Wooden Box House – Small House in Japan Mixes Work and Home Life

This simple, small house is set in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. It’s been designed for a married couple who both wanted to work from home. The project, called Wooden Box House, was undertaken by Suziki Architects, who introduced a hair saloon on the first floor for the wife, and a writing studio on the second floor for the husband.


Wooden Box House - Suzuki Architects - Kawaguchi Japan - Exterior - Humble Homes

The entire building has a floor area of just 850 square feet (79 square meters) – not a lot of space considering it has to meet both work and home-life requirements. To achieve everything the clients asked in such a small volume, the architects had to double up on space.


Wooden Box House - Suzuki Architects - Kawaguchi Japan - Office - Humble Homes

The first floor is occupied by the saloon to the front, with a private bedroom to the rear. The left-hand-side of the home contains the staircase, a downstairs toilet, and storage space for the bedroom. The upper level contains a kitchen and dining room, with a bedroom/writing room to the back.


Wooden Box House - Suzuki Architects - Kawaguchi Japan - Kitchen and Living Room - Humble Homes

The home’s main bathroom is found on the second floor, sandwiched between the staircase and the storage space of the bedroom. Like most Japanese homes it features a toilet area that’s separate from the bathroom. From the architects: “This architecture has a simple plan reflecting the couple’s lifestyles,  and wood over time gives the taste and warmth to architecture in various ways.”

Wooden Box House - Suzuki Architects - Kawaguchi Japan - Living Room - Humble Homes

There doesn’t appear to be any room that acts as a dedicated living room, but with sliding partition doors they could easily create one, should they need it. In addition to the living spaces there’s also two small balconies to the front and back of the house: one overlooking the street, the other the garden.

Wooden Box House - Suzuki Architects - Kawaguchi Japan - Floor Plan - Humble Homes

The finish makes great use of timber, both inside and out. On the inside, chunky timber beams and floor joists help give the home some character. The floor has also be finished in wood, but the walls have been clad with white-painted drywall, preventing the house from feeling like like log cabin.

For more Japanese houses check out this home that’s been squeezed onto a tiny lot, and appropriately named the Near House. Or, this house that takes advantage of the space available to it by building upwards. See all small houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Kenta Hasegawa

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

1 Comment
  1. I do like the openness in the private areas of the house but I do not like the ceiling. It seems unfinished and I also do not like that there is not a separate shielding to cover the bedroom from the public. A curtain or shielding of some kind needs to be in place because crimes do happen all over the world and he or she is letting someone know that is a bedroom and it is available to the public after the business is closed for the evening and someone could break in. There should be something to separate the shop from the home. Is there a bathroom in the shop for the customers to use or do they have to use the private bath? If possible, use space in the shop to have a bathroom there instead of your private home, that way you do not have to clean up others who come in your shop and get sick or don’t feel well and need to your facilities.