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4.2 out of 5 stars12
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 23 December 2008
This is a book of inspiring small designed houses. Dont expect a list of clever storage solutions or somthing like that, although if you look carefully you will see some.

Rather, its more a book of beautiful Japanese homes with wonderful photos - and layout sketches! Think of it as an archtectural book showing how a small home can be done.

A perfect coffee table book, I take great enjoyment every time a read my copy.
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on 25 March 2009
The seemingly never-ending resourcefulness of the Japanese amazes me and this book shows just what can be done with limited space: if only I could start from scratch.

Whatever you are looking for, from fresh ideas to incorporate new storage solutions in your house (after gutting a room, perhaps) to research for when you win the lottery, this book is wonderfully inspirational. It contains examples of functional design in a wide range of styles - all meticulously planned. There are plenty of sketches and a good range of photographs. The text explains just enough about the designs to keep interest levels high, before moving on to the next house.

Every architect ought to have a copy, especially if they work for those housing developers who build poor-quality, poorly designed reproduction 16th Century vernacular buildings. This is what twenty-first century living ought to be like.
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The offer I submitted for my first flat was accepted a few days ago, and I bought this to celebrate and help plan how my Very Small Home is going to look. The 18 houses are deftly photographed and provide accommodation for a wide variety of households, from young couples to larger families. Some of the designs are truly astonishing; I couldn't help feel a powerful envy not only for the people who live in these meticulously crafted homes, but also for the talented architects who created them.

It's apt that the focus here is on Japanese homes, for the challenge of working with limited space yields dazzling instances of creativity, much like haiku poetry. Raised floors to enable underfoot storage, glassed off interior gardens, house-tall curtains that can provide privacy or blow in the breeze to create striking art, and so on. Each dwelling is a gem that I know I'll flip back to marvel at in the future.

While there are many little touches in terms of furnishing and storage that I can take away as inspiration, much of the appeal of these houses is in their core architecture - whether it's their basic features, or the way they've been integrated with their environment, like one house with a slanted wall to avoid impinging on the roots of a treasured tree. Because of this, I feel that architects and designers will get more benefit and inspiration than a homeowner hoping to improve their interior design. I sincerely hope this book is well read by the next generation of architects here in the UK and we can finally get some attractive modern buildings on the go.
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on 15 August 2012
This is a book about purpose built houses and it does not focus on interior design. The houses are completed to very high specifications. The general style is minimalism - which looks very good in photographs but is very hard to achieve day-to-day (especially with children).

It doesn't address the question of cost: clearly the sites for some of the houses were very expensive. The high quality finishes suggest some generous budgets. There is little about the practical issues: finding and working with an architect who can deliver a house like these. Costing the project and balancing must haves against the available budget.

The book focuses on the use of space using sketches. Most people would rely on the architect to produce these and would find it hard to engage with how to use space that radically departs from the lay-out of most houses and apartments.

I tried counting the number of windows with curtains or blinds - few. I use this as a barometer of how practical the rooms are and to decide whether these are style statements or practical rooms. My experience is that occupiers soon need to put up curtains and blinds (once the stylish photographs have been taken).

I can find nothing about energy, ventilation and little about lighting. These are likely to be important issues in most climates.

I find the book disappointing: some pretty pictures that may stimulate but I was just left with questions about practicality and deliverability.
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on 23 August 2011
A very use full book. Great pictures, information very clear and the 3 diensional drawing were good. It would have helped to have standard floor plans on all dwellings.
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on 3 February 2014
Some great ideas, not sure too many of them work in the UK. Really good to open your mind to the art of possible.
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on 29 April 2014
I've always loved this book - almost stole it from an Architect friend and hunted down my own copy. Lovely x
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on 20 August 2014
Very nice photographs but not as much detail in the text as I had expected.
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on 14 October 2014
Great concise read into current japanese trend. Works by known architects.
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on 22 January 2011
This is another book i often find myself turning back to again and again when i'm thinking through ideas. The Axonometrics were a great addition and so was the table of what each house provides simply towards to front as an over view. Its rare to find that in what would normally be considered architectural porn.
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