Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Shu Shu House: A Serene Mountain Retreat in Jiufen, Taiwan

Search

Shu Shu House: A Serene Mountain Retreat in Jiufen, Taiwan

March 25, 2021

In the ’90s, I studied abroad in Taiwan for a semester my junior year of college. One of the most memorable experiences I had on the island was a trip I took with fellow students to Jiufen, a mountain town not too far from Taipei. The former mining village is known for its serpentine alleys and old-fashioned teahouses, a rustic counterpoint to the urban capitol.

I remember during that trip, a half dozen or so of us crammed into one room at an inn—we somehow managed to fit onto two mattresses, pushed together, atop a tatami mat floor (Japanese design influence is strong on the island). The accommodations felt spare but charming to my 19-year-old self.

Today, I’d much prefer a stay at Shu Shu House. The small cottage is owned by photographer Ivy Chen and floral artist Alfie Lin, founder of CN Flower. Like our room at the inn, it’s simple. Yet, it’s so artfully appointed and situated (tucked into a mountainside) that it feels luxurious—a welcome respite from modern plugged-in life.

No TV, weak internet access, breathtaking views, and a real bed. I’m officially putting Shu Shu House on my to-visit list.

Here’s a look.

Photography by Suiyu Studio.

shu shu house taiwan 7
Above: It’s easy to miss the stairs to Shu Shu House. Roughly translated, “shu shu” means “counting trees.”
shu shu house taiwan 2
Above: From the outside, Shu Shu House looks like the weathered concrete houses typical in the area.
Shu Shu House A Serene Mountain Retreat in Jiufen Taiwan portrait 4_22
Above: The inside is another story. It’s appointed with antiques and vintage finds, slowly amassed by Lin. The home was originally meant to be the couple’s private retreat, but after friends inquired about weekend stays, they now rent it out as well.
shu shu house taiwan 4
Above: Before moving in, the couple refinished the wood floors and painted them. They also added new and more windows, the better to appreciate the treetop views of East China Sea.
shu shu house taiwan 6
Above: An antique German workbench now used as a desk. The humble is celebrated in this cabin, where utilitarian objects like dusters and brooms are displayed like art.
shu shu house taiwan 8
Above: Lin’s love for plants on display.
shu shu house taiwan 9
Above: Shu Shu House is composed of one main open room that encompasses the living space and a bed. There is no kitchen so that visitors are encouraged to patronize local restaurants, coffee shops, and teahouses.
shu shu house taiwan 3
Above: The antique Chinese doors behind the bed belonged to the former homeowner, a calligraphist.
shu shu house taiwan 1
Above: Off the main room is a bathroom. There is no mirror above the sink, just a window to the outdoors.
shu shu house taiwan 16
Above: A soaking tub with a view.
shu shu house taiwan 11
Above: On the ground level is a spacious spa bathroom.
Shu Shu House A Serene Mountain Retreat in Jiufen Taiwan portrait 4_31
Above: A copper soaking tub. From Shu Shu House’s Facebook page: “In short, although there is no TV or DVD in Shu Shu House, it will not be boring. As long as you’re someone who knows how to enjoy peace and relaxation…”
shou shou house bedroom detail
Above: The other side of the spa bathroom. Simple linen shades are used throughout the home.

You can find more information about Shu Shu House on Facebook and Instagram.

For more Chinese design, see:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0