Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chapter 47–The Genkan ( Vestibule]

In the old place we rented the entry was typically a mountain of shoes, schools bags, coats, outdoor toys. Although, we still have the occasional shoe pile up, it’s definitely more manageable and we have plenty of storage for coats, miscellaneous items. Actually we have so much storage now that we’ve gotten away with not being the most organized.


As you can see, we typically leave out our daily footwear. I think we intended for them to be always out of sight, but practically speaking it’s simpler to create a little rack space for the most used shoes.


I still can’t figure out how to easily slip into my shoes the way the Japanese do, so we had a bench built, which gives us additional storage for toys, bags, picnic blankets. The de-cluttering process is also aided by the fact that the kids’ rooms are also on the first floor, so they have a “new” habit (instilled through copious parental nagging) of bringing their stuff straight into their rooms.

The sliding door has been useful in cutting down drafts.

Maybe one thing we’d re-think would be the color of the tiles. They are very light so dirt shows a little more easily. Not a huge deal but something to adjust to if you’re current place has darker tiles.


Under the storage units, we have a our cat door which our two cats, Cade and Ruby started to use almost immediately after we moved in. As you can see it gets a lot of use and one down side is that we’ve discovered we have a lot more animal life in the neighborhood than we thought, as both cats have been bringing us little gifts: birds, field mice, grasshoppers. Our two girls have been giving them a good talking-to and those events have reduced.


The low lighting was a nice little touch that was in our architect’s home, and it’s an elegant way to keep the genkan lit at a low cost. It also provides a little lighting for our bed room garden.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Chapter 46– 9 months later…

I wish I had a handy excuse such as being pregnant for being disconnected for the last few months, but I’ll just fess up and confess that I got a little lazy after reaching the major milestone of moving in.

Today Lara and I met a lovely couple and their kids who are off on their own adventure of building a home in the Tokyo area.  It’s great to see that my documented control-freak habits and panic attacks are actually useful for people. As we talked I felt nostalgic: Ah those feelings of “Wow that’s a big mortgage!”, “How will I get through all that paper work?”, “Where do I begin?”, “What if I mess up and I’m stuck with it till I’m 70?”, “I want to buy this plot now! and move no..must check if there’s something better…slow down”, etc. Yes stressful but looking back, plain old fun.


Now 9 months later, with hindsight the question is: Is there anything we would have done differently?”. For now I’ll answer that question at a macro level and zoom in to each area of the home over the next few weeks. I guess it’s report card time :)

Location: No regrets here. I still get weekly emails on properties in the area and in terms of location at the right price, I think we timed it perfectly.

Home Design: Our goal was to build a comfortable, functionally and energy efficient with good materials. We can go into the nit picky details a little later on. but very little that I would do over.

Garden: This is a hard one to rate, as our intention has always been to build over time and do it ourselves. Unfortunately our beautiful lawn died of some fungal disease which forced us into a redo of our front door landscaping. More on this later, but at this point we’ll have to wait until next spring for new grass.


So you’ll get all the grizzly details from the genkan to the loft in the next few weeks. Albeit on a tangent, tonight I roasted our first chicken in our Miele Convection oven/microwave and it was perfect!! All golden on all sides, with that beautiful and delicious crispy and salty skin crust. Yummmmm.


Feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment.