ISSHA House / House where light and wind flows

blue interior
Location:Nagoya, Japan

This time we are introducing a renovation plan for a 41-year old two-storey wooden house. The client is a couple in their 20s with a one-year-old child.

The building is located in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, a city abundant with public facilities such as train stations, post offices, and kindergartens, making it an ideal location for commuting, attending school and raising children. However, the original home was dark and weighty, having been renovated once already in the past.

The clients requested ‘a house where light and wind flows’, with ‘a relaxing living room where family members naturally congregate’. This led us to focus on maximising daylight, and providing a program that centred on the living room. At the same time, more utilitarian renovations were necessary, such as earthquake resistance and heat insulation, which worked towards our goal of a comfortable, safe and secure home.


Mapping movement and floor plans to make housework and everyday life easier

The existing house has a wash-dressing room and a bathroom next to the entrance, which created conflicting lines of movement – to access the washroom, you had to cut across the entrance. To solve this problem, we decided that being seen by those in the entrance when on your way to the bathroom was excusable, in order to pursue a floor plan that worked with the routine of ‘coming home’.

[Entrance] Remove shoes >

[Closet] Bags and coats >

[Washroom] Wash hands >

[Closet] Get Changed >

[Washroom] Deposit clothes into laundry basket

 Creating a natural flow line with the least amount of resistance leads to lower stress for family members who have already been drained of energy after the long work day. It also helps to reinforce beneficial actions for children, programming desirable habits that they will use every day as they grow up.


Utilities to make housework easier

In order to streamline the laundry routine, the washroom arrangement has been optimised, improving ventilation and making the chore more enjoyable. It’s quick and easy to move from the bathroom to the clothesline.

Even after the washing machine has stopped, laundry continues to consume time. By changing the floor plan and reducing the distance between the bathroom and the closet, dry laundry can be quickly stored away.

This process led us to consider the movement flow of laundry activities:

[Washroom] Laundry >

[Outside] Hanging clothes >

[Outside] Taking laundry down >

[Closet] Fold / Hang / Put away


Maximizing Natural Light

Due to past adjustments to the layout of the original house, lighting and ventilation was hindered on the west side of the building. In order to solve this, the size of the dining area was reduced, and the new space used to fill the building with light, and providing a space to hang laundry outside.

When something is added, something must be taken away. When something is augmented, something else must be sacrificed. This is only natural when doing renovations. This time, due to the importance of lighting and ventilation, some floor space has been sacrificed. However, this space has been ingeniously utilised as a space to dry laundry. It’s not only usable floor space that matters, but also the utility of the space. In this case, the sacrifice is more of an exchange – floor space to utility.


LDK renovation using the existing setup

In the existing house, the kitchen/dining area and the living room are separated, making it difficult to call a ‘gathering space’. This renovation allowed us to merge the two into a single space where inhabitants can cook whilst taking care of the children playing in the living room. Interaction and conversation is never restricted, whether it’s with the family or with guests when they come to visit. This LDK focuses on light, space and simplicity – a space where the family can congregate, relax and entertain visitors.

The existing elements of the room have been preserved and made into features – the original pillars have been emphasised and now add style and character.

Additionally, the space behind the kitchen has been repurposed as a walk-in pantry.

kitchen with walk-in pantry 

Appreciation of natural materials

At the customers’ request, paint and wallpaper made from solid or natural materials has been used to finish the interior. The ceiling is made of plywood fitted to solid wood. Natural materials help to create a cozy, relaxing space that benefits the health of children and the rest of the family.

Retro glass has been used for joinery and interior windows, iron was used for the window frames. The translucent nature of the glass allows soft light to seep through, casting rough shadows and creating a sense of connection between spaces whilst maintaining privacy.

Although relatively dark colours were preferred, accents of bright colour add a whimsical pop to the fittings and counters, and give a playful spark to an otherwise cool and sedated atmosphere.

house interior


The purpose of this renovation was to create ‘a space where time spent at home is most enjoyable’, both from a design and a practical standpoint. In terms of design, the turquoise blue is refreshing and suited to the house, especially when combined with savory wood and mortar-like natural wall materials, and the result is a relaxing and warm space.

In addition, the plan of the original house has been greatly changed by expanding the entrance, and adopting an earl opening. An adjustable skylight has been installed, allowing for varied levels of brightness and further maximising daylight in the building. In this renovation, we focused on creating a house that solves many common problems in most households, as well as making a space that can be enjoyed in every corner.


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