​The Wooden House Where Less Is More

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Don your best kimono, top up your saké, and take a comfy seat: we are going stylishly (and uniquely) Japanese for today’s homify 360° discovery!

Tokyo-based architect Ujihara Motomu received a very peculiar brief from a client: a free-standing house that had to be constructed to the best possible standards and within a rather tight budget. 

What was the outcome of the project? Scroll down to find out…

A double-dose beauty

Abiding by the client’s request, our architect delivered a two-level construction that rises skilfully out of a concrete platform. Yet it’s not the base, but the physical house itself that grabs our attention: raw timber adorned with a dramatic dark tone, standing out most strikingly from the surrounding homes in the neighbourhood. 

This creation was completed for only a third of the typical costs usually required for a suburban house, and yet it looks far from a rushed or cheap job. How was this possible?

Beauty and brains

To answer our own question, it was our architect’s ingenious creativity that solved the budget issue. The house was designed in such a way to ensure that savings were made throughout the building process, such as choosing materials that were purely functional, and removing design touches that were not relevant or necessary. 

For example, this particular type of timber used for the facade is specifically manufactured to last, as well as offer strong resistance to the elements. It is considerably cheaper than your average wood used for commercial buildings, and yet, thanks to the right finish, it looks superb and fantastic.

The stripped-back look

No, this is not an image of the construction half-completed, but the finished result. 

‘Stripped-back’ is a term used in the architectural and interior design industry, and is the look that was opted for in this case. The décor relies solely on the appearance of the materials used in the building’s frame, with no additional touches to spice up the decorative side, like carpets or wallpaper. 

And yes, no furniture or artwork have been added either.

Pure and simple wood

No doubt this look is not what the majority of homeowners seek for their interiors, yet it is exactly what the client requested. He has fully embraced the rawness of his new home’s interior spaces, where only timber and painted plyboard have been used for construction (and, of course, the occasional screw, metal joinery, and glass pane). 

Will the owner leave the interiors as is, or eventually add some décor and furniture? Who knows?

Practical spaces

Don’t let those open wooden beams and exposed plyboard surfaces fool you, for this house is fully functional and practical. 

A small corner kitchen is located on the ground floor, which is also where the social zone of the house is found. This area is separated from the outdoor garden by only thin glass sliding doors, ensuring a decent view and healthy inflow of natural lighting to really make those pale timber surfaces glow.

Sumptuously spacious

Although this house’s footprint is very modest, its proportions are rather generous. The visual spaciousness is enhanced thanks to the prominence of those light-toned wooden surfaces, as well as the way the incoming light brightens up everything. 

We can most definitely see how this is a desirable option for people with limited budgets, as we all know how ridiculous house prices can be. 

Will we ever see a design such as this in sunny South Africa, where our abundance of sunshine can make those timber spaces glow and light up with welcoming charm? Who knows? 

Want to see some more Japanese-style housing? Then click through to: Eastern Attraction.

The perfect space, or not really your style? Tell us what you think in our comments section, situated below.
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