A White Box Family House With Unusual Connections Between Its Rooms

We were interested to see how a house can be designed to ensure privacy for its inhabitant without being completely cut out from the surroundings and the views. We found this family home in Tochigi, Japan which offered us a stylish answer to that question. The house was designed by studioLOOP in 2014 and has 103 square meters of living space inside.

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The house has a very simple design, with volumes that look like white cubes
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Privacy was an important consideration when designing the house hence the closed off walls
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The house only opens up to the south, featuring large windows facing the garden

There were two major elements that the project focused on. One was privacy and in order to ensure intimate ambiance and design that doesn’t exposes the spaces to the neighboring sites, the architects devised a way to have a practical organization of functions. They placed all the social and common areas on the ground floor and the private spaces were positioned upstairs.

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The ground floor is completely open to the outdoors on one side
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In contrast, the spaces upstairs are closed off with a solid wall

This distribution of the spaces allowed the architects to open up the ground floor to the garden. They gave this section of the house a glazed facade to the south which lets in lots of natural light and at the same time ensures a strong connection with the outdoors. As a result, the spaces feel open and spacious which was the second element the team had to focus on.

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The floor plan is open on the ground level, with a seamless connection to the outdoors
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Different spaces are delineated through different choices of materials
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The kitchen and dining area form a single space with wood parquet flooring and white walls

Openness and a privacy and well-balanced throughout the house. At the same time, the spaces feel large and open even though they’re not particularly spacious. It’s an impression given by the overall simplicity of the decor, the lack of unnecessary furniture and embellishments and the use of white as the main color for the walls, furniture and various other features.

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The areas upstairs have these low cutouts in the walls that connect them to the social area
The kitchen is placed to the side of the floor plan, with a peninsula serving as a divider

There’s also another particularly interesting detail about these spaces. It’s the way in which they’re all interconnected. The ground floor has an open floor plan so that’s a given but there’s also a connection between these spaces and those upstairs. This connection between the rooms is ensured through openings, doors, windows and even a series of unusual voids.

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The staircase area has a sculptural structure and skylights that bring light in
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One of the spaces upstairs is an office with minimalist custom furniture

An interesting example is the small home office which is one of the spaces upstairs. It has a wall-mounted desk which continues to the side and forms a shelf that hangs over a void in the wall through which the living area downstairs can be seen.

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There’s a void under the shelf which reveals a view to the ground floor living area
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Simplicity and openness define all the rooms in the house, bathrooms included