n house by moss is a renovation of an atmospheric 50-square-meter vintage apartment in the magome neighborhood of tokyo, japan. the clients are a married couple who wanted 3 things in their new space; good light, a large living room, and minimal use of colors. the architects transformed the original two-bedroom layout to a light-filled one-bedroom with a living room, dining area, and kitchen.
the intention of moss while conceiving this design was to add richness and depth to the space though working with the limitations of a 50-square-meter apartment. they decided to focus on four elements in order to attain their design goal; interior terrace, compact space, horizontal windows, and cherishing shadows. their concept for the living room was centered on creating the atmosphere of an outdoor terrace space inside a metropolitan tokyo apartment. up against the limitations of a small floor plan, they took a risk and added a protrusion into the empty space. the interior terrace doesn’t limit the functionality of the room. it opens up the area and adds an enriching margin to the room, creating a beneficial sense of distance between people within the space.
by integrating the bedroom, study, and storage spaces into a single room at the core of the apartment, the designers added depth to the house while making economical use of floor space. the design and materials incorporate a sense of comfortable confinement similar to a downtown hotel. as for the openings, the apartment’s horizontal windows, which are rare in today’s housing complexes, have a unique charm that the designers wanted to emphasize.
moss drew in ample natural light and made the room feel more spacious by taking advantage of the windows’ shape and orientation in their new floor plan. the new layout gives the feeling of light entering from far back in the space. creating a corridor that dared to cast shadows emphasized the expansiveness of the living room. the balance of light and shadow added depth and flexibility to the space.
these four elements were integrated through a minimal approach to colors, which was also in line with the client’s request. the oak flooring is dyed gray, the walls are painted with texture paint and all fixtures are custom-made with MDF that is gray as well. the design is accented with a dull glow from the window sashes and stainless steel in the kitchen. exposing the raw skeleton of the apartment could create a cold and unwelcoming atmosphere, but the subtle warmth of gray materials and painted surfaces draws out the richness originally present in the apartment’s bones.
name: n house
location: tokyo, japan
photography: koji fujii
edited by: yasmina karam | designboom