Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chapter 38 – Hang on to your hats! (T-minus 16)

Just as a follow-up to our unsettling moments where things don’t always appear as you envision. Sometimes it just takes a little faith and trust. In the first photo we thought the beams and ledges would have too much contrast with the staircase if we kept to our plan of clear varnish. Sakamoto-san assured us (though I could tell he could see our unease) that the varnish would bring more harmony . And he was right! Thankfully, we can close worry point #122.

photo photo(2)

Closing Fees:
Stepping away from the home design for a moment, I’ve been cutting it close with the required house registrations (hyoうji touki = 表示登記) which is a pre-requisite to receiving the 2nd portion of the loan and my house keys. The notary fee is 95,000yen so I was hoping to find a better deal, but I’ve found this point too late, so I’m going to need to suck it up in order to hit our deadline. Lesson #87, remember the closing fees for house. It doesn’t end with the land purchase, and give yourself enough time to shop around. With enough planning you can save yourself 20,000 yen.

Going Green:
Meanwhile Lara is hard at work on finalizing some of the exterior design. This is one area where we’ve decided to take in stages based on the advice of friend gardener. It’s much cheaper and less risky in many ways. But one thing we would like to be ready early on is our green wall. We saw this in our neighborhood and we thought it would be a great way to hide the old decaying facade of our neighbor’s building. Who wants to see hanging laundry on their way in?

green fence
This is one of the plans Lara is thinking about below:

Get ready for more updates. Probably sick of them but this gives you an idea of the pace at the end.

Most of the kitchen cabinetry has arrived, and partially installed. Can’t wait to see this unfurl.


Bathroom floor tiling, sink cabinets are done. One of double sink made it this morning. Like I said,”Hang on to your hats! It’s going to be an interesting sprint to the finish line. Oh and did I mentioning the packing, selling, disposing, giving away, etc :)



  1. This is a great blog and I love coming and watching your house come together, definately not sick of the updates. I hope to build in a year or so. I am living up in Fukushima ken.
    The beams and loft area look fantastic. What kitchen did you end up going for? And what did you use on the exteria of the house? Do you also have a sunlight in the loft? We just got a chirashi from ナカヤマ and they have amazing discounts. When purchasing all the goods did consider purchasing goods that were a few years or old stock?

  2. Hi Terry,
    Thanks for the good vibes.
    Our Kitchen is an Inax Granpiasse Luxe which we customized a little so we could attach our Miele appliances. It's a good compromise between a full custom kitchen and having to be stuck with the sub-par Japanese appliances.

    For Exterior, we went with stucco. Just seems more natural and ages fairly well.

    Not familiar with Nakayama. I would expect at least 50% off retail price off any model when you build your home for bathroom and kitchen. So for us it made more sense to go a grade up or two. You only want to do this one time :).

    In terms of purchasing old stock, didn't really cross our mind. Thought about antiques but that's more expensive. We did have friends who got a bathroom unit from a smaller maker and got a great deal. Ask your architect builder if there are any deals to be had.

    Come to think of it, our architect did provide samples of double pane windows with an insulating gas. But we stuck with Tostem.

    Don't skimp on the insulation!! But I'm not sure I believe the hype about that foam stuff.