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A Piece of Home

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Made of hardy Scottish materials and holding a Japanese heart, this Edinburgh house shows that two architects from disparate cultures can design a home that bridges the gap.

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  The back of the house has sliding doors that open far enough to expose the entire livingroom to the families' back yard.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The back of the house has sliding doors that open far enough to expose the entire livingroom to the families' back yard. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The building's shape and materials are the sort you find in a modernist residence in the UK, but it's the unfussy Japanese interior that reveals a design tailored to this multicultural family.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The building's shape and materials are the sort you find in a modernist residence in the UK, but it's the unfussy Japanese interior that reveals a design tailored to this multicultural family. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Kiku leans on the “dai koku bashira” as Mika looks on from a barstool from department store John Lewis.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Kiku leans on the “dai koku bashira” as Mika looks on from a barstool from department store John Lewis. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The family sits around, and under in the case of four-year-old Kaz’ma, the sunken table for a snack. Makiko made the covers of the mats her mother sent from Japan by hand. The black lamp is from Ikea.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The family sits around, and under in the case of four-year-old Kaz’ma, the sunken table for a snack. Makiko made the covers of the mats her mother sent from Japan by hand. The black lamp is from Ikea. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Gaffney and Kiku take in the air from the large sliding door bought from Timber Tech Scotland.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Gaffney and Kiku take in the air from the large sliding door bought from Timber Tech Scotland. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The framed aluminum of the corner window by Natralight breaks up the roof of recycled slate tiles, which is entirely of a piece with the roofs around it. The Scottish oak cladding comes from Abbey Timber and the black aluminum cladding from MSP Scotland.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The framed aluminum of the corner window by Natralight breaks up the roof of recycled slate tiles, which is entirely of a piece with the roofs around it. The Scottish oak cladding comes from Abbey Timber and the black aluminum cladding from MSP Scotland. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  A late-1950s set of sofa and chairs inherited from Gaffney’s granny warm up the living room, as do the stove from Charnwood and the coffee table the couple bought from Habitat for their first flat.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    A late-1950s set of sofa and chairs inherited from Gaffney’s granny warm up the living room, as do the stove from Charnwood and the coffee table the couple bought from Habitat for their first flat. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The tatami room has mats from the Futon Company and a “Hinamatsuri” mobile adds a cheery touch.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The tatami room has mats from the Futon Company and a “Hinamatsuri” mobile adds a cheery touch. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The tatami room (pictured) has mats from the Futon Company and a “Hinamatsuri” mobile adds a cheery touch.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The tatami room (pictured) has mats from the Futon Company and a “Hinamatsuri” mobile adds a cheery touch. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The kids make all the fun they need in their bedroom. Their bunk beds and shelving were bought at Ikea.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The kids make all the fun they need in their bedroom. Their bunk beds and shelving were bought at Ikea. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The nuri-en (an exterior overhang) is one of the few Japanese touches on the home's exterior. Paired with the continuation of the interior floor right out into the backyard, the home opens up to the outside quite nicely.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The nuri-en (an exterior overhang) is one of the few Japanese touches on the home's exterior. Paired with the continuation of the interior floor right out into the backyard, the home opens up to the outside quite nicely. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Though most of the home's interior comes without a splashy designer's name attached, the bathroom is kitted out with a toilet, sink, and bath/shower from Jasper Morrison's line for Ideal Standard. The cabinets are from an Ikea kitchen system.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Though most of the home's interior comes without a splashy designer's name attached, the bathroom is kitted out with a toilet, sink, and bath/shower from Jasper Morrison's line for Ideal Standard. The cabinets are from an Ikea kitchen system. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Konishi and Gaffney's bedroom is fairly austere, though a pair of dormers let in lovely natural light.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Konishi and Gaffney's bedroom is fairly austere, though a pair of dormers let in lovely natural light. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Kaz-ma holds up the charred post while the rest of the family attends to affairs at the sunken table.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Kaz-ma holds up the charred post while the rest of the family attends to affairs at the sunken table. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  A beloved Japanese tradition is to char exterior cladding to make it fire resistant. Here, the effect on the front door is likely more aesthetic than preventative—though you can never be too careful.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    A beloved Japanese tradition is to char exterior cladding to make it fire resistant. Here, the effect on the front door is likely more aesthetic than preventative—though you can never be too careful. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Though the lane on which the Japanese House sits is off the main street, a rock wall affords the small yard quite a bit of privacy. It also nicely frames the second floor of the house from street level. Have a look at the traditional architecture nearby in the reflection in the corner window.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Though the lane on which the Japanese House sits is off the main street, a rock wall affords the small yard quite a bit of privacy. It also nicely frames the second floor of the house from street level. Have a look at the traditional architecture nearby in the reflection in the corner window. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  This collection of Japanese dolls adds a splash of color to the serene tatami room.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    This collection of Japanese dolls adds a splash of color to the serene tatami room. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Mika, Kiku, and Kaz'ma play in the tatami room beneath the big skylight. The cushions on the floor were sent from Japan by the childrens's grandmother. The tatami mats were actually purchased in the UK from the Futon Company. Gaffney notes that they're not the proper dimensions of Japanese tatami mats, but they were much less expensive than importing the real thing.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Mika, Kiku, and Kaz'ma play in the tatami room beneath the big skylight. The cushions on the floor were sent from Japan by the childrens's grandmother. The tatami mats were actually purchased in the UK from the Futon Company. Gaffney notes that they're not the proper dimensions of Japanese tatami mats, but they were much less expensive than importing the real thing. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Here you can see down the lane back toward the main street. The Portobello neighborhood in Edinburgh used to be something of a pleasure center with lots of amusement and activity along the Firth of Forth, a waterway just blocks from the house. It's near enough that Gaffney and his kayak wander over and get into it as often as they can.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Here you can see down the lane back toward the main street. The Portobello neighborhood in Edinburgh used to be something of a pleasure center with lots of amusement and activity along the Firth of Forth, a waterway just blocks from the house. It's near enough that Gaffney and his kayak wander over and get into it as often as they can. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Gaffney's cousin lives in the house just in front. To give a bit of perspective, this photo was likely taken just feet in front of the waist-high wall that runs between the two houses's yards.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    Gaffney's cousin lives in the house just in front. To give a bit of perspective, this photo was likely taken just feet in front of the waist-high wall that runs between the two houses's yards. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  The spatial drama on the interior comes from the staircase and tatami room upstairs. The daffodil pendant overlooking it all is from Ikea. The butterfly stool is by Sori Yanagi and was a birthday present from Konishi to Gaffney.  Photo by Ben Anders.
    The spatial drama on the interior comes from the staircase and tatami room upstairs. The daffodil pendant overlooking it all is from Ikea. The butterfly stool is by Sori Yanagi and was a birthday present from Konishi to Gaffney. Photo by Ben Anders.
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  Konishi and Mika play a string game in the tatami room under a skylight meant for moon gazing.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!   Photo by Ben Anders.
    Konishi and Mika play a string game in the tatami room under a skylight meant for moon gazing.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

    Photo by Ben Anders.

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