design explains. Making the link between pet cats and architecture is surprisingly easy in IT’s House considering its sun-filled spaces and clean, bright aesthetic.
Located in an apartment building in the south of Taipei City, Taiwan, adjacent to the Jingmei River, the home’s footprint was reduced to 70sqm/753sqft to let in more light. The footprint of the mezzanine level, added by the previous owner, was reduced to open the vertical volume and ease the crowded feel of this level. The staircase’s direction and material were also changed to “increase transparency in the space and reduce the sense of oppression caused by bulky stairs”. In their place, metal truss stairs with a stacked birch plywood and cement base were added.
Light the Way
The front door opens to a round wall cabinet that appears like a window, demarcating the entryway area from the living room. The hallway connects to the living room and the kitchen. A line of lights from the entrance to the kitchen acts as a visual guide, lengthens the entire depth of field and makes the living room appear more open.
The kitchen is located at the end of the entryway. The clients didn’t need a dining room table near the kitchen, so an island was installed instead. The kitchen’s ceiling tapers and in the tallest area there was room for a plywood storage cabinet containing a washing machine and clothes dryer. The refrigerator stands flush with the cupboards in a niche. A small balcony accessed through sliding doors in the kitchen is a compact yet welcome outdoor space.
The bedroom is located upstairs, and a solid-glass wall allows for little visual interruption between the two storeys. “You can sit on the edge of the bed and enjoy the night sky before going to sleep”, Weng says of the bed’s placement next to the glass. Adjoined to the bedroom is a bathroom and dressing room. Rather than using tiles, the walls have been painted with a mineral paint and any gaps between surfaces have been sealed to increase the minimalist feel of the space. The basin has a concrete-like texture to blend in as much as possible with the concrete look of the hand-troweled walls. Stainless steel accessories were used to “emphasise the delicacy of stainless steel and the roughness of mineral paint,” explains Weng. “The contrast strengthens the texture of the two.”
Back downstairs, a light-filled workspace was created just off the kitchen next to a pair of large windows. The generous worktable can be transformed into a dining table on the odd occasion one is needed. The base of the staircase also houses lockers for storage and the cats’ litter boxes. Weng describes the aesthetic of IT’s House as “delicate, relaxed, minimal and chaste” and it is an apt description. The home is distraction-free, clutter-free, calm and perfectly suited to the humans and cats who live there.
Check out Just the Essentials: Minimalist Design for Small Homes for more on how to streamline your design.
Images by Studio Millspace / Lucas K. Doolan and Never Too Small