Be it a Hobbit house in The Shire or an Enid Blyton-style treehouse, we've all dreamt of living in a fairytale house. Too often, we've given up on those whimsical fancies, dismissing them as impractical, or simply as fantasies. Now, don't get us wrong—recreating The Shire in our urban landscapes is, in all likelihood, profoundly impractical. But no-one said you couldn't take elements out of your dream fairytale house and recreate those, did they?
The house we are exploring today is by no means a magical home straight out of a fairytale. It abides by the Scandinavian principle of combining form with function and the Japanese aesthetics of simplicity, shorn of all pretences. Yet, in incorporating certain magical features, the house designed by Alts Design Office evokes a sense of tranquil wonder. Piqued your curiosity, didn't we?
The architects designed the house to be an open-concept one, where each area has its own perimeters while being able to serve as a communal space where family members can feel the presence of each other. The ceiling does not entirely cut off the first level from the mezzanine.
One of the key features of the house, and Japanese design, is its abundance of natural light. Plus, internal walls are minimised in order to create an organic flow between the interior and the exterior. Retaining only the essential furnishings helps create a space that is not cramped, and allows the wood and the white surfaces to reflect and bounce off natural light.
Would you check out those quaint arched doorways? Features such as these add a certain flair to an otherwise unassuming home. Here again you can see how the white surfaces and big windows team up to make the living space a lot brighter and consequently, more inviting. Through the use of basic materials like wood, a calm and peaceful life is promoted.
Scandinavian elements can be found in the kitchen where a stark white island (offset only by the wooden base) takes centre stage, and sleek, modern fittings are used. The only 'traditional' element here are the brick walls, which have also been painted white, in order to maintain consistency.
Traditionally, a Tsukubai is a hand-wash basin provided at the entrance of Japanese households (also a common feature in other Asian countries) for guests to rinse their hands and mouths. Typically made of stone, the tsukubai usually has fascinating inscriptions in kanji. The architects applied that general idea here and incorporated a pared-down wash basin at the entrance where guests can freshen up quickly before entering the house.
From this angle, you can also see the gentle curve of the living room wall and ceiling!
The closest you can come to getting a treehouse in a sprawling urban landscape is to create a mezzanine like this! The curved, protruding wall props up the lower wooden panel while the simple, thin white and wood balustrade opens up the space to the lower level. This, combined with those little arched doorways and windows, creates a charming space that is at once modern in its design while traditional in its appeal. If you want to figure out the logistics behind creating arched doorways like these, speak to our experts who can guide you through the process.
The living room, adjacent to the dining space and the open kitchen, is once again a testament to the focus of Japanese aesthetics on creating a space using natural materials, light and negative space to promote free-flowing energy. But notice how the furniture itself harks back to the Nordic style—clean lines and understated style with minimal ornamentation are the key features.
The space is also slightly elevated with a few steps leading up to it, which helps to demarcate it as a separate zone—another feature of Japanese design.
Normally, we start off our home explorations at homify by taking a closer look at the facade. You probably noticed we didn't do that this time around! We figured it was quite fitting, considering how intensely private the exteriors have been designed to be, in line with the owners' personal preferences. The white frame essentially shields the main structure while housing a garden in the courtyard. We must say though, it's no mean feat to put in measures that deliberately keep prying eyes away while simultaneously making it all look inviting and warm; a large part of this may be owing to the fact that the hobbit-house-like entrance is actually a double-height one!
If you want to continue looking at more amazing places, check out: The incredible 50 sqm apartment.