Monday, December 13, 2010

Chapter 33 – Peace and Harmony (Day 128)

So our builders got a call from one of our neighbors to the north of us and requested we install a privacy screen on the exterior of our family room window. For our own privacy reasons the window is already frosted glass but I guess they want something more permanent and want avoid us peering into their backyard. So what are our rights? A bit of research on the Japan Civil code and Article 235 states fairly clearly that a windows installed within 1 meter of property lines must have a privacy screen.

So for the sake of peace and harmony we’ll eventually put one up but we don’t want them to think that we’ll entertain their every desires. They had already asked the builders to not work on National holidays but since the project was a already running 2 weeks behind at the time….so for now we’ve told the architect to call them back and tell them “we’ll think about it and get back to them in January.”

Below are the latest photos of the kitchen-dining-living.


Below is the study with the built-in sofa bed. They still have to install the wall shelves.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chapter 32 – Walls, Stairs, Paint (Day 126)

We’re still on schedule for a mid-February move-in date but things seems to be moving a little slower these days, or at least uneventfully, which is good news by the way. So the posts have been a little spaced out since I figure people don’t want weekly posts of “we got the doors”, “the closet is built”, etc. But here’s a quick recap of the past 3 weeks:

November 23rd: Walls.
They’ve started putting the dry-wall in and our master bedroom is the first one to be completed as they wanted to get the recessed lighting nook built first. The dry-wall comes in boards which are screwed to the studs and I can’t imagine how much time this must have taken in the past to build without handy power tools.


While the interior is being worked on, a different contractor finished painting the exterior stucco walls which is a sandy color.


November 30th: Stairs
Now that the walls are done, the carpenters move to crafting the stairs which are made of white ash which is extremely sturdy.

The photo on the left are the stairs leading to the 2nd floor. One aspect I did not anticipate was how much light we’d get from above which is a nice surprise. Another surprise is how much space we’d have under them. You can almost fit a sofa under there but we figure it will be a great place for the cat’s scratching post and beds, as well as a nice small tree. The right photo are the stairs to the loft which I had concerns about being too steep. We created the platform to reduce the angle and you can comfortably go up and down without needing a ramp though we will install one for safety. Note that both stairs are skeleton stairs which allow for more natural light.
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December 11th: Paint Verification
So I think we’ve discovered the Japanese propensity to have white walls in most of their homes….because it’s a major pain in the neck to figure the coordination between flooring, furniture, drapes, etc. We spend about 6 weeks going back and forth on shades, accent colors that it felt like a major milestone once we finally decided a few weeks back, but we still needed to check the samples on larger pieces than just strips of color. So we requested larger boards from the paint maker and tested our selections in different light. Left are the colors of the family room (White ceiling with Blue-Grey, with a light neutral sandy) and right are the colors of the study (white ceiling with red-orange).

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There’s also the flooring and the beams to decide on and we will go with light pine finish for the floor and a clear finish for the beams which will became darker with age.IMG_0357