As opposed to houses back home in Canada, ours here does not have central heating. The weather in Tokyo doesn't warrant such a powerful system, and yet we didn't want to rely solely on air conditionners to heat the house. So we opted for "yuka danbo" or underfloor heating. As soon as we started using it, we knew this was one of the best decision we made about the house: it is simply amazing!
All through winter, we did not use the airconditioner on the first floor and hardly ever upstairs. The kids don't feel the cold anyways, and since we use down comforters, there's really no need for heating during the night. An extra layer, comfy slipper boots and a nice hot water bottle did the trick for me!
Efrain also finished the area to the right of the stairs to the main door, where we have our water meter. The stones had to be cut to fit just right.
Now we still need to get some green to liven up our front area!