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Architect’s 495 Sq Ft Tokyo Apartment Renovation


Architect Kumiko Ouchi wanted to transform her partner’s 1970s apartment into a truly beautiful and functional space. She did an excellent job hiding anything unsightly while still including the necessary things (kitchen electronics, books, a litter box) in her overall design.

By taking out the walls in the apartment and removing a bedroom, she was able to create an open concept space with a large kitchen that still afforded privacy in the bedroom and bathroom. The hallway doubles as office space, and there are two beautiful balconies for plants.

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Bringing a 1970s Apartment into Modernity

She created a butane-powered “fireplace” in one corner.

Here is the office hallway with plenty of room for books and files.

There are 4 separate closets throughout!

VIDEO: NEVER TOO SMALL: Tokyo Architect’s Tranquil Small Apartment

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Marsha Cowan
    August 13, 2022, 12:45 pm

    Very sleek and serene; a place that can quiet the mind after a busy day. It’s lovely. I love the library area that adds a bit of natural wood tones, and the natural light is perfect. It’s a wonderful home.

  • LargeMarge
    August 13, 2022, 3:05 pm

    a — Livable.
    b — We think the genkan (traditional Nippon entry) could be a part of the kitchen… with counters a horizontal place to set groceries and such.
    c — We think any hall/corridor is wasted space.
    We think the ‘office’ in the drag-strip reduces the ability of the worker to remain on-task.
    d — We think any sleep zone automatically eliminates windows.
    For the benefit of circadian rhythms, we believe any sleep zone needs to resemble the interior of a cave, dark and cool.
    e — We think any windows must consider the view, bringing the outside in.

  • vee
    August 13, 2022, 3:29 pm

    Brilliant and beautiful !! Definitely one of the most impressive small spaces I’ve ever seen!!

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