The intention is to create an inspiring retreat that feels like home, a unique space that awakens one's senses.
The streetscapes and landscapes of Kyoto first caught our attention, but it is the city's never-ending layers of surprises that had us completely in love. Something about this city awakens your physical senses, and leads you on a journey to explore your inner world.
The city's dedication to the creation of beauty and perfection, opens our foreign eyes to a simple yet meaningful way of life.
With this in mind we sought out to offer this experience for our guests, hoping to inspire a lifestyle and mindset.
To achieve this vision, we searched for a Japanese traditional house that is away from the swarms of tourists but close enough to easily explore the city. As newbies in town, our search result was negative. We stumbled across an article on Dezeen showcasing a house that architect Shigenori Uoya's renovated, and knew instantly that we wanted to work with him. With no property, no agent and no funding, we approached the architect. He welcomed us warmly and introduced us to their team and a supportive community. Everything else quickly fell in place, and this property came into our lives.
The moment we walked in, we noticed the sunlight that flooded the house.
Many Japanese townhomes are dark and a bit gloomy, so we felt that this natural feature is rare and critical to the project's success. The property needed a lot of work, but it had unique characters and the potential was undeniable.
We aim to capture the house's original character, and not change for the sake of change. Spaces are repurposed only for functional needs, evolving the house into a comfortable home equipped with modern luxuries for the modern generation.
Before and Afters
A sleek new kitchen island is brought to this sun-bathed room where guests can mingle, work, cook and sip on a cup of tea.
The entry wall was also demolished and replaced with a grid screen to create an open flow into the house.
This custom kitchen island is Fuki-urushi, a 9000 year old lacquering technique that brings out the natural beauty of wood grain, while protecting it from moist and mold. It is one of the most durable natural lacquers in the world.
The old gallery kitchen is repurposed into a luxurious bathroom that looks out into the garden's Maple Tree. Tone on tone textures to create a formless, soundless integrity to this minimal relaxation space.
The bathtub is Shigaraki-yaki (信楽焼) handcrafted by ceramic artisans in Shigaraki area.
Most of the original elements in the living room is kept intact, restored with some updates to freshen up the space. The patio space was cluttered with mechanics and storage and is now a beautiful garden bringing light and focus to the living room.
The garden features a Sakura tree and Maple tree that highlights the seasons in Kyoto.
The centerpiece artwork is a commissioned piece by a young, local fabric-dye artist.
He uses traditional Japanese fabric dying methods to mimic expressive brushstrokes.
Artwork: Nakajima Takeshi 中嶋 健
Genkan is a Japanese entry area where shoes are taken off.
We have enlarged it to accommodate luggages or rental bikes.
A minimal yet dramatic floral installation welcomes our guests.
Ikebana by maestro
Machiyas usually have stairs with a steep slope with storage underneath to secure more room.
The old stairs are replaced with an open staircase. With the addition of a skylight in the roof, the house is flooded with natural light during the day.
The Master Bedroom's main update is replacing old tatamis for wood floors, and upgrading windows.
The focal bonsai artwork is dramatic and masculine, facing a delicate and feminine display on the oppossite wall like yin and yang.
A closet on one side is removed to make way for a larger guest bedroom.
Updated with fresh new tatamis, shoji and windows, this room is versatile and can be used as a hangout, wellness or sleeping space.