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A one-bed apartment becomes a relaxed family home

01 February 2016

We loved spending the day at Ta-Li and Yi-Hsuan’s place. The couple have filled their home with influences from their travels and favourite films, and made their apartment feel bigger than it is by maximising all available space – they’ve even created an extra bedroom without doing any building work. The result is a versatile family home, full of personality. ‘Our home might be small,’ says Ta-Li, ‘but it has a big heart!’

Ta-Li’s colourful family dining space with creative chalkboard wall
Portrait of Ta-Li and Yi-Hsuan at home in Taipei

Ta-li and yi-hsuan’s home truths

OUR HOME IS… an 80m2 apartment in a block of flats built in the 1990s. It’s our first home together and we love it here – we have lots of friendly neighbours.
LIVING IN THE CITY… is really convenient for us. We can cycle everywhere, to work and to do the shopping.
THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES HERE… Natural sunlight can be very limited when you live in a city like Taipei but this apartment gets lots of sunlight. It’s so sunny in here it makes us feel happy to be indoors.
SUNDAY IS OUR OPEN HOUSE DAY… we have a big dinner party at home every Sunday. We love to share good food with friends. Saturdays are quieter and we like to watch a movie on the sofa. Wes Anderson is a big favourite. His films inspire our home. They’re so colourful and playful – just like our apartment!
OUR LIFE AT HOME IS… family-oriented, sociable and creative. In our hearts we love the countryside and one day, we’d like to have a house in the country, but for now we love our home in the city!

A small, portable trolley is a flexible storage solution in a small home


Living well in a limited space is all about flexible storage solutions. ‘Our little trolley takes up less floor space than a coffee table and is ideal for keeping everyday things close at hand. It has wheels too, which means we can move it around to wherever we need it.’

A DIY wall storage unit built to save on floor space


Creating wall storage saves on floor space. ‘We had an empty wall so I thought, why not build something that fits there to keep all my books in? It’s my proudest DIY moment!’

A chalkboard wall is a creative space for the family to express themselves


Expressing yourself doesn’t take up any space. ‘The chalkboard wall was my wife Yi-Hsuan’s idea. She wants to have a place where our daughter (and our friends!) can draw and be creative. We also like to leave each other little messages or write recipes on it.’

Use a large windowsill to display treasures and favourite books

‘It’s a shame to keep the things you love stored away in boxes, so I keep my favourite books and pictures on the windowsill. They make me smile and I want visitors to enjoy them too.’  

Ta-Li, veterinarian, Taipei

Rails and hooks create perfect wall storage in a small kitchen

‘I think that living in a small space makes you more creative – and we always like to try new ideas.’


Keep utensils within easy reach with open storage


A wall rail with hooks is the perfect way to give a small kitchen more storage. ‘I love to cook so it’s important to keep things I use a lot within easy reach. Plus it frees up space in the cupboards for the things we rarely use.’

Ta-Li added a shelving unit to his balcony for additional storage


Don’t neglect a small balcony when you can use it to your advantage. ‘Our balcony is covered so it makes the perfect extension to the kitchen, with plenty of extra storage for pots and pans.’

Add positive energy to your home with plenty of greenery


There’s always space to bring a bit of feel-good nature into your home. ‘Living in a crowded city like Taipei, we like to have a little bit of greenery wherever we can – it brings us pleasure.’

Ta-Li uses his covered balcony as a laundry room

‘We use our balcony as an extra room. This is where we do our laundry and hang our clothes out to dry.’


A large shelving unit doubles as a room divider
Portrait of Ta-Li reading his daughter a story in the nursery


When Ta-Li and Yi-Hsuan first moved in to their flat, they had just one large bedroom. So when their daughter, Bei-Er, was born, they cleverly divided it into two rooms using KALLAX shelving units fixed to the wall and ceiling. ‘Bei-Er’s nursery is the cosiest room in our home,’ says Ta-Li. ‘I moved my favourite armchair in here from the living room so now I love to sit here to unwind after a busy day at work, play with Bei-Er or read her a story. The nursery has become somewhere we all love to spend time, so it’s more of a  family room really.’

Customise nursery furniture with colourful accents

‘Our daughter loves “Beauty and the Beast” – she especially likes Belle’s yellow dress, so with just a few licks of paint, I gave her nursery its very own yellow theme.’

Ta-Li, veterinarian, Taipei

Add colourful bedding to add personality to a small bedroom


You can change the look of a room with just a little bit of effort and not much money. ‘In our bedroom, we use bedding to add colour and bring fresh energy to the space. When we need a boost, we get a new set with our favourite colours and patterns.’

Use open wardrobe storage to save space in small bedrooms


Open storage is perfect for compact spaces. ‘We don’t have enough space for a wardrobe with opening doors, so the STOLMEN works really well for all our clothes. And we’ve mixed in storage boxes for the things we don’t use so often.’

Add hooks and storage for soap and toys in a tiny bathroom


It helps to plan a small bathroom around busy family life. ‘We have a lot of things in the flat that help our small spaces work hard. Clever buys like our narrow sink, with its hooks and built-in space for toiletries, soap and toys, work perfectly for us.’

Floor plan of family apartment in Taipei


Ta-Li and Yi-Hsuan have cleverly transformed a one-bedroom apartment into a two-bed family home. Drawing on their love of films, and bright colours, they’ve created a colourful family home that reflects their own vibrant personalities.

Made by

Photography: Lina Ikse
Styling: Ashlyn Gibson
Artwork in living room: (birds and clouds) SUKIE
Artwork in nursery: (map of Paris) www.omy.fr
Artwork on chalkboard: Fang-i Yeh
Artwork on windowsill: Hsi-Chun Huang