The Very Small Home: Japanese Ideas for Living Well in Limited Space
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The Very Small Home: Japanese Ideas for Living Well in Limited Space

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The Very Small Home is an inspiring new book that surveys the creative design innovations of small houses in Japan. Eighteen recently built and unusual houses, from ultramodern to Japanese rustic, are presented in depth. Particular emphasis is given to what the author calls the "big idea" for each house-the thing that does the most to make the home feel more spacious than...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published February 3rd 2005 by Kodansha International
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Oct 08, 2007 Darrell rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: marieka
thinking back on the studio apt and cooking breakfast in the current 1 bedroom,
I doubt that the sprawling detatched ranch style home on a half acre, faux italianate Mc Mansion, Victorian giant cookie cutter will ever be in my price range (since a major metropolitan area will be a constant in our lives for the forseeable future) or in my category of desires (i tend towards modern and minimal) - I definitely want to own a house and want to be able to entertain family and friends in such a space s...more
Adriane Devries
A quiet, pastoral and almost poetic image is associated with small homes in Japanese culture, and in Western society, as well: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickenson all wrote best when secluded in quiet cabins, seemingly released from the “great anxiety within society,” caused by economic depressions, political unrest and crime. A rich and fertile life is created within these more intimate settings because of, and not in spite of, the fact of their smallness.

A favorite hig...more
If you are looking for practical ideas on small home/efficient living for an existing house then this book probably isn't for you - it might give you some ideas you can implement but it is more about looking at the overall ideas of efficiency of space whilst maintaining function, comfort and a pleasant aesthetic in specific examples.

I still really like this book and would recommend it if that sounds interesting to you, but it is far more of an architectural study of a selection of Japanese hous...more
Jason Keenan
I wonder if this is where North America', or at least more densely packed parts of it like downtown Vancouver, are headed. We can only hope because all of these spaces smaller than my current apartment seem more liveable and larger despite the smaller space.

Then again none of them have to accommodate all my junk. What is so fascinating is the brilliant designs for storage - meaning there may be room for me junk.

Much of this May not translate across the pacific - with the lack of architects use...more
Sara Q
May 24, 2014 Sara Q marked it as skimmed
Most of the examples are way too stark and cold to me, but some of the floorplans could be interesting should we ever in our wildest dreams have money for an addition.
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Nice book with lots of pictures. The cutaway axon like sketches really help understand the incredibly compact and complex spaces. Sora No Katachi House on page 54 is my favourite, having a courtyard and using it to blend indoor and outdoor spaces. Unlike many of the other houses, it also has more "private" rooms and uses black and wood tones as opposed to many of the homes white are mostly all white.
Nice pictures- but I can't understand how you could live with so little stuff- unless you just have a ton of money to spend on not having stuff :). The architecture was beautiful but must cost a fortune. This book is more for flipping through than reading cover to cover- and not about practical ideas for your own house- unless you're really rich.
We picked up this book because we live in a stinkin' small space. We have to be careful when we invite over families with more than one child so there's enough room. The solutions they had for small living were mostly very expensive, so I couldn't use any of the ideas, but the pictures were really nice and beautiful.
love the informative writing and the detailed look at the various designs/spaces. i wish there were more photographs of the various innovative design elements and more background information regarding the various architects and home owners.
Got this as a Christmas present from mom. Read it in about 20 minutes, got some interesting ideas for the attic I want to finish. Nothing really inspirational in the home improvement/decorating genre for me, though.
Oct 02, 2010 Kami rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: eco
I didn't read this one word for word, but is a great book. The Japanese have got this small home thing down!
N.L. Riviezzo
Nice pictures to look at but clearly a 'living simple if you're very wealthy' kind of book.
Survey of contemporary small homes in Japan, often built in on very restrictive footprints.
Pleasant to look at, not much here for those not building (expensively?) from scratch.
Nice photos. Great book to get ideas from for your own small spaces.
There was some really nice interesting houses in here.
Love the details.
Jon Mikl
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