TWIN OAKS TODAY
In 1983, Dr. Fredrick F. Chien came to Washington, D.C. as the representative of TECRO. By then, the estate had fallen into disrepair, so Representative Chien and his wife Julie supervised the repair of the mansion’s structural weaknesses, the repainting of its exterior, and the restoration of the oak woodwork throughout its interior. They also commissioned artwork, furniture, and other decoration and landscaping to revitalize the estate.
The house today provides visual reminders of the intricately woven tapestry of U.S.-Taiwan relations. The interior blends nineteenth century design and details from the restoration with Chinese and Taiwanese paintings, furniture, and objects d’art. Walking through the house, one is reminded of how much history lives within its walls.
In a ground floor sitting room hangs a painting depicting peaches and other Chinese symbols for longevity and good fortune, famously done by the Qing dynasty Emperor Kuang Hsu for his mother the Empress Dowager as a birthday gift.
The porch on the south side of the house, completely enclosed and seating up to one hundred guests for official dinners and functions, features Chinese art work. In the room which once served as the formal dining room, the original Tiffany chandelier lights a sterling silver piece with imperial dragon motif, commissioned by the R.O.C. embassy. Ascending the sweeping main staircase of the house to the landing, visitors find an exquisite set of intricately carved rosewood furniture with a dragon motif and rich red cushions, which, legend has it, were sent by the Empress Dowager to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.