This home is located in Chikusei, a city in Ibaraki Prefecture, in the northern Kantō region of Japan. Designed for a young married couple and their children, it is the perfect family home. A central atrium connects the first and second floors; with the most private spaces located on the second level and the social heart of the home located on the first level.
The architects have sought to create a dynamic relationship between private and social, allowing for the degree of privacy to be adjusted. Division and connection enter into a fluid interplay. Let's take a closer look…
The exterior is striking and unique. Black walls are complimented by the rich texture of the wood. Various volumes and deep eaves create an interesting and slightly unusual form.
The approach to the house is simple but thoughtful. Two steps create a moment of pause, elevating the moment of crossing from outside to inside. The rest of the external paving is equally as considered and refined.
The social heart of the home is separated by a swooping line in the floor that divides the dirt floor from the highly polished timber floor.
At the curve the timber takes on an interesting pattern. The dirt floor locates the interior living space that simultaneously attains an 'outdoor quality'.
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As we take a step outside and look back towards the dirt floor space, we begin to really appreciate its in-between nature.
The two large openings feature bifold doors, and deep eaves over-head. The continuity of the flooring between the interior and exterior, coupled with the recessed door joinery, creates an almost seamless transition between inside and out. It's just plain striking—what a composition!
The kitchen provides a central anchor in the home and establishes itself as the central heart. Composed of stainless steel and American Cherry, these two materials form a delightful juxtaposition: warm and homely meets industrial. This sort of material contrast is rife throughout the entire design.
How about that staircase?! It's a designer masterpiece! The change from open risers to a closed-in, solid timber stair creates an elegant threshold moment between the two levels. And the handrail, rendered black, is so sleek.
Now, back into the heart of the kitchen for one last shot of this incredible home. The stainless steel island surface is mirrored in the bulkhead. Hemming the kitchen in, it delimits the space from the greater volume.
A black feature wall forms a chalkboard which is a fun and playful touch, asserting that this home is for the children as much as it is for its adult inhabitants.
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