Japanese joinery is an interest of Höweler + Yoon. "One of my exercises is to have students make a Japanese joint. The idea is that a void can kind of become a lock or an intersection to fit two pieces together," says Meejin. "There's something very strong about certain wedge Japanese joints. The courtyard wasn't intended to look like one—it just happened."  Photo 7 of 11 in Secret Garden
Swipe for Next
To adhere to a limited budget, Höweler + Yoon used basic materials throughout—slate, concrete, wood, cement board—but splurged on a marble countertop in the kitchen. "Because the house and millwork was so neutral to room could take a bit more richness," says Yoon. From within the combined living/kitchen/dining area, one only sees the microcourtyard outside.  Photo 9 of 11 in Secret Garden
Swipe for Next
Yoon designed the house as a place where her parents could retire so she kept the living room, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom on one level. She added a walk-out basement that her parents can rent out or use for a live-in caretaker. The lot is much narrower than most parcels so the house is built almost flush with the property line. The roof rises at an angle of 10 degrees, which is house the project got its name.  Photo 8 of 11 in Secret Garden
Swipe for Next