Small Space Live/Work Box Home in Japan

written by:
photos by:
November 1, 2010
Originally published in Live/Work
as
Flower Box

This flower shop, art gallery, and home for two looks like the simplest of cubes. Fitting it all into 1,115 square feet, however, prompted Japanese architect Makoto Tanijiri to think outside the box.

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  Yurika Ninomiya says good morning to busy central Nagoya from her third-floor bedroom while husband Takuya opens up the shop and gallery that they run below.
    Yurika Ninomiya says good morning to busy central Nagoya from her third-floor bedroom while husband Takuya opens up the shop and gallery that they run below.
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  Architect Makoto Tanijiri’s firm custom-designed most of the furniture in the building, including the steel-and-paulownia dining table.
    Architect Makoto Tanijiri’s firm custom-designed most of the furniture in the building, including the steel-and-paulownia dining table.
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  The western wall, folded like a paper screen to provide strength, adds another jolt of visual interest.
    The western wall, folded like a paper screen to provide strength, adds another jolt of visual interest.
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  Without a garden of their own, Takuya and Yurika enjoy the verdant view of the schoolyard cherry trees next door from their bedroom balcony.
    Without a garden of their own, Takuya and Yurika enjoy the verdant view of the schoolyard cherry trees next door from their bedroom balcony.
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  The structure is an elegant riff on the boxy apartments and school that surround it.
    The structure is an elegant riff on the boxy apartments and school that surround it.
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  Custom-made paulownia cabinets and a roomy balcony keep the compact second-floor living-dining-kitchen area from feeling cramped or cluttered.
    Custom-made paulownia cabinets and a roomy balcony keep the compact second-floor living-dining-kitchen area from feeling cramped or cluttered.
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  A steel spiral staircase efficiently links all three floors. With no interior doors, Yurika can keep an ear on the shop from upstairs while maintaining the privacy of her home with the help of the vertical distance.
    A steel spiral staircase efficiently links all three floors. With no interior doors, Yurika can keep an ear on the shop from upstairs while maintaining the privacy of her home with the help of the vertical distance.
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  The bedroom has a view of the cherry trees.
    The bedroom has a view of the cherry trees.
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  The bedroom and bath share a glass wall.
    The bedroom and bath share a glass wall.
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  Grown-up visitors have to hunch down to enter the teahouse and additional gallery space behind the building, but kids from the neighboring elementary school are able to slip right in to check out the art.
    Grown-up visitors have to hunch down to enter the teahouse and additional gallery space behind the building, but kids from the neighboring elementary school are able to slip right in to check out the art.
  • 
  The teahouse is lit by Isamu Noguchi’s classic mid-century Akari 1AS lamp.
    The teahouse is lit by Isamu Noguchi’s classic mid-century Akari 1AS lamp.
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