OWIU specializes in elevating the home experience into design that is truly bespoke, personal, and intelligently considered. By leaning into a minimalism inherent in traditional Japanese design and creating nuance specific to our clients and their family, OWIU was able to create an immediately intimate space that tells their family story through the details.

Signature to the firm, the kitchen serves as a key feature in the home. The structural shape of the kitchen originally necessitated a small rectangle kitchen island, limiting countertop space and creating an inefficiency of storage. Because OWIU is able to fabricate in-house, the firm custom fitted a trapezoidal countertop from a seamless piece of marble, according to the dimensions of the room. The island features hidden storage underneath the counter for an attractive and accessible display. This atypical and bespoke shape maximizes the space and creates an organic line from the kitchen to the living room. By removing the wall between the living and dining spaces, the entire 1st floor of the home breathes open, angling the kitchen as the center point from which one can see the backyard, the living room, and the dining nook in one glance.

The dining nook was custom fabricated from scratch and inlaid with tatami mats as a nod to our client’s Japanese heritage. This clean and geometric variation on the timeless dining nook was designed to also double as a space for rest and retreat. The benches were measured precisely to accommodate the width of a person for napping and while the space is relatively exposed, it is recessed just enough to create a quiet corner for reading or meditation. In addition, the tatami mats are easy to clean, an especially useful feature with small children.

The kitchen transitions to the living room and the backyard seamlessly. Because the kitchen and dining nook are already designed to be communal and casual spaces, the living room functions as an entertaining space. The existing fireplace was resurfaced with wood piping to transform the outdated structure into a textured visual centerpiece. The light wood chosen for the fireplace brings together the wood shelving in the kitchen and the cabinetry in the bar all in unison as the shared materials unify the two rooms. The tucked-in bar discreetly acts as a display and storage corner and is painted a darker shade of bisque than the walls to perceptually deepen the space.

The master bathroom reflects many of the same materials that are used in the kitchen – light woods and lightly veined marble. Ceiling to counter windows were installed so that upon entrance the backdrop of sprawling trees are immediately in view. The Japanese style tub was custom made with a seamless edge for an unobstructed view to the window, creating a constant moving scene of nature as the backdrop to the room. The tub is 18 inches deep and encased in Italian tiles to retain heat and allow for full submersion while sitting up. The tub and shower are married by a wide series of steps made of the same stone. The connected shower and tub mimic the feeling of a ryokan as one can freely access both units, separate but aesthetically connected as if a singular piece. The toilet and vanity are also partitioned off but exposed without doors to amplify the openness of the space while still maintaining privacy.