how to live

So here am I, a trained architect but without much building experience except for two houses in Tokyo and a handful of renovations, going to design our own house. I am a bit nervous I must admit. I am confident about the design phase. I know I can make a good plan. But the part after that, the actual building, the technical part and the financial department… Luckily I have many friends in the business who I hope to consult for the tough decisions.

Let’s start the design phase.


building site: 14m x 9.2m

building area: 70m2 (L-shaped)

maximum building height: 6m

maximum eaves height: 3m

appearance: slanted roof, wood facade, “in harmony” with rest of street…



I asked Allard, Sembo and Kanna what they find important and Allard said he really wanted a room to work at home. If possible a kind of atelier where he could also build stuff. For real rough operations, such as welding, he would try to find another place if it could not be incorporated in the plan. Another thing he needs is storage space. Lots and lots of it. And a third request was a high ceiling. And no tiles, please.

Sembo was very clear in what he likes to see in his new house: he wants to be able to climb. Climb against the walls, onto cupboards, into his bed.

Kanna wants a rabbit so she was more concerned for the rabbit’s house and where to put it. She wants the rabbit to be able to dig holes. They both want good hiding places for hide and seek. And a view over the fields from their beds.

And what do I want? I want a room of my own, lots of daylight, and lots of possibilities for change. A house that can change along with us and that we can change if we want. Shift the furniture, change the function of space. I want to be able to make a fire at home. See the water of the ditch in front of the house reflecting on the ceiling. Look at the horizon when taking a shower.  I don’t want to flush the toilet with drinking water. No plastic insulation but natural materials. I don’t want to build at the expense of the planet. Technically, I want it all to make sense ecologically. And I am going to find my own way of doing it.