the lee teng-fang house

Thursday, November 29, 2012

While in Taiwan, we toured the  Lee Teng-Fang Archaic Mansion in Daxi, Taoyuan. Our hosts know I love a good house tour! The main house was built around 1860. The original owner was the son of a wealthy merchant who devoted his life to scholarship. Apparently between 1856 and 1868, he passed a series of examinations to become a high ranking official - Jiachuan Neigezhongxu. He commissioned the house to commemorate his ascension and achievement. ref

The house itself had some beautiful details and luckily our host hired a wonderful tour guide to explain many of them. She was so thorough in explaining all the details so I'll try to remember as much as I can despite this pregnancy brain.  This is the rear facade off the courtyard. The tour guide explained that the roof shape is meant to look like the horns of a dragon. As if the dragon is crouching over and protecting the house.

Standard bearer, or base for displaying the flags. There was some language barriers but I believe the guide said, thanks to my lovely translator, that the symbols were of his position within the government. I wish I had better pictures of the plants in the courtyard, there were a few pear trees, Apparently they are a symbol of welcoming.

 The guide also said that the wings would be added continually as the family grew. However these brick buildings, in contrast to the white plaster, were original. Additionally the two styles are representative of two local communities in Daxi at the time. The brick buildings are common in Shaoan Hakka architecture, if I remember correctly. And the white plaster walls are more indicative of local craftsmen native to Taiwan. I noticed the plaster buildings, being more living quarters for family than showplaces of the central house, seems brighter, perhaps because the sunlight was reflecting off of adjacent outer walls.

this image is from here, the rest are mine

The guide also explained that the doorways were built with these obstacles forcing you to look down as you stepped into the threshold, thus bowing your head.

Lovely details and carvings.

 Central courtyard replete with rain gutters that drained out to the pond adjacent to the house. The guide mentioned that in order to keep the drains clean they would employ turtles to eat any debris that may accumulate. What happens when a lazy turtle decides to lay down on the job? Apparently the popular remedy was to smoke him out!

 The house belonged to an official calligrapher so some of his original work is still prominently featured. This was painted in ink onto the plaster while is was still wet in a technique not unlike frescoes. 

Original kitchen stove with horizontal stone window slats to protect the cooks from invaders and robbers but still allow for the passage of dishes. The guide made an interesting point that in Feng Shui the window slats should be an even number for horizontal windows while an odd number for vertical windows.

Beautiful brick and tile details. I love the teal glaze on the vents.

Original courtyard well. Much like Georgian design, there was a false well adjacent to achieve a sense of balance - all in the name of Feng Shui.

 Cat holes and tunnels for natural pest control.

The gallery.

Incidentally while the tour guide worked for the local government, her family has owned a famous tofu house for generations. So after the tour we were treated to some unique tofu varieties. Architecture then food, my kind of tour!

All photos by me, please credit if you plan to share, thanks!

orchid bonanza

Monday, November 26, 2012

As promised, finally posting some Taiwan photos! While our trip was very brief, we had some very gracious hosts who planned all kinds of amazing activities. One of my favorites was touring Kin Shins Orchids, an award winning orchid grower. And with good reason!

The arrangement's true size.

And their very serious trophy case.


All photos by me, please credit if you plan to share, thanks!

country sports

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm finally getting my recent trip photos uploaded. It only took me forever, sorry. While I sort through the decor related ones I thought I would share photos from a country festival I attended here in Japan. There was mastiff wrestling; unlike dog fighting the dogs are really just trained to pin one another. They're also huge!

And horse pull trials where they raced farm horses pulling cinder blocks.

Okay this week I'm actually going to get some good photos uploaded. Hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving weekends.

happy thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Have a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoying the last of the fall colors.

Source: via Ann on Pinterest

Before the snow monsters appear.

farmhouse revisted

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It isn't often I find a house where I really love the details of every room. Remember how I said in my last post how I love Gil Schafer's work? I think this NY farmhouse is just so warm and welcoming.

All photos from Architectural Digest.

back doors

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm still unpacking (I'm very slow about these things these days) and sorting through photos. However, on my flight home I was catching up on some reading and found this lovely line in the very last pages of My Antonia by Willa Cather: " farm-houses, somehow, life comes and goes by the back door."

It got me thinking about these lovely spaces.

Source: via Ann on Pinterest

Don't you just love Gil Schafer's work?


Friday, November 9, 2012

Just returned from a whirlwind trip to Taipei. I have a bunch of photos to share soon!


And Parnassus, if there had been more time I would have tried to talk you into lunch - next trip!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

While shopping for baby linens I came across an Etsy seller whose pillows are a great affordable option for the linen fans of Leontine Linens. Here's the original, pricing in around $400.

If you like the applique style but don't require exact measurements here's one from Etsy seller Calico Daisy priced at $64, two for $100.

Have a great weekend!