- Lead Designer: Takeshi Shima
- Painting: Nuri labo+, Fuminori Kudo
- Plants: tan, Kaoru Enomoto, tan
- Country: Japan
Text description provided by the architects. This project was a renovation of an atmospheric vintage apartment in the Magome neighborhood of Tokyo. The owners are a married couple working for a furniture maker. We changed the original two-bedroom layout to a light-filled one-bedroom with living room, dining area, and kitchen. The clients’ requests were simple: good light, a large living room, and minimal use of colors. Working with the limitations of a 55-square-meter apartment, our intention while conceiving this design was to add richness and depth to the space. We focused on the following four elements:
Our concept for the living room centered on creating the atmosphere of an outdoor “terrace” space inside a metropolitan Tokyo apartment. Up against the limitations of a small floor plan, we took a risk and added a protrusion into the empty space. The interior terrace doesn’t limit the functionality of the room. It opens up the area and adds an enriching “margin” to the room, creating a beneficial sense of distance between people within the space.
Integrating the bedroom, study, and storage spaces into a single room at the core of the apartment, we added depth to the apartment while making economical use of floor space. The design and materials incorporate a sense of “comfortable confinement” similar to a downtown hotel.
Horizontal Windows’ Charm
The apartment’s horizontal windows, which are rare in today’s housing complexes, have a unique charm that we wanted to emphasize. We drew in ample natural light and made the room feel more spacious by taking advantage of the windows’ shape and orientation in our new floor plan.
The new layout gives the feeling of light entering from far back in the space. Creating a corridor that dared to cast shadows emphasized the expansiveness of the living room. The balance of light and shadow adds depth and flexibility to the space.
These four elements were integrated through a minimal approach to colors, which was also in line with the client’s request. The oak flooring is dyed gray. All fixtures are custom-made with gray MDF, and the walls are painted with textured paint from Haymes paint.
The design is accented with a dull glow from the window sashes and stainless steel in the kitchen. Exposing the raw skeleton of the apartment could create a cold and unwelcoming atmosphere, but the subtle warmth of gray materials and painted surfaces draws out the richness originally present in the apartment’s bones. The client’s tasteful furniture selection and bold house plants adds power to the spaces. While the apartment’s ambience is undeniably urban, it also invites people to pass their time in the space relaxed and unhurried.