Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chapter 28 – Color me blind (Day 75)

Although we mostly agreed on the grade of the materials, one thing to note is that if you want a better selection of built-in furniture colors then you will need to add 15~20% to the original estimated cost.

Call me us picky but we felt we wanted an upgrade on the entrance cabinets and the master bedroom. Below are some of the sample boards provided to us by Sakamoto-san. The one on the far left was constructed by Sakamoto to show us the various coordinated color patterns for the house interior. We will of course have much more color in the house overall once we move on to paint selection but it will be heavily influenced by our choices at this stage of the process.


Our selections:


Slender(5色)Oscar zebra(Q色)

Master Bedroom:

Maestro plum(M色)

Kid’s room, most windows frames and doors,Utility Laundry room:

P色 ペール色

Study Area, :

P色 ペール色K色 ココア色

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chapter 27 – Plug and Play (Day 72)

So we’ve got walls now. Well at least plywood, so we have a better sense of the amount of natural light we are going to get. Below is a shot at around 4pm which is when it begins to get darker in the autumn. As the sun sets there is a gorgeous warm orange glow that fills the room. Near where my daughter is standing are the windows. Unfortunately, TOSTEM (home materials manufacturer) sent the wrong frame color. But schedule is still on target.


But about them electrical plugs. As I inspected (for the 100th time) the plans of the house, I came to the conclusion that 2 electrical outlets per room was just not going to cut it. There’s nothing like an extension cord to ruin the look of a room in my opinion. So we added 3 outlets on the first floor.

10-13-2010 10-10-42 PM

And 8 outlets on the 2nd Floor.

10-13-2010 10-20-57 PM

But if you think that’s where it ends, as the Cat in the Hat would say “But that is not all. Oh no that is not all.”….we had to consider the type of outlets such as these floor outlets for the open living room. We are also looking at pop-up outlets in the dining area.


Yes, probably extra spend. But you only want to do this once.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chapter 26 – Trust, Verify, Be inspired (Day 65)

This is probably annoying to the site workers, but we’re basically on site checking things out every other day. This is not so much to supervise but to get a sense of the space as we will need to get newer furniture and so it’s good to just stay in a space and see how light enters a room. Then there’s the factor that it’s just fun to see your creation built before your eyes.

Anyhow, in our latest visit, we noticed that the loft window was about 40cm lower than on the plans. As the picture below shows, it would essentially be blocked by our future LED TV. A good thing we noticed as it was just the frame for the window that had been set and we still have time and flexibility to rectify the matter.


But it occurred to us that a window above a TV does make that much more sense. How many have you looked out of a window behind the TV set? So we measured the area just to the right and figured it would fit nicely there with a nice plant.


Below are some of our notes and ideas we sent to Sakamoto-san.


So sometimes mishaps are good opportunities to re-think old ideas, so it’s important to go with the flow.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Chapter 25 – Let there be light (Day 58)

They say that lighting is one of the most cost effective ways to create ambience in a room. When doing the major design work we had generally agreed on the location and type of lighting to about a 90% degree of confidence. We figured we would be fine spending 500~1000$ if needed.

So here were are below with our saintly Sakamoto-san who had pre-booked a lightning consultant at the Odelic showroom. Just want to note here that these consultants are products experts not necessarily design experts. Although very knowledgeable she was really there to listen to us, answer questions and provide options. The nice thing here is that she’s not trying to push a product on you.


There are thousands of options, from tube lights, LED, incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, pendants, standing lamps, down lights, directional down lights, sensors, warm light, cool light, neutral/broad/narrow ranges. and we have not even started talking about style. Below is one change we wanted for our bedroom as we can’t stand bedrooms with the bright round fluorescent lamp in the middle of the room. We’ve opted for more indirect lighting which will also be adjustable.


In terms of other changes:

  • Added more Exterior lights with sensor near entrance and windows for safety.
  • Added LED lights in hallways nooks so they can be kept on almost all the time but consuming only 5% of energy. Added Down light in Hallway as well to highlight wall decorations.
  • Added 3 pendants over Kitchen Dining Counter. Added 3 pendants over Dining table.
  • Added lighting directed at ceiling in Living Room.

The damage has been an increase of about 1500$ in suggested retail price. I’m expecting a 50% discount, so it will come to about 750$ extra.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chapter 24 – Insulation (Day 55)

I have not forgotten about this blog, dear readers. As my favorite saying goes, Life just takes over. But it’s not like we’ve been sitting on our behinds and have grown complacent, and delegated everything to the site manager and architect. Trust but verify is my advice. You’ll understand a little why later.

Day 55 : Insulation: (Oct. 2)
Typical home in Japan is insulation in the roof is about 50mm thick. But since we are applying for Eco-points (which should make us eligible for up to 3500$ in refunds) we’ve tripled the thickness to 150mm. The material is a thick but light material like styro-foam but sturdier. It’s cut slightly larger than the shape of the space between the studs in order to create a tight seal. We’ve thought about the foamy spray, and cellulose fiber but it’s twice the cost. This should do fine and I believe has a low VOC factor.


With roof covered the skylights are more prominent and I’m very happy we added them or else this north side would have been darker than desired. These windows should be right above the dining area.