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    At Remodelista Japanese design is one of our touchstones: it's our reminder that simplicity requires rigor, that tranquility is attainable, and that it's high time we did some decluttering. This week, we're shining a light on our favorite work being created right now in Japan and beyond—and learning by example.

    Lessons from Japan, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Rustic style at Eatrip, the Chez Panisse of Tokyo. Photograph by Aya Brackett.

    Monday

    Studio Magiera Candles from Japan | Remodelista

    Above: In today's Candles post, Julie presents a line she considers "too beautiful to actually light." Also look for her roundup of our 10 Favorite online sources for Japanese design.

    Tuesday

    David Ling Architect, Live/Work sudio in New York, Mira Nakashima live-edge American black walnut dining table | Remodelista

    Above: In Tuesday's Furniture roundup, Christine explores the George Nakashima legacy: live-edge wood applied to a range of wabi-sabi designs, including this dining table by Nakashima's daughter, Mira. (Intrigued by the room? See Life on the Edge: Architect David Ling's NYC Loft. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Wednesday

    Atelier Dion on Remodelista

    Above: Dione Atelier of the Bay Area specializes in Japanese-style mugs and teacups that SF's baristas are clamoring for. Stay tuned for Wednesday's Studio Visit.

    Thursday

    Momoko Suzuki of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA, photograph by Kikuko Usuyama | Remodelista

    Above: Momoko Suzuki of cult fashion label Black Crane lives in a Japanese-style house in LA that mirrors the minimalist-modern clothing she designs with her husband. We'll be paying them a call in Thursday's Designer Visit. Photograph by Kikuko Usuyama.

    Friday

    Flame lighting by Kenichi Kandatsu, Kobe, Japan | Remodelista

    Above: Some of the nicest and simplest lighting we've come across is being designed by a tiny outfit in Kobe, Japan. Watch for Margot's Lighting post. 

    More? Over at Gardenista they're also saluting Japanese design this week.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    A retired couple bids farewell to life in the city and moves to Mount Yatsugatake on the island of Honshū with a desire to spend the remainder of their lives farming their own vegetables surrounded by mountains. They buy a plot of land to build their new house at an elevation with a harsh and tricky climate, too hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Carrying forth the Japanese tradition of coexisting harmoniously with nature, Tokyo architects MDS design a structure oriented to capitalize on the prevailing winds, optimal sun angles, and best mountain views—with not an air conditioner in sight. Let’s have a look.

    Photography by Toshiyuki Yano via ArchDaily.

    Charred wood Shou sugi ban wall, Exposed wood beams and ceiling, wood stove, Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: A detail of the living room looking toward the combination kitchen/dining room. The charred wall is a Japanese tradition known as shou sugi ban. In Dark Wood: Shou Sugi Ban Torched Lumber, we explore where to source charred wood.

    Open Shoji screen looking to view of fields, Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: In the living room, sliding glass doors detailed with shoji screens slide open to allow in breezes, while the overhang is designed to keep out the high angle of the summer sun. The low angle of the sun during the winter, however, means the house can be warmed when it's cold outside. The exposed beams hide the tracks for the shoji screens and the sliding glass doors.

    Wood stove and exposed wood beams and ceilings in Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: A woodstove keeps the rooms warm during the winter.

    Dining area and kitchen of Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: The kitchen and dining area opens to a washitsu, a Japanese room furnished with tatami mats.

    Wood cabinets and counter top in wood lined kitchen of Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: In the kitchen, housecleaning tools and utensils hang in the space under the stairs.

    Traditional Japanese Room with Tatami mats in Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: A view back toward the dining area from the washitsu. The continuous shoji screens give the house a traditional feel.

    Exposed wood beams and ceiling on stair landing of Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: The second floor is an open loftlike space with a sleeping and office area. The door leads into the walk-in closet.

    Long wood desk against wall of shoji screens in bedroom of Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: The work area with shoji screens runs the entire length of the room.

    Exposed wood beams and ceiling, wood headboards, shoji screens in bedroom, Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: When the shōji screens are closed, the bedroom becomes a sanctuary.

    Exposed wood beams and ceiling, wood headboards, shoji screens in bedroom of Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: During the summer months, the north- and south-facing windows are opened for optimum breeze ventilation and mountain gazing.

    Long wood desk against wall of shoji screens in bedroom of Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: The wood details are an updated version of traditional Japanese wood architecture.

    Detail of wood screen and shoji screen in Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: A detail of a wooden screen.

    Wood bathroom with black tiled bath in Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: One is never far from nature, even in the bath.

    Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Photo by Toshiyuki Yano | Remodelista

    Above: The house is oriented south in a fan shape to maximize the amount of winter sun that reaches the rooms.

    Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Plan Drawing | Remodelista

    Above: A plan and diagram of the first floor illustrates all of the considerations that went into the siting of the house.

    Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Plan Drawing | Remodelista

    Above: A plan and diagram of the second floor.

    Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Section Drawing | Remodelista

    Above: A fully noted section of the house illustrating sun angles and breezes.

    Yatsugatake Villa in Hokuto-Cotu, Japan by MDS Architects, Section Drawing | Remodelista

    Above: The living room and veranda.

    Two French architects find design inspiration on a trip to Japan in Before and After: A Charred Wood Cottage on a $45K Budget.

    See more interpretations of the Japanese shoji screen from around the world:

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    When we launched Remodelista a few years back, it was almost impossible to source the hauntingly beautiful housewares of Japan. Things have improved dramatically; here are our top 10 online sources for Japanese design (some have brick-and-mortar stores as well).

      Peter Ivy Glassware | Remodelista

    Above: We discovered the work of glass artist Peter Ivy via Tortoise General Store, in Venice Beach, a must-visit when you're next in LA.

    Japanese Copper Kettle from Nalata in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: The Azmaya Copper Kettle is $300 from Nalata in New York City.

    Umami Mart in the East Bay, CA | Remodelista

    Above: A dizzying array of Japanese essentials are available from Umami Mart.

    Anzu Basket | Remodelista

    Above: A Bamboo Market Basket from Anzu, in New York, is $124.

    Japanese Glass from March in SF | Remodelista

    Above: Sam Hamilton of March, in San Francisco, recently started stocking the work of Japanese glass master Yoshihiko Takahashi; beyond beautiful.

    Japanese Onion Basket from Mjolk in Toronto | Remodelista

    Above: The Mutsumu Round Large Bamboo Onion Basket, handmade in Kyoto, is CA $60 ($53.50 USD) from Mjölk, in Toronto.

    Hirota Glass Teapot from OEN in London | Remodelista

    Above: The Hirota Glass Teapot is £80 ($129) from OEN in the UK.

    Japanese Grater and Whisk from Mr Kitly in Australia | Remodelista

    Above: A Ginger Grater and Whisk from Mr. Kitly in Australia is AU $45 ($39.62 USD).

      Analogue Life Platter | Remodelista

    Above: Ceramic Platters by Osamu Saruyama are $75 via Analogue Life.

    Ippan Stackable Kitchen Tools from Japan | Remodelista

    Above: A set of Six Stackable Kitchen Tools includes a mortar and pestle, a ginger/garlic/wasabi grater, a juicer, a utensil holder, and a lid that doubles as a dish; $98.50 at Ippin Project Store.

    More of our favorite sources for kitchen accessories? Take a shopping trip around the world with us:

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Magiera Candle Studio owner Yuko Nishida trained with a master candle artisan in New Zealand before returning to Japan to open her own shop, where she produces whimsical waxen creations. The candles can be ordered directly from Magiera Candle Studio, which ships overseas.

    Candle Studio Magiera Tapers from Japan | Remodelista

    Above: A pair of wine bottle candles via Live Door.

    Candle Magiera Black Japanese | Remodelista

    Above: The candles are sized to fit wine bottles (shown here in traditional candlestick holders).

    Studio Magiera Swan Candles from Japan | Remodelista

    Above L: A pair of swans. Above R: Take your pick, candleholder or wine bottle?

    Studio Magiera Candles from Japan | Remodelista

    Above: Magiera Night candle.

    Above: A detail from a gallery display.

    Above: Magiera Specimens candles.

    Above: Magiera candles on display at the Deserted Fragments exhibit at Le Grenier, in Kobe, Japan.

    Above: Masako uses brightly colored wicks. Go to Magiera Candle Studio to see more and to inquire about availability.

    Stocking up on candles for the holiday season? See:

    Also don't miss: 11 Ways to Look Younger Instantly (Hint: Light a Candle)—and take a look at our Candle Holder picks.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    A permanent fixture on my wish list is architect Makoto Koizumi's Tetu Iron Door Stopper, a weighty, cast-iron doorstop in the shape of a simple river stone. At present, though, a river stone is far more within reach than Koizumi's design, and so, after seeing a project by Suki Vento of the blog Varpunen, an alternative option came to mind: Adapting a foraged rock with a bit of paint resembles the iron stopper and is essentially a return to Koizumi's starting inspiration.

    Tetu Iron River Stone Door Stopper | Remodelista

    Above: The inspiration: Makoto Koizumi's Tetu Iron River Stone Door Stopper is $70 from Nalata/Nalata.

    Suki Vento Varpunen White-Painted Door Stop | Remodelista

    Above: The DIY inspiration: Finnish design blogger Suki Vento and her daughter painted a found rock matte white. Photograph from Varpunen; see more of her home in A Lesson in Geometry from Finland.

    DIY Painted Rock as Door Stopper | Remodelista

    Above: My own version of the doorstop was made with the perfect rock (chosen for shape and weight) and some paint I had on hand. I used Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint in Flat Black; $16.92 for a pack of two one-quart cans at Home Depot.

    DIY Painted Rock as Door Stopper | Remodelista

    Above: The finished product is just heavy enough to keep a door in its place.

    For more natural decor hacks, see our post DIY: Painted Natural Objects as Decor and have a look through our featured DIY Projects on Gardenista. Another doorstop we like—this one with a nautical twist—is the Marseille Knot Door Stopper.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Juli and John Baker and their two young daughters live in a Toronto flat one flight of stairs up from Mjölk, their homewares shop. Not surprisingly, inventory from the shop makes it up into their own quarters, especially the kitchen, which is modeled after Norwegian summer house designs. Working with architecture firm Studio Junction to customize every inch of the space, Juli and John stocked it with their favorite tools—the kind of Japanese kitchen essentials one can only dream of. Here, we've sourced the key elements and accessories to start our own wish lists.

    Mjolk kitchen Toronto | Remodelista

    Above: Juli and John are masters at combining the best of their favorite design traditions. See more in A Scandinavian-Inspired Kitchen with Hints of Japan. Photograph by Juli Daoust.

    Mjolk Kitchen Toronto/Remodelista

    Above: A custom oak cabinet with soapstone counters and open and closed storage anchors the back wall. Photograph by Juli Daoust.

    Mjolk Kitchen | Remodelista

    Above: Classic Danish dining furniture blends effortlessly with the warm oak kitchen. Photograph by Juli Daoust.

    Lighting and Furniture

    Jonas Bohlin Copper Star-6 Track Light | Remodelista

    Above: Designed by Jonas Bohlin for Örsjö, the Star 6 Track Light is made of raw copper and is available to order directly through Örsjö; inquire for pricing information.

    March Custom Work Table for the Kitchen | Remodelista

    Above: Juli and John's kitchen island was designed by Studio Junction. An ideal, ready-to-purchase option is the March Work Table of white oak and steel, shown here; $13,800. Or consider Ikea's affordable Värde Base Cabinet in birch veneer, outfitted with new cabinet pulls (and perhaps install a sink in the Värde like these Ikea Hackers did).

    Jonas Bohlin Copper Lamp Kvist-6 | Remodelista

    Above: Jonas Bohlin's pendant Lamp Kvist 6 is also made of raw copper; €1,795 ($2,272) at Skulptur Fabriken.

    Borge Mogensen C18 Dining Table and J39 Chairs | Remodelista

    Above: Designed by Børge Mogensen for Fredericia Furniture in 1942, the C18 Dining Table is made of solid beech or white oak; $3,200 at Mjölk. The J39 Chair is also sold at Mjölk for $650 each (but only a single chair is left in stock). A set of Four Mogensen Antique Dining Chairs with a similar shape is available through Wyeth on 1st Dibs.

    Ikea Bekvam Kitchen Cart | Remodelista

    Above: Gain additional workspace with Ikea's birch Bekväm Kitchen Cart for $59.99.

    Appliances

    KitchenAid Stainless Steel Gas Cooktop | Remodelista

    Above: Similar to Juli and John's cooktop, the KitchenAid 36-Inch Stainless Steel Gas Cooktop is $1,849 at ABT. For more options, see 10 Easy Pieces: 36-Inch Gas Cooktops.

    Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder | Remodelista

    Above: The Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder features steel burrs and 40 different adjustable steps. It has a high-torque motor that turns slower than most grinders; $129 at Crate & Barrel. For more options, see 10 Easy Pieces: Coffee Grinders.

    Crate & Barrel SmartToaster 4-Slice Stainless Steel Toaster | Remodelista

    Above: The Breville 4-Slice Stainless Steel Toaster is $179.95 at Crate & Barrel.

    Accessories

    Ikea Grundtal Rail System in Stainless Steel | Remodelista

    Above: Ikea's Grundtal Rail is a stainless steel alternative to Juli and John's custom wooden under-shelf rail; $9.99 for the 31 1/2-inch length. For more examples of kitchens with the Grundtal rail, go to Ultimate Budget Storage: 10 Kitchens with Ikea's Grundtal Rail System.

    Ikea Grundtal S-Hook Set | Remodelista

    Above: The Grundtal S-Hook Set is $2.99 for a five pack of 2 3/4-inch hooks, and $3.99 for a five pack of 4 3/8-inch hooks at Ikea.

    Tomiyama Koichi Coffee Trough | Remodelista

    Above: Carved by artist Tomiyama Koichi from a block of chestnut wood, the Coffee Trough stands ready to transfer freshly ground coffee to your coffee dripper; $150 CAD ($133 USD) at Mjölk.

    Hidetoshi Takahashi Bagel Trivet | Remodelista

    Above: Designed by Hidetoshi Takahasi, the Bagel Trivet is made of Japanese maple (also available in walnut and cherry) with a leather string for hanging; $80 CAD ($71 USD) at Mjölk.

    Sori Yanagi Stainless Steel Tea Kettle | Remodelista

    Above: The Sori Yanagi Stainless Steel Tea Kettle in matte is $66.54 via Amazon. For an alternate option, see High/Low: Japanese Tea Kettle.

    Futagami Brass Knife Stand from Analogue Life | Remodelista

    Above: The Futagami Brass Knife Stand has a removable wooden lid with five slots for knives; $150.28 from Analogue Life in Japan.

    Kakudo Hexagonal Cutting Boards | Remodelista

    Above: Octagonal maple Kakudo Cutting Boards are $140 CAD ($124 USD) for the small and $190 CAD ($170 USD) for the large at Mjölk. In Juli and John's kitchen, the boards are standing in a Futagami Brass Cutting Board Holder; $265 at Nala Tanalata.

    Studio Prepa Cut Vase Small at Mjölk | Remodelista

    Above: Studio Prepa's Medium Cut Vase, $140 CAD ($124 USD) at Mjölk, is formed using wooden molds that leave the impression of bark. The look is inspired by Scandinavian Ice Glass, a design style from the 1930s. 

    For another look into the world of Mjölk, see our post on Juli and John's Scandi Cabin Remodel on Lake Huron and their Toronto city guide, A Perfect Day in Toronto. On Gardenista, see a landscape project by Studio Junction in Urban Alchemy in Toronto (Children Included).

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Twentieth-century furniture maker George Nakashima believed that there is a soul in every tree that can continue to live in a piece of furniture. His signature live-edge tables tell the tales of many mighty specimens—and continue to inspire designers today. Here are a dozen favorite live-edge tables in the spirit of the master.

    LIve edge dining table by Mira Nakashima in David Ling Studio, Mathew Williams | Remodelista

    Above: The many contemporary designers carrying on the Nakashima legacy include his own artisan daughter, Mira Nakashima, who runs the George Nakashima studio, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. She made this American black walnut live-edge dining table, a prized piece in Architect David Ling's Eccentric NYC Loft.

    Lived edge dining table in modern glass house | Remodelista

    Above: In a minimalist space, live-edge wood furniture can add an organic warmth. Photograph via Tittys and Pancakes.

    Live edge kitchen table in front of black wall, black floors in Laura Deam's house | Remodelista

    Above: In a Mill Valley, California, kitchen, a live-edge dining table is cantilevered off a marble cooktop. Photograph by Dustin Askland via Dwell.

    Live edge dining table on faded Persian carpet | Remodelista

    Above: A live-edge dining table and a Persian carpet are the anchor pieces in this dining room by Clements Design. Photograph via Domaine Home.

    Lived edge dining table in Ten Broeck by Messana O'Rorke | Remodelista

    Above: New York architects Messana O'Rorke chose a live-edge wood dining table to marry a modernist addition to an 18th-century house. See how the two styles work together in Ten Broeck Cottage.

    Live edge table and bench | Remodelista

    Above: A live-edge dining table with a matching bench in a woodsy winter cabin. Photograph via Aluminex.

    Live edge dining table in garden with black perforated metal cafe chairs on brick paving | Remodelista

    Above: Not all live-edge wood has to be large scale, as illustrated by this narrow urban garden table. Photograph via Kikette Interiors.

    Live edge wood bar at The Musket Room in NYC, Emily Andrews | Remodelista

    Above: A live-edge bar adds an organic note to The Musket Room in New York's Nolita.

    Live edge kitchen island at Aptos Retreat, CCS Architecture | Remodelista

    Above: CCS Architecture of San Francisco applied a live-edge walnut slab as the kitchen island in this Santa Cruz Retreat.

    Live edge wood worktop, Anderson Anderson Architects, Dave Lauridsen | Remodelista

    Above: Raw-edged cypress is supported by hardware-store sawhorses in this prefab concrete house by Anderson Anderson Architecture of San Francisco. Photograph by David Lauridsen via Dwell.

    Live edge desk, Animal Print Shop | Remodelista

    Above: A slab of live-edge wood works well as a desk in a children's room. Photograph via The Animal Print Shop.

    Live edge coffee table on faded Persian carpet, Red leather puff in Estee Stanlee's house | Remodelista

    Above: A live-edge coffee table echoes the curves of a linen-covered chaise in the home of Hollywood's Style Guru Estee Stanley.

    An artisan works with traditional Japanese woodworking techniques in upstate New York — Jessica Wickham and the Art of Woodworking.

    Outfitting a dining room? Take a look at:

    Dining outdoors? See Gardenista's pick for The Perfect Picnic Table. (It's also good indoors.)

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    The perfect replacement for a bulky toaster could very well be this simple contraption from Anzu New York, an online shop specializing in Japanese kitchenware. Reminiscent of popping corn over an open fire, the grill net works by placing it over a gas burner. We can imagine toasting baguette slices, tortillas, and omochi (rice cakes), the grill's intended ingredient.

    Anzu New York Japanese Grill Net with Handle | Remodelista

    Above: The Grill Net with Handle, $65, is made of stainless steel in Kyoto at a metal factory that's been crafting kitchenware for more than 80 years. In addition to its role in the kitchen, it can be used for outdoor camping.

    Anzu New York Japanese Grill Net with Handle | Remodelista

    Above: The net has differing mesh weaves on each side. The finer grate is placed on the fire at a low heat—whatever is being toasted should, as the shop says, "have a chewy texture on the inside but crunchy on the outside."

    Anzu New York Japanese Grill Net with Handle | Remodelista

    Above: An ideal appliance for small kitchens, the grill net hangs flat against the wall.

    Anzu New York is a Remodelista markets alum. For information on the forthcoming Remodelista markets in London (November 15), LA (December 6), and SF (December 13), go to Announcing the Remodelista Markets 2014. For a favorite Tokyo restaurant, see Worth the Trip: Eatrip in Tokyo and find restaurants, cafes, and shops in The Outsider's Guide to Tokyo.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    To be filed under: You can go home again. Designer Makié Yahagi of Makié, in NYC's SoHo, one of our favorite under-the-radar retailers, recently headed back to Tokyo to open an outpost. In New York, her focus has been on charmingly old-school kids' clothes, with a smattering of adult sizes and a small collection of linens and kitchen items. The new shop, we're happy to report, is devoted to housewares and the full Makié lifestyle.

    Photography by Tomoko.

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: The goods at Makié Home, in Shibuya, include Makié's designs and her discoveries from her travels, from Japanese baskets to made-in-Pennsylvania brooms: "For years I've been wanting to introduce to my own country my favorite hunting finds." The shop opened just two weeks ago.

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: Offerings include a Makié pillow made from vintage French ticking, Tampico's linen totes with leather handles, and rabbit fur and merino wool fedoras handmade in France. The outsized white tote is by Khadi & Co.

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: The store is located in Daikanyama Hillside Terrace, a mixed-use complex designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Fumihiko Maki starting in the late 1960s (and continuing on and off for the next 25 years). The compound includes a traditional tea house visible from the store.

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: There are also big-picture views of the shop's lush surroundings. All the fittings, including the trestle tables, were custom made.

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: Lava-like bowls by French ceramic artist Genevieve Chevallier who has an atelier in Paris. "Her inspiration comes from nature—mountains, sun, ocean, air," says Makié. "She's been making and teaching pottery for over 30 years. Her pieces are my favorites in my store."

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: Chevallier's bowls are handy for all kinds of things—Makié also uses them as planters and votive candleholders.

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: In addition to housewares, Makié's signature fashions are on offer in adult sizes. For Makié's many devotees, it's a thrill to see her expanding her universe.

    Wood folding chair by Japanese artist Yonemono at Makié Home in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: A folding chair made from antique German grain-sack fabric by artist Yoneyama of Okayama, Japan.

    Makie Home Shop in Tokyo | Remodelista

    Above: For more details, go to Makié Home. Also see our post Makié Clothier on Thompson Street, and find many of the housewares, accessories, and clothes available online at Makié New York.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Since medieval times, the cast-iron kettle has stood at the center of the traditional Japanese household, steaming on the stove and ready to supply water for tea at a moment's notice. Way ahead of its time in terms of form and efficiency, the tetsubin, as the kettle is known, reigned supreme—until the advent of stainless steel and electric cord varieties in the mid-20th century. Although the newer kettles provide a quicker boil, they lack the same sense of ceremony and comfort, which explains the ongoing popularity of the tetsubin. Here are some notable examples, from age-old to contemporary, to consider for your own stovetop. 

    Five to Buy

    Japanese cast iron kettle from Analogue Life | Remodelista

    Above: The flared silhouette of the Nambu Tekki Kettle looks both ancient and modern; $572.79 at Analogue Life. As with all tetsubins, the interior of the pot should be wiped dry with a cloth to protect the seasoning of the iron and prevent rust.

    Japanese cast-iron Tetu kettle from Nalata | Remodelista

    Above: The Tetu Cast Iron Kettle is $460 at Natala Natala. Some believe that the iron enhances the flavor of the water. 

    Japanese cast-iron kettle from Analogue Life | Remodelista

    Above: The cast-iron construction means that the water retains its heat longer. This traditional Tetsubin by iron craftsman Rikuchou Ogasawara is $145.97 from Analogue Life.

    The Palma cast-iron kettle by Jasper Morrison, made in Japan | Remodelista  

    Above: Jasper Morrison designed the Palma Kettle for Japanese cast-iron company Olgen as part of a post-tsunami initiative to boost traditional industries. Olgen has been manufacturing cast-iron for 160 years and this example celebrates the tetsubin craft while lending it a modern sensibility. It's available for £165 ($266) from Jasper Morrison. See more of his Japanese-made designs in our post Jasper Morrison, Iron Man.

    Staub cast-iron kettle from Williams-Sonoma | Remodelista

    Above: French cast-iron manufacturer Staub's Japanese-influenced Round Tea Kettle is a longtime Remodelista favorite; $160 at Williams-Sonoma.

    Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson is the owner of Ancient Industries and the curator of the Remodelista 100, a collection of everyday essential objects featured in the Remodelista book. Watch for her column every Tuesday, and have a look at her past lessons on iconic designs, including the Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet and Isamu Noguchi's Rice Paper Akari Lights

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Is the platform bed the go-to option for the creative class? Ask any hipster gent which bed he prefers, and you can bet the platform has a spot on his list. For our purposes, we're defining the platform frame strictly as without a headboard or footboard and just a beat or two off the ground. Here are our favorites that fit the definition, all rendered in wood.

    N.B.: Prices quoted are for queen-size frames, unless otherwise noted.

    Philippe Allaeys PA02 Noah Bed Frame | Remodelista

    Above: Philippe Allaeys' PA02 Noah Bed has an extended frame that acts as a shelf at the head and foot. Made of oak in either an oiled or white-pigmented wax finish, it's available at e15; contact for pricing and availability.

    Eastvold Furniture Platform Bed Frame | Remodelista

    Above: The Jackson Platform Bed by Eastvold Furniture is birch plywood with a wash of walnut veneer and has three drawers along its sides (the twin has storage on one side only); $5,740 for at Horne.

    Urban Green Furniture Platform Bed | Remodelista

    Above: Brooklyn workshop Urban Green's maple Calvin Platform Bed is $899 for the king size (other finishes available).

    Katrin Arens Ho Sognato di Te Bed | Remodelista

    Above: Italy-based German designer Katrin Arens makes the Ho Sognato di Te Bed with a custom mattress. For details, see our post A DIY Bed Made from Reclaimed Wood.

    Overstock.com Mahogany Natural Finish Bed Frame | Remodelista

    Above: The simple Solid Mahogany Natural Finish Bed Frame is $247.99 at Overstock.com.

    Mash Studios LAX Platform Bed Frame with Storage | Remodelista

    Above: Mash Studios' LAX Platform Bed with Storage has an English walnut frame with eight rolling drawers and the option of a wall-mounted, floating headboard; $1,890 at Horne.

    West Elm Boerum Bed Frame in Dark Wood | Remodelista

    Above: The Boerum Bed Frame stands 15 inches tall and is made of mango wood in a dark brown finish; $499 at West Elm.

    Niels Bendtsen Frame Bed | Remodelista

    Above: Niels Bendtsen's Frame Bed is produced in British Columbia and available in walnut (shown), wenge, gray oak, and white oak. The legs of the frame are inset to create the impression of a floating frame; $2,449 at Hive Modern.

    Waka Waka Bed Frame with Storage Drawers | Remodelista

    Above: LA-based furniture designer Shin Okuda of Waka Waka creates custom frames, such as this Bed with 4 Drawers and 2 Cubbies of Baltic birch plywood. For more, see our post Tiny Altars: Furniture Inspired by Japanese Temples.

    Ikea Mandal Bed Frame with Storage Drawers | Remodelista

    Above: Ikea's Mandal Bed Frame has four storage drawers and is made primarily of birch; $399.

    Viesso Buden Bed Frame in Bamboo Wood | Remodelista

    Above: The Viesso Buden Bed Base is made in LA of solid bamboo with the option of three different gradients of color stain; $1,872.

    Still searching for the perfect frame? Have a look at our posts:

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    In just four years, Rie and Jay Dion of ceramics studio Atelier Dion have attracted a large and loyal following. Early on, San Francisco cafes placed orders—first Four Barrel, then Sightglass and Bicycle Coffee, a notable turn of events because baristas are a famously fussy crowd. What makes Atelier Dion so special? Their vessels of unglazed clay are designed to enhance coffee drinking. The Dions, both with MFAs from SF's California College of Arts (CCA), concocted bespoke shades of tans and browns to complement the color of coffee. Plus, the clay bodies themselves serve as good insulators, keeping the beverage warm while providing a satisfyingly tactile heft. As Rie says, “Once you get it, you can feel it.”

    Photography by Joe Perez-Green, unless otherwise noted.

    Atelier Dion ceramic mugs for Sightglass Coffee on Remodelista

    Above: Mugs, $35 each, made exclusively for third-wave coffee roaster Sightglass; they're available at the cafe's two SF locations. Photograph via Sightglass.

    Rie and Jay Dion, owners of Atelier Dion, featured on Remodelista

    Above: Rie (left) and Jay Dion met at CCA and used their honeymoon fund to set up shop in West Oakland. Already darlings of local coffee aficionados, they're now an Internet sensation, having just raised $50,000 via a Kickstarter campaign. They plan to spend the funds on a new kiln and press. Photograph via Umami Mart.

    clay mix at Atelier Dion

    Above: Plaster for handmade molds at Atelier Dion.

    Pigments for colored clay at Atelier Dion's studio on Remodelista

    Above: Mason stains are added to the clay to create custom colors. 

    Slipcasting at Atelier Dion's West Oakland studio on Remodelista

    Above: Liquid slip being poured into plaster molds of various sizes, from espresso cups to latte mugs. 

    Hand-carving clay at Atelier Dion's studio in West Oakland on Remodelista

    Above: Rie grew up in Japan and says she developed her appreciation for handmade ceramics at a young age "while eating mom's food." 

    Benji

    Above: Benji, the studio hound, guards new blue-edged mugs.

    ceramic dinnerware by Atelier Dion on Remodelista

    Above: In addition to coffee mugs, Atelier Dion has launched a tableware line called Cobalt. A place setting—platter, plate, and bowl—is $140. 

    tea cups from atelier dion on remodelista

    Above: A trio of Atelier Dion teacups, a limited run with frequent collaborator Umami Mart, in Oakland. Similar Yunomi six-ounce teacups are available at the Japanese kitchenware store for $36 each. For a tour of the boutique, see Japanese Style Comes to Oakland. Photograph via Umami Mart.

    cups from Atelier Dion on Remodelista

    Above: Three-Ounce Color Clay Cups in shades of cream and pink; contact Atelier Dion for details.

    Atelier Dion on Remodelista

    Above: Teacups made in collaboration with Union Made, a general store in SF. These examples are sold out, but similar cups are available from Atelier Dion. Photograph via Union Made.

    ceramics by Atelier Dion on Remodelista

    Above: Molded from soup cans, Atelier Dion Can Cups come in three sizes designed to nest inside each other; $16, $20, and $24 each, at Umami Mart. Photograph via Umami Mart.

    Jay and Rie Dion at Richard Carter's anagama in Pope Valley, CA on Remodelista

    Above: The Dions wood-firing in an anagama, an ancient Japanese pottery kiln, at Richard Carter's Studio, in Pope Valley, California. 

    To see more of the collection and inquire about availability and prices, visit Atelier Dion

    Inspired to start your own collection of handmade ceramics? Browse our Ceramics section. Some of our favorites include:

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    In 2009, Kristin Dickenson opened a tiny shop on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, with the mysterious name Iko Iko (it means "let's go" in Japanese). Since then, Kristin and her partner Shin Okuda have moved twice; first to a space on Fairfax and most recently to a 5,000-square-foot loft in what they're calling Lower Chinatown.

    "The nomadic experience of Iko Iko has let us redefine ourselves with each iteration," says Kristin. From the get-go, the shop has served as a platform for Kristin's clothing line, Rowena Sartin, and Shin's furniture line, Waka Waka. When they moved to their new space, with all its square footage, Kristin and Sin invited sisters Kimberly and Nancy Wu of Building Block, an of-the-moment leather bag company, to join them in creating a collaborative studio and shop.

    The foursome designed the third-floor loft together, a process Kristin says was natural. "We all had an understanding that it needed to be clean, interactive, and reflective. We wanted it to be modular—something that could be moved around every month—with studio space and room for events." The result is a gallery-like space that feels as personal as it does experimental.

    Photography by Michael A. Muller for Remodelista.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The building is more 100 years old and was once the warehouse for the Standard Oil Company before it became the Women's Building in the 1970s. Kristin notes that she found a 1979 inauguration placard inside of the building's safe.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Kristin, Shin, Kimberly, and Nancy painted the floors and walls in bright white to highlight the architectural features of the building itself: industrial windows, a central skylight, and classic pillars. Rowena Sartin Flat Shape Bags in black leather, made by Kristin, stand in a row along the wall. The wooden desk and stool are made by Shin.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The Building Block logo and business card were designed by Zack Seuberling along with Building Block's Nancy Wu, who is also a graphic designer. The Iko Iko logo is by One & Done Studio.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The Italian leather Big Business Bag ($715) from Building Block and a found green glass platform for displaying jewelry.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Shin's Waka Waka Cutting Boards are designed to reflect "a conversation of shapes and handle solutions"; $65 each.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: "Originally, the building had an atrium that was open to the ground floor," says Kristin of the ornamental ceiling addition. "I think they might have added this lattice piece back in the 1980s."

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Shin designed a set of stools of varying heights, all covered in square ceramic tiles.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: A series of houseplants left in their original plastic containers. "I like them in a really generic kind of presentation," says Kristin of the plastic. The plastic drop cloth curtains were meant to be temporary, until Kristin realized how effectively they diffuse the natural light across the space and decided to keep them.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The Waka Waka table and chair series is in the center of the loft.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: A canary melon and citrus casually displayed on a table.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

     Above: An installation of Kishu Binchotan Charcoal purifying water in a carafe.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Along the wall is a group of necklaces by Hanna Keefe that have followed Kristin since the beginning; Iko Iko stocks one-off pieces and represents the artist for wholesale as well. The necklaces range from $220 to $485.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: White pillars came shrink-wrapped and Shin was adamant about keeping them that way. "The green shrink wrap has the coolness of glass; it has a reflective quality that we liked," says Kristin.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

     Above: The wall-mounted sculptures were made by Kristin from reshaped, painted roofing components.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Kristin found the iron table base in a parking lot and Shin sanded it down to use as a display table.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The Waka Waka Switch Back Stool (left) and two Disc Stools (center and right) are $375 each.

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Shin designed a floating Baltic birch plywood step shelf for displaying Kimberly and Nancy's bags. From top: the Disc in Pebbled Black Bag ($325), the Book Clutch ($385), the Cylinder Duffle ($795), and the Fold Messenger Bag ($370).

    Iko Iko and Building Block Store in LA, Photograph by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Another display by Shin incorporates dowel rods for displaying bags and other items.

    Iko Iko is located at 1727 N. Spring Street in Los Angeles and is open Wednesday through Sunday. For those planning a visit, Kristin recommends calling ahead (the shop phone number is 323-719-1079). "The doorbell is broken, so you really have to work for it."

    For more from Kristin and Shin, see our post Shopper's Diary: Iko Iko in Los Angeles about their former shop and Tiny Alters: Furniture Inspired by Japanese Temples. Replicate Kristin's plant life with a download on the best Houseplants over on Gardenista.

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    Have you ever admired the intricate wirework of classic handwoven Japanese cooking utensils, art objects in their own right? We have, so we took note when Tokyo design studio Nendo, in collaboration with Kyoto metal-weaving company Kanaami-Tsuji, released the Basket Lamp. Inspired by the handwoven wire netting of Japanese cooking utensils made by Kyoto artisans for centuries, the pendant lights cast spider-web-like shadows and float ethereally overhead (they're especially appealing when grouped).

    Nendo Basket Lamp from Japan | Remodelista

    Above: Currently the lights are available only through Seibu department stores, in Japan; ¥50,709 (approximately $470).

    Nendo Basket Lamp | Remodelista

    Above: A trio of black powder-coated copper Basket Lamps.

    Nendo Basket Pendant Lamp | Remodelista

    Above: A view from below.

    Nendo Basket Lamp White | Remodelista

    Above: The lamps are also available with a white powder-coated finish.

    Adding new Lighting is an easy way to transform a room. Take a look at these designs (several of them woven):

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    Fresh off the heels of Dark Shadows week and in the midst of our Lessons from Japan issue, we found the perfect DIY project for right now: a dark-as-night tabletop made using the Japanese technique shou sugi ban, in which wood is torched. The project and photos are by blogger Nicole Prestholdt, aka The Felted Fox

    For an introduction to shou sugi ban, visit Dark Wood: Shou Sugi Ban Torched Lumber

    DIY: Charred Wood Tabletop Using Shou Sugi Ban via The Felted Fox | Remodelista

    Above: The finished design has a charred black top and contrasting unfinished sides. (Shou sugi ban was devised as a way to make wood more resistant to fire, water, and insects.) Prestholdt paired her table with white Eames Eiffel Chairs.

    DIY: Charred Wood Tabletop Using Shou Sugi Ban via The Felted Fox | Remodelista

    Above: Prestholdt used prefabricated hairpin legs, a Remodelista favorite, that she spray-painted white. For sourcing, see Hardware: Hairpin Steel Legs from Ian Maclean.

    DIY: Charred Wood Tabletop Using Shou Sugi Ban via The Felted Fox | Remodelista

    Above: The fun part. Prestholdt reports that her husband was uninterested in helping—until he learned he could torch the top. Visit The Felted Fox for Prestholdt's recommended propane torch and tips on DIY wood burning. 

    DIY: Charred Wood Tabletop Using Shou Sugi Ban via The Felted Fox | Remodelista

    Above: The finished table looks silvery gray in some lights, flat black in others. For more photos and step-by-step details, visit The Felted Fox

    While you have your tools out, try these projects:

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    West Coasters, mark your calendars: we're heading to Los Angeles in December for our annual Remodelista Holiday Market at Big Daddy's Antiques on December 6. We'll be packing the warehouse with offerings from our latest lineup of more than 30 local designers and indie shop owners—expect some familiar faces plus plenty of new talent. In addition, this year we are thrilled to announce a dedicated Gardenista section spearheaded by Terrain. Please join us and shop for the holidays—we have you covered both indoors and out.

    Valerie Confections will be there serving coffee and their award-winning sweet and savory treats.

    When: Saturday, December 6, 10 am to 5 pm.

    Where: Big Daddy’s Antiques, 
3334 South La Cienega Place, Los Angeles (one block west of La Cienega Boulevard, off Jefferson Boulevard, near Culver City).

    Valet parking available. Admission is free. 

    LA Remodelista Market 2014

    Fancy a signed copy of the Remodelista book? The event is open to all, but if you RSVP ahead of time, we'll enter you in a drawing to win one of four prizes: 

    • A signed copy of our Remodelista book.
    • A $500 gift certificate from Big Daddy’s.
    • A Seasonal Bud Vase Set from Heath.
    • A gift certificate from Terrain.

    For more details and to RSVP, check out our Remodelista Market page.

    Baum-kuchen, Block Shop, Brendan Ravenhill, Chay, De Jong & Co, Diane Harwood, Edible Gardens LA, Heritage Culinary Artifacts, Huddleson, Ihako, Kathleen Whitaker, Le Feu de L'eau, Lost & Found, The MIA ProjectMini Farm Box, Noon Design Studio, Ola Wearable Verse, Olmay Home, Parfums DelRae, Pope Valley Pottery, Rough LinenScout Regalia, Soup, Speciality Dry Goods, TW Workshop, VanderMolen Ceramics, Voices of Industry, wrk-shp.

    LA Market sponsors

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    Several months after my husband and I and our two kids moved from the US to a space-efficient flat in London, I dragged our contractor into the back of one of our bathrooms to show him a strange, small silver box mounted on the wall and asked if he could remove it. "Not a good idea," he said. "It's your water heater." 

    Long favored in Japan and Europe, where square footage is at a premium, tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand. According to the EPA, residential electric water heaters are the second highest energy users in American households: "The energy consumed by your refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer combined use less energy than your current standard water heater." Tankless water heaters offer big savings in energy use and space. The question is: Can these little units cater to the water-heating needs of larger homes? Read our primer to find out if a tankless water heater should be on your house remodeling or tank replacement short list.

    Michaelis Boyd Architects Bathroom, Remodelista

    Above: A London bathroom by Michaelis Boyd Architects.

    With the help of a demure tankless water heater that barely took up any space in our London flat, four of us bathed, showered, washed clothes, and otherwise ran hot water without ever experiencing shortages or wars over water pressure. 

    What is a tankless water heater, and how does is work?

    Unlike standard water heaters that keep water hot and ready for use at all times in insulated 20- to 80-gallon tanks, tankless models don't store hot water, they heat on demand. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water runs through a pipe into the unit where a flow sensor turns on a gas burner or an electric element to heat the water to the desired temperature. When the hot water tap is closed, the flow sensor turns off the burner. 

    Tankless Water Heater Diagram, Remodelista

    Above: The inner workings of a gas-powered tankless water heater. Image via Better Water Heaters

    How are tankless water heaters powered? 

    Tankless water heaters can be fueled by gas (natural or propane) or electricity. Gas-powered units require venting (just like standard tank heaters). Most gas models also have electronic controls, so an electric outlet is needed. Full electric tankless heaters don't need venting but have minimum voltage and AMP requirements—consult a professional to be sure your power is adequate. 

    Steibel Tempra Plus Electric Tankless Water Heater, Remodelista

    Above: The Steibel Tempra Plus Whole-House Electric Tankless Water Heater doesn't require venting, which allows for location flexibility.

    Are there different types of tankless water heaters? 

    Two types of heaters are generally offered: whole house and point of use. Whole-house systems are powerful enough to generate hot water at flow rates to serve a household. Point-of-use units have low flow rates and are designed to supply hot water for a single appliance or location. These compact contraptions are typically installed directly adjacent to wherever they're needed, such as under a sink; they're most often used to augment a system when instant or additional hot water is needed.

    How much hot water can a tankless heater generate?

    Unlike standard water heaters, which draw on reserves, tankless water heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water. Sound too good to be true? Well, sort of. While the stream of hot water is unlimited, tankless models can only heat and deliver water at a certain flow rate. That output, or capacity, is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). So, while a tankless water heater won't "run out" of hot water like a storage tank can, there may be an issue of not being able to pump out enough hot water for multiple uses at the same time. 

    Faucet with running water, Remodelista  

    Above: A bathroom faucet typically delivers 0.5 to 1.5 gallons per minute of water flow—one of the measurements to keep in mind when figuring out your household's hot water needs. Photograph by Steve Johnson via Flickr.

    What size tankless water heater do I need?

    Tankless water heaters are available with different levels of hot water output (measured in gpm and often referred to, confusingly, as "size"). Correct sizing depends on two factors: the level of water flow needed to supply your home and the temperature of the ground water. 

    Water Flow: The level of water flow required depends on what and how many appliances and faucets you have, and whether they're used simultaneously. You can add up the flow rates of these items to calculate your needs. Consult Home Depot's Water Heater Buying Guide for a useful chart of typical flow rates for appliances and faucets. For example, running a shower (typically 1.5 to 2 gpm), a dishwasher (1.5 to 3 gpm), and a bathroom faucet (0.5 to 1.5 gpm) at the same time requires a total gpm capacity of 3.5 to 6.5 gpm.  

    Speakman Shower Head, Remodelista

    Above: Advancements in whole-house tankless heaters have raised their gpm capacities—many now offer flow rates with top-end capacities of 6 to 11 gallons per minute. Photograph via Speakman

    Bosch Compact Front Loading Washer and Dryer, Remodelista

    Above: Another solution for high-gpm needs is setting up two connected tankless water heaters, or pairing an individual heater with a water-consuming appliance, such as a washing machine, essentially taking it off the family water grid. Photograph via Bosch.

    Ground Water Temperature: Another factor in tankless water heater output is the temperature of the ground water that feeds the input pipes. Where you live matters. Colder ground water takes longer to heat, which in turn affects speed and flow of the hot water coming out of your faucets.

    Steibel Tankless Water Heater Groundwater Temperature Map, Remodelista  

    Above: Nearly every manufacturer's website has charts indicating the tank power required by geographic location and gpm needs (often simplified to equal the number of bathrooms in the house). Image via Steibel

    Noritz tankless water heater, Remodelista  

    Above: Some manufacturers, such as Japanese company Noritz, are adding built-in recirculation pumps to move water more quickly from the heater to its destination. Speeding up warm water arrival means less water waste.  

    How compact are tankless water heaters?

    Space savings is one of the biggest advantages of tankless water heaters. Unlike their 5-foot-tall, 24-inch-wide monolithic cousins that demand substantial real estate in a home (sometimes their own room), tankless units are wall-mounted and typically measure in at a demure 1.5 feet tall, 24 inches wide, and 9 inches deep.

    Noritz Tankless Water Heater in Bathroom Closet, Remodelista

    Above: Tankless water heaters can be installed discreetly in a closet, cabinet, or room without taking up valuable floor space. To maximize hot water delivery, consider installing the system near where it will be used most or in a centralized spot. Photograph via Noritz

    Are tankless water heaters more efficient than the standard tank variety?

    Yes. A drawback of standard tanks is the energy used to keep the water hot at all times, otherwise known as “standby losses.” Tankless water heaters eliminate these heat losses. The EPA estimates that tankless water heaters offer a 35 to 40 percent energy savings over high-efficiency storage tank heaters.

    How much do tankless water heaters cost? 

    The initial outlay for a tankless water heater is substantial, averaging about $1,000 to $1,200 for a whole-house unit. This is compared with about $300 to $500 for a standard tank heater, but is priced similarly to, even a bit less expensive than, high-efficiency tanks, which run in the $1,500 range. 

    While the upfront costs are high, they're offset by the higher life expectancy of the units over standard tank models and the savings in energy costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years, double that of storage tanks. They also have easily replaceable parts, which extends their life by many more years. The savings in energy costs are real but far from life-changing: They're estimated at $90 per year in an average household. The EPA offers an energy cost calculator for personalized assessments.

    Noritz Tankless Water Heater in Garage, Remodelista

    Above: A Noritz tankless water heater mounted on a garage wall. 

    Who makes tankless heaters? Not surprisingly two leaders in the tankless water heater market are Japanese companies: Rinnai and Noritz. Other manufacturers include Steibel and Bosch (both from Germany), and Rheem, AO Smith, and EcoSmart in the US. 

    Tankless Water Heater Recap

    Pros

    • Space savings
    • Increased energy efficiency
    • Lower operating costs
    • Long life
    • Constant temperature output
    • Endless supply of hot water

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • May not generate enough output for high-use homes
    • Electric controls mean no hot water if power outage

    With winter approaching, here's more recommended reading: 

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    The Scenario: Fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi launch their minimalist-chic clothing line Black Crane in 2008. Not long after that, the two—Japanese transplants who met in LA nearly 20 years ago—decide it's time to go looking for their dream house. They picture a modernist Schindler classic with views and acres—but happily settle for a tree-shaded 1948 bungalow in Pasadena built by the seller and his son. 

    The Challenge: Untouched for decades, the 1,200-square-foot house is gloom-central inside and just about every inch needs tending. "It was bad," says Momo, "a true fixer."

    The Solution: Momo and Alex's design skills, they discover, translate well to interiors. With help from a construction crew, they re-tailor the place themselves, removing walls, replacing windows with French doors, installing a new bath, and generally infusing the rooms with a look that's equal parts midcentury modern and Japanese serene.

    Top Takeaway: 1. "You can change the interior, but not the location," says Momo—so choose a setting that you like. 2. A limited budget forces you to be resourceful. "There are always tons of approaches you can take to a remodel, but we had to be very mindful of costs. We discovered that sometimes you find a better solution by respecting the current condition of the space." 3. Let 'simple and functional' be your mantra. 

    Photography by Kikuko Usuyama.

    Momo Suzuki of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA, photo by Kikuko Usuyama | Remodelista

    Above: Momo wears a Black Crane dress. She says their house and fashion are both all about easy, relaxed design that "eliminates the unnecessary." 

    Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguch of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA, photo by Kikuko Usuyama | Remodelista

    Above: In the kitchen the couple added new walnut counters and shelves, and relocated existing wall cabinets to nearly ceiling height to lend an airiness. They also introduced new brass hardware to the windows and cupboards. Originally hoping to replace the linoleum floor with organically shaped terracotta tiles, they instead used slate—"it was a third of the price." They're contemplating extending the slate partially up a wall.

    Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA, photo by Kikuko Usuyama | Remodelista

    Above: "We like to have long, leisurely breakfasts, enjoying the views of the big oak trees around the house," says Momo. Here they're shown at their eight-foot-long table—"chosen to emphasize an open feeling"—with chairs by Arne Hovmand-Olsen.

    Momo and Alex both made their way to the States as teens—she in pursuit of environmental art studies and he as a professional surfer (who subsequently became a graphic designer and then launched his own eponymous fashion line, the men's wear companion to Black Crane). The collector of the family, Alex stalks Scandinavian and Dutch midcentury arcana from foreign vendors on eBay.

    Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA | Remodelista

    Above: "This is how we spend our weekends: My husband likes to take care of all the plants while I read magazines." They were able to remove the wall between the dining and living rooms by installing a wooden support beam—one of the most involved (and costly) maneuvers of the remodel. They also cut out a window above the sofa to connect the public and private parts of the house.

    LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The couple's favorite corner of the living room features a Serge Mouille light and a ceramic wall tile installation by Stan Bitters, an LA sculptor who got his start in the sixties and is still going strong.

    LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The living room is furnished with Alexander's finds. The daybed is by A. R. Cordemeier and the credenza is from Dutch designer Cees Braakman's 1950s Japanese series. "Eventually we want to build a super-long counter along the window wall," Momo says. The oak flooring is original—"fortunately all we had to do was re-sand and add one clear coat." The windows, too, are original "with some new brass hardware to sharpen the look."

    Japanese wood sculpture in the LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A wooden threesome: sculptures by Hideki Takayama and Alma Allen, and a piece of cork, a souvenir from a trip to Corsica.

    Stan Bitters tile and Alma Allen bronze bowl in the LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A tile by Stan Bitters and a bronze bowl by Alma Allen.

    Midcentury ceramics in the LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A collection of midcentury ceramics on another Cees Braakman cabinet from his Japanese series.

    The LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: To connect indoors and out, Momo and Alexander installed several sets of French doors, including at the entry, shown here (where they replaced a single wood door). After puzzling over how to afford French doors, they used wood-framed windows, $200 a panel, from Home Depot and stained the wood themselves. A friend at Hot Metal Soup, in New York, made the front handles.

    Front entry in the LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A teak and oak chair by Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen and hanging coat rack in the entry. For similar polished teak and chrome racks, see Amsterdam Modern in LA.

    Master bedroom in the LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The master bedroom overlooks a "green curtain," thanks to newly installed French doors. The bedding is from Remodelista favorite Matteo and the white curtains are from Ikea: "You don't need to spend much for everything—we mix high quality with reasonable items; it creates a good balance."

    The LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: Momo and Alex keep the house largely pattern- and color-free to maintain Zen calm—but fill it with sculptural shapes, such as these hanging hats.

    Overhauled master bath in the LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A window removed from the guest room was put to use in the overhauled bathroom. The couple found a bathtub they liked in a showroom and then tracked down the same model online for less. "We wanted to have a view from the tub, so we moved the bath to the window wall." They had the mirror fabricated by a local frame shop and then finished it to match their walnut counter. Adds Momo, "Because the space is small, we wanted it to feel more like a room than a bathroom, so we added tile only  to the shower area—we bought discontinued subway tile for 99 cents a square foot." 

    LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The toughest design decision? "Figuring out the exterior color for the house," says Momo. "Always make sure to test it out on a big patch of wall." They don't remember the brand or shade they went with, but are pleased with the choice, which they call "gray forest."

    The LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: "We're preserving the wildness of our yard—it's nice to come home from our office downtown and see this." Go to  Black Crane and Alexander Yamaguchi for their latest collections.

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    Japanese company Karimoku has been producing furniture in the Aichi Prefecture for the past 70 years. In 2009, in reaction to the loss of Japanese forests in central Japan, Karimoku launched the New Standard Collection. The line of furniture is made from hardwood harvested from low-diameter trees, an underutilized set of trees that are most often used for wasteful paper pulp.

    Working with this type of hardwood calls for an inventive design strategy: Designers at Karimoku use Japanese joinery to refit the wood into new forms, and they aren't shy when it comes to washes of pastel color. The collection is available online and at ABC Carpet & Home in NYC.

    Karimoku Furniture from Japan | Remodelista

    Above: The Cocktail Table, made from individual pieces of chestnut, is shaped like a barrel with a polygon top; shown here in pink. Available in natural for $995 at ABC Home and in pink at Scholten & Baijings.

    Karimoku New Standard Wood Table | Remodelista

    Above: Two natural cocktail tables in differing widths and heights.

    Karimoku New Standard Stacked Shelf | Remodelista

    Above: The Three-Row Shelving Unit was inspired by wood shipping pallets. The shelf has nine separate rows of storage and can be used as a console or a sideboard when set on the floor or as a bookshelf attached to the wall; $1,595.

    Karimoku New Standard Dining Table | Remodelista

    Above: The Karimoku New Standard Dining Table, like the cocktail table, is made from separate pieces of wood using Japanese joinery technique. The table is currently on sale for $2,335.50.

    For more wood furniture, see our posts:

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    Months ago, I spotted an indigo patchwork quilt hanging in the home of Swedish stylist Lotta Agaton. It looked to me like an abstract painting, and I've been wanting one ever since. The textile, I've since discovered, is a Japanese classic called a boro.

    Several online searches led me to the man to talk to: Stephen Szczepanek, a Brooklyn collector and dealer specializing in antique Japanese folk textiles.

    "Boro is a term that describes patched and mended fabrics,” explained Szczepanek. Japanese boro textiles (usually clothing and bed covers) were sewn from rags and patches of indigo-dyed cotton during the 19th and early 20th century. The rural population of Japan couldn't afford new clothing and had to literally make ends meet by patching together discarded cotton rags. Japanese families repaired and recycled everything from fisherman’s jackets to futon covers, handing them down for generations. During Japan's industrialization in the early 20th century, the patchwork practice faded and a lot was simply thrown away—"they reminded people of poverty and hard times," says Szczepanek. But now, almost a century later, boro have made a comeback, this time as decorative textiles.

    Lotta-Agaton-Living-room-Wall-Boro2-Remodelista

    Above: The inspiration: A Japanese boro patterns a wall in Lotta Agaton's Stockholm living room. 

    Home of Stephen Szczepanek Boro Hanging on the Wall I Remodelista

    Above: A wall-hung quilt at Sri, the by-appointment gallery and online store that Stephen Szczepanek runs out of his Brooklyn apartment. 

    Boro textiles via Sri I Remodelista

    Above L and R: More examples from SriBoro, which translates as "tattered cloth," is most commonly found as futon covers, quilts, and fisherman’s jackets. 

    Japanese Boro Textiles on display at Domaine de Boisbuchet I Remodelista

    Above: Last year, Domaine de Boisbuchet, a 19th-century French chateau owned by design curator and collector Alexander von Vegesack, presented some of Szczepanek's Japanese textiles in an exhibit called "Boro: The Fabric of Life." 

     

    Above: Richard Ostell, one of our favorite New York designers, has a few Antique Japanese Boro available at his online store, starting at $250. 

    Boro via Domain-de-Boisbuchet Exhibit I Remodelista

    Above: Japanese textiles can be sourced via 1st Dibs and Etsy. Boro prices range from $200 to $8,000, depending on quality, condition, and size. Photograph via Domaine de Boisbuchet.

    For more Textile Inspiration, browse our Photo Gallery. And see all our Design Sleuths.The latest include:

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