Feast Your Eyes on Fashion Designer Josie Natori’s Japanese-Inspired Home

Feast Your Eyes on Fashion Designer Josie Natori’s Japanese-Inspired Home

By Michele Koh Morollo
Perched on a ledge of glacial rock in Westchester County, New York, this exposed-timber residence elegantly incorporates traditional Japanese architecture.

Designed by renowned Brooklyn-based practice Tsao & McKown Architects for their longtime clients, fashion and homeware designer Josie Natori and her husband Ken, this 2,900-square-foot residence in Pound Ridge, New York was constructed with a heavy, exposed-timber structure that was flamed to enhance and darken its wood grains.

Besides adding gravitas to the facade, the timber structure removes the need for interior walls, and helps create an open-plan living area that frames large garden and forest vistas.

The Natoris, especially Ken who is of Japanese descent, are big fans of traditional Japanese architecture, so Tsao & McKown included Japanese-style gardens and landscaping to the design.

Timber-framed verandas, including an entry veranda that leads to a Zen-like garden and old-growth pine forests beyond, seamlessly connect the indoor living spaces to nature outdoors. 

Stones excavated from the site were placed around the garden, and the bedroom was designed with a private enclosure with an antique foundry stone water fountain. 

Sliding glass walls were used along all the verandas and terraces, as well as the indoor-outdoor bath area.

The rhythmic effects of the timber beams give the interiors a calming, contemplative feel.

Within, two large trapezoidal skylights are carved out of the flat roof, their sloping asymmetry making the best of the seasonal shifts of the sun.

Wooden slats bring privacy to certain parts of the house, and encourage an atmospheric play of light and shadow.

In the living area and bedrooms, clean-lined, slender bronze chimneys hang down the ceilings over contemporary granite slab hearths, which recall the stone outcroppings adjacent to the house.

A color scheme of earthy browns and beiges with contrasting accents of deep purples, orange, and chartreuse helps the interiors harmonize with the dwelling's natural surroundings.

Japanese antiques like an isho-dansu credenza and historical sliding screen headboards from the Natoris' personal collection were incorporated into the décor, which also includes midcentury modern pieces from George Nakashima and Nanna Ditzel.

Tsao & McKown custom-designed the chairs, banquettes, sofas, a resin top dining table on thin bronze legs, and a low daybed in the bedroom lounge area that can be raised and transformed into a massage table. 

Project Credits: 

Architecture, interior, and landscape design: Tsao & McKown Architects

Builders: Prutting & Company 

Structural engineer: Robert Silman Associates

Civil engineer: M/E/P - CES Engineers

Lighting consultant: WALD Studio 

Geotechnical engineers: Geodesign Inc.

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