This 1960s artist’s retreat in southeastern Norway is divided into three sections, each connected by a series of outdoor galleries. “When I walk from one room to another, I have to go outdoors and feel the weather and nature—rain, cold, and sun,” says architect Irene Sævik. Instead of emphasizing the expansive panorama of oak, pine, and aspen trees, the house frames select views—a move inspired by Japanese design.
When architects Melissa and Jacob Brillhart set out to design their new home in downtown Miami, they drew inspiration from Florida modernism and the dogtrot model to create a tropical oasis in the city. The couple designed and built most of the home themselves, making it a truly personal haven. The home's shutter system creates a stunning interplay of light in the front patio space. At night, the shutters glow in the streetlight, "creating the sense of a magical Japanese tea house,” according to resident Melissa Brillhart.
Mies van der Rohe once said, "We must remember that everything depends on how we use a material." In this Palo Alto, CA, residence constructed from rammed earth, steel, and glass, and finished in white oak, ipe, and American walnut, architect Cass Calder Smith of CCS Architecture holds true to Mies' dictum. A traditional genkan (a Japanese entryway) was part of the architectural program early on. Shoes are removed before entering the main living space, which is elevated six inches above the floor level of the entryway. The blonde wood is rift-cut white oak.
A pair of Toronto boutique owners and their architects surpassed expectations for above-the-shop living with a renovation that celebrates clean design and serene space. In their bathroom, a Japanese hinoki bowl and stool from Mjölk sit next to a custom hinoki bathtub by Bartok Design in the tub room. (Hinoki is a Japanese cypress tree.)
In Portland, Oregon, a designer created this open, environmentally sensitive house for a client on a 5,000-square-foot lot. The resident did her own landscaping in the garden outside her house. The cedar fence was made with planks that were charred and sealed following the ancient Japanese shou sugi ban technique, which is supposed to make the wood resistant to fire, rot, and insects.
Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser has all he needs in his compact, 580-square-foot Hollywood abode. Custom shoji-inspired screens of designer and builder Funn Roberts’s design conceal the closet and extend to provide privacy for the adjacent shower and soaking tub.
Inspired by tansu chests and raw materials that show patina, a pair of Sydney-based architects renovated their own home—slowly. Like many traditional Japanese bathrooms, the architects clad almost every room entirely in wood.
For their family home in Brisbane, Australia, John and Cathy Dillon spent countless hours poring over design magazines and books to strike the right updated-mid-century-modern balance. "We drew heavily from the mid-century modern ethic in terms of house design and layout, but did not wish to replicate this era through furnishings and fixtures," says John Dillon. While the structural influences of this home by local architect Bud Brannigan range from the Case Study work of Pierre Koning and Craig Ellwood, and Australian architects Glenn Murcutt and Harry Seidler, the interiors are a mix of the residents' own personalities and histories, including a love of Japanese design and art collecting.
The home boasts a traditional Japanese genkan, an entryway that's a couple of steps down from the main level.
This pair of mobile studios in the U.K. connects artists, audience, and landscape. The charred timber used for the exterior was made utilizing a traditional Japanese technique. Since nobody in the U.K. was currently offering this kind of material, the architect and her team worked with the contractor to char 500 pieces of wood themselves during construction.