This is the final chapter in the walkthrough of the house. There are a few other small things that will no doubt appear in future posts but I think we’ve covered the main elements throughout this series. I hope it has been interesting to read about!
For this entry, I’m collating together what I might call the “connected” outside spaces. What I mean by that is the balcony, wood deck and roof terrace. Although we will have a garden at some stage, we currently have no idea what it is going to look like or whether there will be enough funds left in the budget to complete it soon after finishing the house itself. It’s likely something that we will have to come back to months (years?) after finishing the building. I’ll be sure to write a blog about it at some point!
As for the wood deck, it is a kind of L-shape surrounding the master bedroom and the study, wrapping around the North West corner of the house. It will be about 1.5 meters deep which should allow for a couple of outside chairs and a small table. In one of the meetings we talked about putting some hooks up for a hammock underneath the sloped roof. I’m not sure if that is still on the cards, though to be honest, if I can’t start shifting some of this Christmas excess, I’d end up pulling the whole house down if I tried to get into a hammock.
|The wood deck|
I’m not sure yet exactly what function this deck is going to perform but we both really liked it in the model house that we saw. Being able to transition between rooms via a covered outside walkway is kind of cool and it’s nice to be able to sit outside looking at the garden with a cup of coffee. We also like the idea of a gentle transition between the indoors and outdoors which is found in some traditional Japanese homes. I remember walking on such a deck in one of the old houses in Kyoto and enjoying the feeling of wood on shoeless feet whilst looking at the garden. Hopefully we can recreate something similar.
Upstairs, there is a large balcony (4mx2.3m) connected to the living room by a really cool custom-made sliding door. Again, we saw this in the model house and it really adds to the light and space, making the living room itself feel much bigger. Since the doors open to be completely hidden in the wall, again there is this neat connection between inside and outside.
The most important thing for this balcony is that it can be used for something practical. Most Japanese balconies are small and used only for drying washing. However, at around 10m2 ours is big enough for a table and chairs so we will probably endeavor to have dinner out here when the weather is nice (and the mosquitos are on holiday). Its proximity to the kitchen should make this very practical. To the North West we will have mountain views over the road and we may even be able to see Osaka over the house to the West.
May be able to see Osaka? What do you mean may? Surely you know for certain and have planned this intricately?! Actually, no. The reason we haven’t put huge amounts of thoughts into the geometry of the views from this balcony (other than situating it in the best possible position for the view to the North West) is that our house has a really interesting and rather unique feature - a roof terrace!
The roof terrace sits about 7 meters above the foundations and is accessed via a continuation of the stairwell from the living room, almost like an additional floor. Like the balcony, it measures about 10m2 and will give 180 degree views of the surrounding landscape. This was really important to us as one of the most impressive things about where we have decided to live is its location, on the side of a mountain. From the roof terrace, we will be able to look out over the house in front to see the vast expanse of Osaka city to the West and the mountains to the north. On a clear day, it is possible to Kobe 50km to the west.
|The roof terrace from above|
|Where the roof terrace sits|
The intention is to have some comfortable seating and a small table or two up there so that we can enjoy watching the sunsets with a drink and some snacks. Since the weather in Japan almost always comes from West to East, another advantage is that we should be able to get a live weather forecast at any time just by heading up there and looking into the distance!
Most importantly, the roof terrace gives us security for the future. As I mentioned, one of the best things about where we have chosen to live is the view and this roof terrace protects that. The house to the west is old (and seemingly unoccupied) so we have no idea how long we have until someone decides to knock it down and build something new. Though there are protections about sunlight and proximity, there are no protections for a view so it’s possible that a new full-height building could block some of our view on the upstairs floor. It is true that the foundations of that house are a few meters lower than ours so they cannot build a house as tall as ours but having a roof terrace mitigated a good deal more of that risk and so we decided to go ahead with it. We cannot wait to stand up there for the first time and take in the view!
That about wraps up this series. From now on, we’ll mostly be featuring photos and updates on the development (which as I mentioned last time has now started) as well as any other interesting stuff that comes up. For those that have been following so far, thank you so much for doing so. We’re looking forward to sharing the next stage with you and showing you some real-life progress. Stay tuned!
|Our lovely house!|