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Family Style

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When a Japanese couple asked architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka to design a small home that would evoke the Italian love of food, informal gatherings, and natural settings, the result was la dolce vita in Tokyo.

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  Large clerestory windows face the street at the Higashibatas’ house in Tokyo, optimizing both privacy and natural light within.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    Large clerestory windows face the street at the Higashibatas’ house in Tokyo, optimizing both privacy and natural light within. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The architects designed the large dining table, which is framed by the open kitchen, the wood-burning stove, and the garden beyond.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The architects designed the large dining table, which is framed by the open kitchen, the wood-burning stove, and the garden beyond. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The entire interior wall opens, extending the house visually and socially into the small garden that lies between the multigenerational family’s two homes. The boys’ favorite feature is the soccer goalpost (which doubles as clothesline).  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The entire interior wall opens, extending the house visually and socially into the small garden that lies between the multigenerational family’s two homes. The boys’ favorite feature is the soccer goalpost (which doubles as clothesline). Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  A detail shot of the Engawa's wood-burning fireplace.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    A detail shot of the Engawa's wood-burning fireplace. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The magic wall-disappearing act is accomplished by means of sliding glass panels, which the family tends to leave open almost year-round. Miharu Higashibata says she feels the new home has strengthened the family bond through shared activities like cooking and gardening.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The magic wall-disappearing act is accomplished by means of sliding glass panels, which the family tends to leave open almost year-round. Miharu Higashibata says she feels the new home has strengthened the family bond through shared activities like cooking and gardening. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The pocket wall accordians back to reveal the open dining room.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The pocket wall accordians back to reveal the open dining room. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The sliding pocket wall opens to reveal Series 7 chairs by Arne Jacobsen. The kid's chair is a Tripp Trapp by Stokke.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The sliding pocket wall opens to reveal Series 7 chairs by Arne Jacobsen. The kid's chair is a Tripp Trapp by Stokke. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  Hidekazu Higashibata wanted to recreate the same sort of feeling he’d experienced on trips to Italy—a long table, leisurely meals, and lengthy conversations. The boys discovered the home’s “second story” on top of the cabinetry and, armed with a ladder, like to perch there for better views.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    Hidekazu Higashibata wanted to recreate the same sort of feeling he’d experienced on trips to Italy—a long table, leisurely meals, and lengthy conversations. The boys discovered the home’s “second story” on top of the cabinetry and, armed with a ladder, like to perch there for better views. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The official “living room” may be the least-frequented locale, since the house and garden combine to create one big, interconnected living space. The whole was conceived as a modern take on the traditional Japanese sheltered veranda, or “engawa.”  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The official “living room” may be the least-frequented locale, since the house and garden combine to create one big, interconnected living space. The whole was conceived as a modern take on the traditional Japanese sheltered veranda, or “engawa.” Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The architects designed a tall unit of closets and open storage to minimize clutter but also echo traditional Japanese architecture—an open plan with no floor-to-ceiling inner walls.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The architects designed a tall unit of closets and open storage to minimize clutter but also echo traditional Japanese architecture—an open plan with no floor-to-ceiling inner walls. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  The boys’ bedroom is compact while providing room for sleep as well as study.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    The boys’ bedroom is compact while providing room for sleep as well as study. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
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  Even the bathroom can be exposed to the elements—and often is: “We take a bath with the doors wide open,” says Miharu.  Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    Even the bathroom can be exposed to the elements—and often is: “We take a bath with the doors wide open,” says Miharu. Photo by Adam Friedberg.

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