Small Box Home with Black Metal Facade in Japan

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December 7, 2009

Drawing on an inherited plot of land, his father’s steel company, and his brother-in-law’s architectural know-how, Motoshi Yatabe’s new house is all in the family.

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  The black facade of the Yatabes’ house may turn a darkly futuristic face to its suburban block, but behind it the house is full of light. In Saitama, a tightly packed neighborhood near Tokyo, the black metal screen affords the family privacy without sacrificing outdoor space.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The black facade of the Yatabes’ house may turn a darkly futuristic face to its suburban block, but behind it the house is full of light. In Saitama, a tightly packed neighborhood near Tokyo, the black metal screen affords the family privacy without sacrificing outdoor space.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Local stonemasonry, displayed across the street from the house.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Local stonemasonry, displayed across the street from the house.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Slotted between the street-side enclosure and the living area is a breezy second-floor terrace. Brise soleil slats shade the interior. Yatabe’s steel fabrication company created the robust, trusslike armature that extends from the house to support the deck and facade.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Slotted between the street-side enclosure and the living area is a breezy second-floor terrace. Brise soleil slats shade the interior. Yatabe’s steel fabrication company created the robust, trusslike armature that extends from the house to support the deck and facade.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Green tea and a sweet for a guest.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Green tea and a sweet for a guest.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Plants thrive on the sheltered terrace.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Plants thrive on the sheltered terrace.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The family’s two cats, Baron and Jula.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The family’s two cats, Baron and Jula.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Called the “LDK,” for living, dining, and kitchen, the space is flexible—a blend of Western loft life and traditional Japanese homes, where rooms are multipurpose.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Called the “LDK,” for living, dining, and kitchen, the space is flexible—a blend of Western loft life and traditional Japanese homes, where rooms are multipurpose.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The family's hub is a high-ceilinged main room on the second level. It's open and casual and gets lovely morning light.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The family's hub is a high-ceilinged main room on the second level. It's open and casual and gets lovely morning light.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  A pint-size "work-station" for the boys on the third floor overlooks the garden.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    A pint-size "work-station" for the boys on the third floor overlooks the garden.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  White prefabricated cabinets and countertops make for a streamlined kitchen.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    White prefabricated cabinets and countertops make for a streamlined kitchen.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The house offers endless opportunities for Taiga and Kouga to play.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The house offers endless opportunities for Taiga and Kouga to play.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The open-tread stair leading from the garage to the second-floor living room sets the stage for a Star Wars–style duel.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The open-tread stair leading from the garage to the second-floor living room sets the stage for a Star Wars–style duel.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Neatly ordered desktop ephemera.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Neatly ordered desktop ephemera.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  “Everyone stops to look at the building,” says Motoshi. Neighbors may stare at the severe facade, but once inside they are amazed with the quality and comfort of his home. Its efficient design comes from IDEA Office’s clever rethink of local zoning regulations and required setbacks.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    “Everyone stops to look at the building,” says Motoshi. Neighbors may stare at the severe facade, but once inside they are amazed with the quality and comfort of his home. Its efficient design comes from IDEA Office’s clever rethink of local zoning regulations and required setbacks.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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