This Japanese House: The Living Room

I know, I know. Several months later, post teaser shots. The Japanese have a few things down like sliding doors, entry rooms, and small appliances. Otherwise, think utility. Think tight spaces and anti-flow. Think giant fluorescent overhead light fixtures. Think gadgets everywhere you look. Think low-budget suburbia.

When we arrived the rental house looked like this. The living area is open to the galley kitchen and check out those floral curtains to match the sweet ass mauve kitchen cabinets. Not at all what I'd expect from Japan. I know better now.

Nothing to get excited about here, it's just orange-brown pergo flooring in the living area and kitchen. It's darker brown (and slightly better) almost everywhere else, which makes no sense. But very little about my Japanese house makes sense to me.

Bringing two big dogs with us really limited our housing choices. My husband's staff found only four options and this was the one house NOT boxed in by other houses on all four sides. And when I say boxed in, I mean it. More on that later.

Anyway. This is the house we chose and I'm calling the living room done. For now.

It only took several hundred trips to Muji and a few sizable online orders from Yoyo Market for Ikea loot. The room is small and awkward just like most residential space in Japan. That's right, it's not all perfect design and simple modern/wabi-sabi living here like you see on blogs and in magazines. This room in particular feels modular, though it's not. Maybe because it completely lacks insulation. But it does have a pitched ceiling, and for that I am grateful.

I spent most of the arctic winter in this one room, so I made it feel warmer (even if it wasn't) with textures. The Muji sofa also helped – we opted for the down cushions.

Sources: Muji coffee table, Oskar chair from Room & Board, faux fur throw from Restoration Hardware (covering the ugly kerosine heater in the corner), and the rug, sheepskin, floor lamp and pillow are from Ikea.

Window covering setup is all from Ikea, bar stools from Overstock. I pulled the rusty but solid old metal bookshelf from the scary outdoor shed – it's perfectly juxtaposed with the stupidly overpriced Bang & Olufsen telly, no?

The room has too many windows including two large exterior sliding glass doors. Light is not the worst thing to have in abundance but furniture placement is challenging. I did what I could, you can't ever have too much light. Or can you? Suggestions welcome.


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