25 July 2011

Handcrafted Lights

     One of the highlights of this project was the discovery of the handcrafted lamp shop LampLampWhile seaching online for the perfect lights, and obviously not finding anything to my liking in the big name catalogs, I came across LampLamp and was immediately taken by the original style of the lighting featured in their online catalog.

    The shop is located in Takao, outside the usual showroom route, but well worth the detour. The cheerful owner, Sakou Daisuke, who  incidentally speaks English and some French, explained how he started making his own lamps out of a desire to decorate his own family home with beautiful, unique fixtures.  Very impressive!

      On display in the elegant French-style boutique were a number of lamps I immediately fell in love with! 

     This chandelier, for instance, is simply stunning...  Unfortunately, we have already purchased our chandelier, but if we find we are not pleased with it, this beautiful item will become our Dining Room Chandelier.

     The online catalog photos do not do justice at all to this amazing collection of lamps!  When I mentioned this to Sakou-san, he explained that taking nice pictures of lights is really difficult.  I totally agree.

     My purchase was this bead lamp that is sold either as a finished lamp or as a do-it-yourself kit.  Naira and I assembled the beads and put the lamp together in a few hours.

But we didn't get to see the result until last Saturday!

This is perhaps one of my favorite features of the house...

18 July 2011

Scaffolding down!

     A major event late last week: the scaffolding was taken down! Finally!
From this side, it feels like the house occupies so much of the land, but that's because we have a walled-in terrace.  I kinda feel sorry for our our neighbour that our house is blocking the view, but that is a common occurrence in Japan as houses are built so close to each other.

    The main door hasn't been installed yet; that will probably be done at the final stages.  We still don't have a balcony either, but presumably this and the deck will be installed this week.

     We walked around the house to get a feel for the space available.  There isn't much!  But we'll do our best with what we have...


Our EcoJozu water heater was installed at the back of the house.  The exterior units of some of our air conditionners will also be set at the back shortly.


     On the left side of the house, there is pretty much no space to walk around between our house and the wall.

     The exterior work will start shortly to complete our stairs to the main door and to the side door. We've decided to use tiles and cement painted white for the main stairs.  We are now debating whether to go ahead with elaborate landscaping in front of the house or try DIY to cut on costs and take the time to evaluate our preferences...  Will be visiting J-mart soon!

17 July 2011

Lights up!

     This week, the lights, the fire alarms, the electronic door key and other such electrical stuff were delivered and supposed to be installed prior to inspection. 

     Things started to move quickly but unfortunately, on the day of the inspection, the scaffolding was still up and the electricity wasn't connected, so understandably our inspector was a bit ruffled.  A new date was set to finalize the inspection next week.

     The plumber also came by, judging from the fact that the sinks and faucets were all installed when we visited. 

Still missing the mirror in the bathroom though...

     But we now have our Inax toilet!  It just hasn't been plugged in yet, and the remote and other accessories still need to be installed.  We've just realized that we should have put the ventilation unit higher up on the wall though, but you're bound to make a few mistakes here and there when planning a house. 

A few doors had also been added, including the door to the loft.

Looking good...  More on the exterior soon.

11 July 2011

Exterior & Interior Paint

     Painting inside the house is progressing well.  When we visited yesterday, we noticed most rooms had been done, except for the loft.  In some areas, second coatings were still needed.

     We had spent so much time debating other aspects of the house that when we had to decide on color, we were a bit out of breath.  We made our selections based on teeny-tiny samples from Nippon Paint's color wheel.  A bit of a gamble, but we still managed to get tones that we enjoy...

     In the kitchen the cabinets were painted, although it seems here that another coating is still needed to match the inner part which is made of melamine.

The Kitchen Island is coming along very well.
The pulls (ツマミ)and handles have not been installed yet.

     We were finally able to get a preview of the exterior finish of the house.  The white Jolipate finish we chose was not as white as we had thought, but we still liked it.

     Jolipate (ジョリパット) comes in a container and is apparently
sprayed onto the exterior walls.

That day, our exterior moldings were being painted.   Lots of windows to cover...

     This week, we expect the deck and balcony to be installed and the lights as well. Should be nice to see how things fit together.  Also coming up this week is the visit of an inspector to see if the house meets regulation standards.

4 July 2011

Sanding and Painting

     It was exciting to see paint buckets in front of our house last week-end.  Maybe we'd get a peak preview of our color choices!

     As we entered, we noticed the house was full of sand.  We learned that to prepare the plasterboard for paint, just applying putty won't cut it.  The walls need to be carefully sanded to hide imperfections.  No power tools used here; just your old sandpaper holder and a lot of attention to detail.


     The 2F had already been prepped for painting, and we did get a preview of our painted ceilings.  This was just the base coat though.

     The cabinets in the Master Bedroom had already been given one coat of paint.  We are happy to have chosen that shade of light blue-grey!

Although the Pale Lilac  our daughter had selected for her bedroom seemed like it was too pale, the result was actually quite pleasing. 

We took the advice of our resourceful head painter Suzuki-san (yes, yet another Suzuki-san!) who recommended that we tone down the accent mauve that we had selected for one wall.  He seems to know a lot about colors and we are very appreciative of his advice.

He also found that the accent blue our son had selected for his bedroom was a bit wishy-washy, so he tried mixing blues to get the right tone.  Unhappy with the results, he mentioned he would order another shade of blue and try to get just the right contrast.  Thanks!
     This week also, the tiles in the powder room and toilet were installed. Pale grey tiles with light-colored grout and pale blue-green walls: seems like we made a good choice there too. 
     The good thing about paint is that it's easy to redo in case you feel like a change.  Imagine changing wallpaper...
     The exterior work which had been slightly delayed is set to resume today, so things are likely to move real fast from now on.
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