NEVER TOO SMALL: Elderly Mother & Son’s Small Apartment, Japan – 46sqm/495sqf

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Originally an outdated apartment with an impractical layout, Kumiko Ouchi of Small Design Studio completely redesigned the aptly named The House for Two, significantly changing the layout so that mother and son could live comfortably together without sacrificing their privacy. Key to the overall design was relocating the kitchen to the brightest area of the home overlooking the garden, allowing the creation of a practical, open plan kitchen, living and dining area. The mother’s bedroom is neatly tucked away behind the utility and laundry space, whilst a sofa bench with built-in storage in the living room converts to the son’s bedroom at night. The majority of the home’s remaining storage is contained to the hallway in cleverly concealed wardrobes on either side of the passage. The increasing prevalence of multi-generational living, not only in Japan, makes designs such this one a valuable model for creating private and shared communal spaces within a small footprint home.

#smallapartment #architecture #interiordesign

Eps no. 121
Project Name: the house for two

Produced by New Mac Video Agency
Creator: Colin Chee
Director/Camera Operator: Nam Tran
Producer: Lindsay Barnard
Editor: Sebastian Tibbs
Music: Unwind by Simon Wester & Pilgrim by Some Were at Sea

14 Replies to “NEVER TOO SMALL: Elderly Mother & Son’s Small Apartment, Japan – 46sqm/495sqf”

  1. this space might be small, but it feels big because of all the hidden storage and smart layout

  2. A beautiful design, with lots of wonderful storage features making this small space serve some large needs. I don't have a problem with the ship's bunk style of bedroom, but do wonder if the different floor levels were needed to accommodate mechanical elements of the design? Having watched with horror as an elderly guest fell into my sunken living room some years ago, I wouldn't want to incorporate this one design feature in an apartment for an older person. Otherwise, brilliant!

  3. **Handsome place . Love the texture choices to the surfaces, love the quiet. Moves well, good design. The kitchen/eating area – actually very beautiful. Respect to the architect here.

  4. i gotta agree with a lot of the other comments, mum's bedroom is too narrow and having her clothes hanging overhead makes it even more like a closet (although having a direct view of the balcony helps add visual space). A wheelchair should fit her bedside walkspace (or at least wide-enough that she wouldn't have to walk sideways through it) . I would have chosen a slightly narrower living-dining-kitchen space just to give mum's room more width. It would also be nicer if there's are long cubby hole built into the adjacent wall to mum's bed. This could double-duty as a grabrail. Other that that, it's a wonderful design.

  5. One thing Westerners should know is that in Asian countries it is common for everyone to sleep in the same room. The son does not need a western bedroom with a shut door. As far as making the apartment wheelchair ready, we don't know the health issues of the Mom.They say she was injured, but it could be for a brain injury. Regardless, if the situation changes, then they can remodel. It is only a small space.

  6. Don't know what the mother's injuries were; she seemed to be navigating comfortably. But question accessibility with some areas of the apt being on a different level, having a step. As mentioned, with Japan's increasing elderly, whether age or a limiting disability, would she be able to access the entire apt? Understandably, housing in that area is small, perhaps cramped, but if someone required a walker or wheelchair, could foresee some issues. Otherwise, loved how bright and serene the spaces were.

  7. This is designed with such care. The emotional needs of humans in a house were really well planned. In particular, the bio-fuel living room fire, the gas stove at the center of the kitchen, the cocooned bed for the Mom, and her extra bathroom access door. Absolutely beautifully done.

  8. A wonderful job. The space looks clean and serene at the same time. It also exudes the typical Japanese way of living in a modern manner. Kudos to the man who cares so much about his mother ??

  9. Don't know what health issues mom has, but based on experience with my elderly parents/in-laws, having mom's bed so close to the bathroom is a smart move. And I sleep sooo much better in the dark, so her cubby is perfect for me. I also like how the sleeping areas and clothing storage are on opposite ends of the apartment. The open living, dining, and kitchen combined makes the apartment seem bigger. And all the storage. She clearly listened to the clients wishes and designed the space for them. Love it!

  10. It is very beautiful. The kitchen, utility and bathroom are spectacular. I’m sure I would need a room of my own if I lived with my mother. That son is a saint to sleep in the sitting room rather than have a small space of his own.

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