Sunday, August 24, 2014

One of the most beautiful houses in Tokyo, and about a serious case of house envy



Tonight in Tokyo, living a Travelife, a group of long-time friends got together at someone's home for dinner.

I hadn't seen most of these friends in years as I'm hardly ever in Tokyo anymore, and everyone else is just as busy travelling as I am.



The owners of the home where we got together, for instance, actually live in Manhattan, but they keep a beautiful home in Tokyo and an equally lovely home in Mount Fuji for the times they're here.

Their homes have made it to the pages of the international design magazines, including Architectural Digest.

Scroll down to read more...





CATCHING UP WITH OLD FRIENDS

This summer, they're only here for three weeks.

So it was very nice to just sit around the table and catch up in a relaxed way.

We even had a wine master at the dinner, who curated the wines and spoke to us about the joys of Chateauneuf du Pape. This happens to be one of my favourites, but even I had never heard of the wines he brought for us tonight, which were basically garage wines with very limited quantity.

Two of the bottles were especially lovely, although one, a 2008, is now completely out of stock.



HOUSE ENVY IN TOKYO

And speaking of homes, I don't usually have house envy in Tokyo, frankly; but I had a serious case of house envy tonight. The house I had dinner in has got to be one of the most finely done homes in Japan today.

By Tokyo standards, it's massive as well, with its own private elevator and an amazing rooftop terrace with a great view of Tokyo.



PERFECTION IN DESIGN

This couple had built their home from scratch in the center of Tokyo, and every single finishing and item here was custom made to perfection -- and with incredible taste.

Japanese materials and craftsmanship are the best in the world, hands down. The finishing is really done to perfection here.

The only problem is that it's so fabulously expensive to have anything custom-made in Japan, especially when you're talking about a four-storey house in central Tokyo's most expensive real estate area.




A DINING ROOM I WANT TO HAVE

But when budgets are no object, the result is something like the house I was in tonight. I wish I'd taken photos, but someone's privacy is involved.

Let me just describe one aspect of the dining room, which is modern and industrial, but with touches of Japan for warmth.

It's not my usual type of room, but I just loved this.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

MOROCCO



IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS

On one wall, there was a monotone Japanese landscape that filled the entire space.

"This is beautiful," I said to the owner.

"It's the work of a Japanese photographer, which I had blown up over several panels on washi paper to soften it," he replied.

I commented: "That's so clever." The washi paper really gave the gigantic landscape photo an intimate and ethereal effect.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

SOUTH AFRICA


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Then he added: "But installing it was not as easy as it seems. The washi paper was actually hard to apply, so we had to paste each large panel onto metal frames and seal them with magnets."

This high-tech process was obviously worth it as this dining room is just beautiful in a very understated way.

This is the kind of tedious attention to detail that went into everything in this beautiful house, giving me so many new ideas on another enjoyable Sunday evening in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.






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