When third-generation architect Takaaki Kawabata and his wife Christina were looking for a rural home within commuting distance of Manhattan to move to with their two small children, the search led Takaaki to a 1,100-square-foot log cabin in Garrison, N.Y. that was in such a drab state that the real estate agent apologized for wasting his time. As the Janson Goldstein senior associate explained to Remodelista, before getting on a train back to their home in Williamsburg he though his efforts had turned up nothing, but by the time the ride was over, a closer look at the plans had convinced him that he had found the place. After acquiring the 1960s cabin for $335K, the couple embarked on a year-long remodeling effort that totaled $50K, and left them with a one-room home reminiscent of the kind of communal Japanese home that Takaaki grew up in.
For starters, the renovation involved removing logs that were merely cosmetic, and getting rid of the "warren of small, dark rooms" that took up most of the interior. The logs were replaced with black cedar modeled after traditional Japanese farmhouses, which was further darkened with a Benjamin Moore stain. Aside from the basement office out of which Christina runs Takatina, her interior design firm, the home is almost entirely open; the bathroom, for example, sits behind an 18-foot-long freestanding wall in back of the kitchen, and Takaaki has plans to bring in a door to replace the curtain that closes it off. There's a sleeping loft for the parents and a combined kids' playroom, bedroom, closet, and art gallery below it, surrounded by a metal screen wound with white Nylon string. "We thought about using shoji screens," Takaaki told Remodelista, "but they're too fragile for a house with young kids." For now, the couple believes that living a one-room home is ideal, but they plan on someday building an addition.
· The New Pioneers: An Architect's One-Room Family House [Remodelista]
· All Garrison, N.Y. coverage [Curbed National]
· All conversions coverage [Curbed National]