This beautiful home, design by the architect's office n sketch, was completed in 2015 and is located in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan. It comes as no surprise that Japan boasts yet another exquisite and unique single family home. The countries residential designs frequently grace the covers of design magazines.
Japanese designers not only master minimalism – having, in fact, developed the movement based on authenticity, imperfection, and transience – but they also have a number of peculiar economic factors contributing to their residential architecture. For a start, Japanese home have an average lifespan of only 30 years! This means the inhabitants are usually more concerned with creating individualised spaces for living than they are in making a smart investment.
This home is just one example of such a home. Uniquely fashioned for the occupants' needs and wishes, the design employs the style du jour – minimalism – in a novel way and sophisticated way. Let's take a look…
The exterior is simple but stunning. The boxy volume is clad, almost entirely, in timber. The flat roof recedes out of sight. All that remains visible is the crisp white soffit on the underside of the overhang, hemmed in by the black guttering.
A balcony extends the width of the front facade, its glass balustrade barely visible. Below, a wall encloses the front entry area; it is constructed with timber planks, running horizontal, that contrast the vertical timbers that line the exterior of the home.
If the exterior introduced the style and values of the home, then the interior runs away with them. Natural materials abound: the asperity of the raw and textured surfaces are embraced to give the home colour and character. The attention to detail demonstrates an impressive design finesse.
The social spaces of the home – the living room, dining room, kitchen, and sitting room – occupy an open plan volume. This forms a central cavity in which the various functions can have a dialogue.
The kitchen finds a home its very own, distinct, nook. With a lower ceiling than the adjoining space and a long island that hems it in, the space feels distinct and differentiated. Division and connection coexist.
The modern movement saw the proliferation of the open plan layout; but as we began to move away from cellular design to more fluid and porous space, many also began to desire division, retreat, and seclusion. Throughout the design, this home masterfully achieves both of these qualities.
Opening off from the dining room is a small sitting room. The floor level is raised slightly above that of the adjacent space and required a small step up and through the opening in the wall. It achieves a cosy quality, forming a space where one can retreat from the social space into a smaller, more intimate volume.
Moving upstairs, a timber walkway spans the double height volume to provide access to the balcony. The large glass sliders open up, bringing the outside in. What a wonderful spot to sit and enjoy a glass of wine in amongst the lush greenery!
If you enjoyed your tour through this stunning abode, you may also like to take a look here: A modern Italian home with a playful twist.