Structural Storage in a Smart and Skinny Home by

Issue 89 · Get Organized · September 12, 2013

Structural Storage in a Smart and Skinny Home

Issue 89 · Get Organized · September 12, 2013

Working with only 1,000 square feet of living space on three floors in Itami, Japan, Yo Shimada of Tato Architects works the classic Japanese Smart and Skinny with his own set of tools, two well-positioned staircases and built-ins that behave like furniture. 

Two separate staircases in one small 11-foot-wide house may seem illogical and space-hogging until you see the careful choreography Shimada executes as the placement of each staircase in the middle of the rooms creates functional and open spaces on both sides, allowing architectural elements (stairs, laundry space, closets and handrails) to seemingly dance by under the guise of furniture.

Photography by Koichi Torimura and first seen on Dezeen.

Itami House by Tato Architects, open metal stair | Remodelista

Above: An open metal stair between the second and third floor means the second floor can feel like one open loft space.

Itami House by Tato Architects, floating wood dining room table | Remodelista

Above: The stair from the first floor to the second separates the kitchen from the dining room. 

Itami House by Tato Architects, floating wood table | Remodelista

Above: The dining room table floats over the stair opening and becomes a work surface in the kitchen. 

Itami House by Tato Architects, wood cabinets and stainless steel counter | Remodelista

Above: The kitchen has the efficiency of a galley kitchen without feeling closed in.

Itami House by Tato Architects, floating wood table, open metal stair | Remodelista

Above: The structural handrail supports the dining room table. 

Itami House by Tato Architects, floating wood table, open metal stair | Remodelista

Above: The view from the kitchen to the living area shows a narrow storage cupboard.

Itami House by Tato Architects, chest of drawers as stairs | Remodelista

Above: A coffee table and a set of drawers that appear to be pulled out from a dresser act as treads. 

Itami House by Tato Architects, white walls, wood table, wood cabinets | Remodelista

Above: The emphasis in the small space is on openness. 

Itami House by Tato Architects, wood deck | Remodelista

Above: The metal stair splits the floor plan into neatly allocated zones on either side. 

Itami House by Tato Architects, wood deck | Remodelista

Above: The deck is open to the sky while reading as an seamless extension of the third floor.

IItami House by Tato Architects, floating wood table | Remodelista

Above: The open storage of the kitchen becomes the glazed wall of a stairwell.

Itami House by Tato Architects, floating wood table | Remodelista

Above: By using the dining table as a bridge, the stair opening is integrated into the space.

Itami House by Tato Architects, wood closet as stairs | Remodelista  

Above: The stair descends into a closet full of drawers for storage.

Itami House by Tato Architects, wood closet as stairs| Remodelista

Above: The closet/stair does not reach the ceiling allowing light from above to come down.

Itami House by Tato Architects, corrugated metal | Remodelista

Above: The closet/house is wrapped in corrugated metal.

Itami House by Tato Architects, 3-D drawing | Remodelista

Above: A 3-D model of the house and its level changes.

Intrigued by living in an tall and narrow house? See 10 Favorites: Smart and Skinny Houses in Japan for more. 



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