03 January 2011

Backyard Teahouse

There are many things that I like about Taiwan, but if I had to name just two, I would say I love Taiwan tea and its hot springs the most.  Interestingly, both of these have been deeply inspired by Japanese culture (which some would point out were in turn inspired by Chinese culture).  Taiwan underwent some major transformations when it was occupied by the Japanese military.  Hot spring culture flourished under Japanese rule and the Beitou hot springs area was developed by the Japanese as an important R&R destination.  The Japanese also encouraged the development of several domestic oolong cultivars, such as Qingxin and Qingxin Damou/Dapa; a Taiwan government site gives a bit more information here.  The famous (and pricey) black tea produced in south-central Taiwan is a hybrid cultivar developed from Indian black tea that the Japanese imported into Taiwan and spent many years working with.  It is now known as Taiwan tea #18, Hongyu.

I’ve been looking for a new house to move to for about 6 months now and high on my list of wants is a hot tub.  I went to view a house this evening with a nice hot tub and as I stood there admiring it, I realized that I probably wouldn’t love sitting in the middle of my backyard in full view of my neighbors and completely exposed to the environment.  I wished that it was inside of the adjacent shed instead; Seattle is both rainy and chilly.  That in turn got me thinking:  what if I could have an outbuilding with a tub inside of it (preferably at ground level) and a tearoom as well?

I spent the last few hours surfing online for ideas.  I did a quick web search for “Japanese Tea House” and looked through the amazing images of them for great ideas.  Given enough time and a big enough budget, I’m sure that I could design and build (or have built) a pretty sweet little outdoor sanctuary.  I found a site for a local guy that did just that and now offers the plans to do the same for $250.  His teahouse looks like this:


(credit: Ron Konzak, http://www.japanesehomeandbath.com)

A very nice and simple structure that I could definitely personalize for my uses.  Ron has also been working on plans for a Japanese bath and I’m sure there’s a way to integrate both into a very pleasant design.

A teahouse with my very own tea area and bath – very nice!

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