Location: Ueda Nagano, Japan
Architect: Case Design Studio
Size: 1,000 square feet
With its sharp angles and dark charred timber and natural pine exterior, this home in central Japan (120 miles northwest of Tokyo) sits in stark contrast to its rural surroundings in Ueda, a small agricultural town still dominated by orchards and crop fields.
It's built on the site of a former peach and pear orchard, and the connection to the great outdoors is reinforced by a lush garden and sunken terrace that leads to an indoor-outdoor dining room on the second floor.
Sliding doors at the entrance open up to a central living room and kitchen, lit by a long horizontal window that spans the entire length of the home, providing sweeping views of a verdant landscape densely planted with fruit trees.
The window's narrow width emphasizes the horizontal lines of the structure, and despite its slim construction and modest square footage, the space never feels cramped. Upstairs, a bedroom and office are divided by an airy, glass-walled atrium that looks down onto the living space below. The upper loft—which, from the exterior, looks like a yellow floating cube—can also be reached from the second floor, accessible via a hidden staircase tucked behind a wall.
Ample use of glass throughout allows natural light to flood the interior, and wall cut-outs in the upstairs study maintain an easy flow through the floor plan. Built-in extras like the discreet fireplace in the indoor-outdoor dining area lend a sense of luxury to the minimally appointed rooms. Decorative flourishes are kept simple and sophisticated, like the pair of matching ivory butterfly chairs on the second floor and the single wooden vase that sits on the long ledge of the window panels.
—Blair Pfander, follow her at @blairpfander
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