A serene Taiwan home with the perfect mix of modern elements and rustic touches

The further we move away from summer the more I look to my own home as a source of much needed warmth and comfort. As a result I have been fascinated by more rustic decor and its place in a modern home. And during this exploration I have stumbled upon what is in my opinion the perfect representation of the “chic minimalist cottage” look that has become so popular in recent years.

The owners of the house, having recently moved back to Taiwan after spending nine years in Canada, were looking for a place that would make them feel more connected to the natural world. The couple, a jewelry brand owner and yoga instructor, quickly fell in love with the quiet and well situated property. The building boasts ceilings that go as high up as 3.6 meters, a rare privilege in Taipei.

Spread over 220 square metres of interior spaces, plus 80 square metres of outdoor area, the property features a living room, dining room, kitchen and powder room on the ground floor, while three bedrooms and two bathrooms occupy the first floor. The basement is dedicated to the master bedroom with its own bathroom, walk-in closet and laundry room.

The project was designed by the fairly young “Encru Studio”, found only in 2018. While the studious previous projects were quite minimal this time there was an effort to mix more colors and textures as well as use various decorative elements with a lot of the building materials, both old and new, being imported from Europe.

The result is what the designer describes as a “decorative minimalist” style. “The approach was about adding layers but paring back to the minimum at the same time to create simplicity and achieve a sense of harmony,” explains Jin Chen, the founder of the studio. Featuring a soft white tone thanks to the plaster paint, the walls and ceilings have become the perfect canvas for the space where timber beams and Dinesen oak floor stand out in the living room, giving an authentic and cosy character to the home. The glossy black painted frame and custom-made wall lights add contrast to the otherwise neutral palette.

“Symmetry and contrast are something we want to emphasise,” Chen explained. “Proportion and scale are also important in our design philosophy. Underpinned by these elements, [this kind of] rustic home with a spacious feel is, however, very modern.” “The serenity of this place just naturally came out,” Chen concludes.

Influenced by the work of Carlo Scarpa, Claudio Silvestrin, Jean-Michel Frank, John Pawson and Pierre Chareau, Ecru Studio is finding its own voice, continuing to unveil it with each new project. And I for one can’t wait to see more from this studio.