Our house

Grand Designs is arguably my favourite tv show. I fondly remember sitting at home on a winter night to watch the show more than 15 years ago, and it still fills me with excitement.

The show is about people who go about making so-called grand designs, or take unorthodox approaches to building the houses they will live in. It’s beautifully presented and full of insights for people who like anything to do with architecture and design.

I’d always wanted to build my own house in a similar way, and you know what? Thats what I’m doing at the moment. Our house is being built using traditional Japanese techniques of piecing wood together intricately, but with all the modern necessities, namely insulation and airtightedness.

In terms of design, a few features that I wanted are being incorporated. In what is basically unheard of in Japan, we’re getting an en-suite. That’s standard in NZ, but can be hard to describe to Japanese people. We’re also having an extra tall lounge area (I’m not sure how to say this in English, fukinuke in Japanese, I guess I have to watch more grand designs).

A built-in garage with an electric shutter is not as rare as an en-suite, but still not very common. And our lounge will have a feature wall of cedar, much like the trees of Haguro. Our Japanese Tatami room will have a sunken table, so you don’t have to damage your knees to use it, and a low-lying window to look out over the garden that I intend to build.

Either way, I’m looking forward to moving in, which should be in the next few months, December apparently.

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

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