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Japan Style: architecture + interiors + design    by Geeta Mehta, Kimie Tada & Noboru Murata order for
Japan Style
by Geeta Mehta
Order:  USA  Can
Tuttle, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The superb photo on the cover of Japan Style (a coffee table sized volume) draws the reader quickly inside, to be intrigued by chapter headings like 'What is Japanese about a Japanese House?', 'A Kaga-style Teahouse to Soothe the Soul', or 'An Old Parlor with an Old Tree'.

So what does make a house Japanese? We're told that it all began in Japan in the 14th century, and is about eliminating the inessential, seeking beauty in humble things, integrating the interior with nature, creating spaciousness in small spaces and 'a feeling of eternity in fragile and temporary materials'. Mehta tells us this resulted in 'homes that speak to the soul and seem to hold time still.' Beautiful views of such homes are presented in this splendid coffee table book. They range from rustic farmhouses to more formal urban homes (including Shinden, Shoin, and Sukiya styles).

Specific houses showcased include a tea master's home, a merchant's townhouse ('machiya'), a thatch-roofed farmhouse ('minka'), a traditional home with international interiors, a modern home with the same 'calm sense of space' as the traditional, and a pentagonal resort cottage. They are all designed to emphasize the important relationship between the interior and the outdoors. Inside the homes are items (modern and antique) like painted folding screens, Japanese chests ('tansu'), a 'step-chest' (also used for storage) that takes the place of a staircase, and lovely lacquer craft.

Browse Japan Style to enjoy the serene beauty of Japanese houses and their surroundings, or to get some inspiration for your own home. Personally, I'd love mine to include a Japanese bath and teahouse, and will dream on while turning the pages of this delightful book.

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