Before we get into this next tour, I want to give a big thank-you to Audible for sponsoring this post. Living tiny and constantly traveling makes it pretty hard for me to indulge in my love of books and reading but audible allows me to download and travel with a huge range of audio books and lots of other audio media which is perfect for those long hours driving or on public transport. At the moment I’m listening to ‘Minimalism – Live a Meaningful Life’ by The Minimalists. Minimalism is something which helps me to keep my life simple and focused on the things which are truly important to me. This book offers some really great tips and advice and I strongly recommend you check it out.
Jaw-Dropping Traditional Small Japanese Home Renovation Photo Gallery
If you sign up to Audible using my unique link in this post, you’re able to download this book or any other title of you like for free as part of their 30 day trial. Even if you decide not to continue with your membership the audio book is yours to keep for life. Head over to Audible.com/livingbig to take a look, or follow the link in the description of this post. After visiting his incredible mountain cottage, when I found out that Daigo had also been renovating a small house here in the village I had to check it out. So, let’s go take a look! B: Good Morning Daigo! D: Good Morning! B: Nice to see you again, and this here is the new project isn’t it? D: Yes B: Can you tell me a little bit about the history of this place? D:About 80 years ago, it’s an old Udo house, it was for raising raw silk worms. So, people didn’t live here, it’s for worms.
So 100 or 200 worms lived here, but now I’ve renovated this one. VO: This home has been beautifully renovated, keeping as many of the original elements as possible. In traditional Japanese style, the home is wooden framed with earthen walls and even keeps it’s original charred cedar cladding. B: Well, I’m really excited to take a look inside, can we take a peak? D:Yeah. B: Alright! This is beautiful! D:Thank-you. B: I absolutely love the materials this home is made from. These hefty wooden beams, the natural materials and textures, this is wonderful! And you can see a lot of Japanese influence in it’s design but it’s not necessarily traditional Japanese style, is it? You’ve definitely given this your own flavour.
D: I wondered if I should change from old to new. The balance is very very difficult. But most of them are original. Wall is original, floor is original and of course structure is original but the items are new, system is new. So I think it’s very nice, good balance at this house. B: This kitchen, is very impressive, I really love this bit of wood! D: I bought the whole wood from my friend. It’s very cheap, about 5000 yen.
It’s size is 80cm (2.5ft) and length is 4m (13ft) and I cut so this wood and this wood and this wood is all the same, same wood. B: Wow! D: Very cheap. B: Super cheap, so 5000 yen, we’re maybe talking about 50 USD, something like that? D:Yes B: And again, like in the cottage you’ve just used very simple butane burners for your cooking. D: It’s contemporary but very useful and very slim and stylish. This is from music room in old elementary school, yeah, I used this. This chair is from library of elementary school.
B: That is wonderful, I just love it when people find these little treasures and give them a new life in their home. D: It was very dirty so I rubbed and put oil, it takes time but it changed, the material starts new life. B: I think in cases like this all that extra work is really worth it, isn’t it? D: Yeah. B: I really like as well, how this whole downstairs area just looks out onto that lovely little garden that you’ve created there. D: Thank-you. B: And the style, again, it’s so simple, very low maintenance, but doesn’t it look wonderful? D: Yeah. I used stones and the colour is white and grey because the house is very dark, the window of south is very small, so it is difficult to get sunshine so I used bright coloured stones so it reflects and the room becomes very bright.
B: And what are these rooms over here? D: This door is bathroom and toilet. I picked up at the river this wood. B: Really nice. D: Yeah this room is bathroom and washroom. B: This is lovely, look at that! A very big shower, bath area and again, all of that wood and the grain in the wood just jumps out at you, aye? D: Yeah B: And what’s this one next door? D: This is toilet. B: Ah, the toilet. And I really like the little space saving features that I often see build into toilets in Japan like this one, obviously whenever you flush it the water comes out so you can wash your hands in the top.
Really, really great idea. D: Yeah, very compact. B: And shall we have a look upstairs? D: Yes! B: Again this place is just like a celebration of wood and wonderful materials. And the design is so simple but everything seems to be perfectly in it’s place doesn’t it? D: Thank-you! Here is sleeping place. The size is perfect for a family and couples. B: It’s wonderful as well how you have the fire, the chimney goes right the way up so it still allows all of the heat to come up and radiate throughout this upstairs area too. D: Yes.
When we’re sleeping it’s very warm. B: So in total, how long has this project taken you to get to this stage? D: Ah, it look one and a half years. The house was quite different before I renovated it. Everything was very, very dirty. The floor, I took away and wash by water and paint, and paint, yeah it took a very long time. If I buy new materials, new woods, I couldn’t leave atmosphere like this. I wanted to renovate but I don’t change the atmosphere because the space has history and culture and 80 years of atmosphere.
B: And how much did this project cost? D: It cost 3 million yen because I used old woods, I didn’t buy material of wood. B: 3 million yen then is the total cost? D: Yes. B: That is crazy! That is really hard to believe! VO: In contrast to the high cost of housing in big Japanese cities such as Tokyo, in rural Japan you’re able to find old homes such as this one for unbelievably low prices. They take a bit of work to restore but the end result is undeniably worth the effort. B: Daigo, this home is really exciting for me to visit. You have done such a wonderful job of bringing together this wonderful, traditional style home but giving it so much modern flare and character. Congratulations on an incredible project! D: Thank-you B: Thank-you! Daigo has taken a wonderful, old, historic building and given it a brand new lease of life with this wonderful almost modern flare.