Project Overview

The couple lived in Japan for several years when they were younger; hence, the designer hoped to create a semi-Japanese style to bring back their memories of the past. A Japanese vintage writing desk is placed on pairing with the overall tonal while giving a personal touch to the space; meanwhile, wooden gratings and indented walls have shown more flexibility while several personal pieces are decorated to recreate moments of life. The overall emits an elegant and generous spatial feeling, allowing the retiring couple to enjoy their lives in a relaxing manner.


Ding Cai interiordesign studio



Project Brief

This project is located in Beitou District, Taipei City. The residential-commercial building has more than 25 years of history, with the residence itself located on the fourth floor, which is also the first floor of the residential area. While facing the initial issues of leaking and molding, the possibilities of the owners’ grandchildren visiting in the future are also considered; hence, the designer took the chance of renovating the space and setting up barrier-free and interchangeable designs. The interior is friendly to users of all ages while showing an elegant spatial feeling with high compatibility and functionality.

Project Need

Considering the possibility that the aging couple might have to move around in wheelchairs in the future, the designer has created interchangeable and barrier-free facilities to give users a safe and comforting residence.
Barrier-free features:
Smooth surface: the floorings of the entryway and the living room are reformed with all thresholds being removed, especially areas that are used frequently, such as the kitchen and the shared bathroom. The bathing area of the bathroom is designed with a custom-made barrier-free and sink design, while threads have replaced thresholds at the entrance to block the water and avoid endangerment.
Wide paths: the aisles’ width is at least 85 centimeters; the kitchen walls and the boy’s bedroom are indented to give space to the hall and bathroom.
Horizontal push-pull doors: to increase convenience when the couple moves around on wheelchairs, special-made doors are set up in frequently used areas, such as the master bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen.
Hidden doorknob: the door places are set up with slanted or embedded doorknobs instead of common bulge designs, avoiding accidents when the owners trip over in the future.
Night securing lightings: lighting is set up 45 centimeters above the floor at the end of the hallway; it will automatically light up during the night and can be disassembled to carry, increasing safety and convenience for the owners.

Design Challenge

Since the structure has a rich history, severe leaking and mold issues were found at the beginning of the process. After evaluating the problems, the designer has noticed that the pipelines between each floor were not blocked and divided. Hence, the residence, which is located on the first floor, had rusted metal structures between partitions caused by other households' water leakage for many years. Furthermore, the leaking problem has also caused molded floorings, but the pipelines have belonged to the public area of the building. Hence, the designer could only renovate the inner walls, paint them with thick water-proof materials, and set up wooden gratings to embellish the repairment traces.


Unlike common projects that pursue the aesthetic and exaggeration for appearances, the designer of this project mainly focused on practicality and functionality. By fulfilling the needs and ideals of the owners, every detail in the residence is designed thoughtfully. Meanwhile, extra work and decorative materials are reduced to create an eco-friendly living environment while maximizing space.
Moreover, the house is fully applied with low-formaldehyde paint, LED lights, and energy-saving bulbs all recognized as green building materials.

Open to all international projects this award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.  

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