Saturday, February 27, 2010

Putting the Design to the Test.

For all the pretty designs we've seen in the numerous magazines, the question that keeps popping up is : "Does the design stand the test of time?"

Fortunately, our friends (family of 6) who rent a 5 year-old home in Suginami were kind enough to give us a tour of their home. The location is 50 meters from Zenpukuji Park (sort of a mini-Inokashira park) and has great southern exposure. The house has 3 floors plus a basement for total usable space of 161sqm.

The home is put on display by the design firm NatureDecor at link below:

Thumbs Up:
The home definitely has a lot of charm:
- Sunken living room with side-angled skylights makes this room the centerpiece of the home. It certainly gives it a WOW factor.
- Walls were made of a mixture of mortar some fibrous material giving a lot of texture the rooms.
- A lot of attention paid to the lighting, exposed beams, artistic hand-rails and nooks for decorative pieces.
- Lots of STORAGE.

Lessons Learned:
  • Basements give you lots of extra space but drainage can be an issue as you need to turn on a pump when it rains. As well, there's the humidity factor. Our friends have 3 or so running during the summer wet season.
  • Beautiful living room, but it does not get used that much as people are usually in the computer/media area, or in the dining room. Some food for thought.
  • How do you clean textured walls? They are pretty but how do you clean water condensation stains?
  • Make sure your builder is nearby and ready to fix things like windows that are improperly installed (e.g. have gaps).
  • Heating: Heated floors don't heat up a room. They feel nice when you're standing over them but we had our fleeces on all evening. Note to self: look into baseboards.
  • Transparent stairs give a sense of more space but you also lose a storage area.
  • Japanese Top loading dishwashers are useless. You can barely fit enough and you need to stack the washers trays on top of each other.
So we learned an awful lot on this "Live the Design" tour, and the above are just off the top of my head.

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