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Kitchen of the Week: A Finely Tuned Kitchen in Kobe by a Thoughtful Japanese Workshop

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Kitchen of the Week: A Finely Tuned Kitchen in Kobe by a Thoughtful Japanese Workshop

February 8, 2018

A few years back we discovered the Japanese equivalent of Plain English and Henrybuilt: KitoBito (“trees and people”), a custom kitchen design company inspired by traditional Japanese techniques and—even more appealingly—made without the use of nails or screws. (For our original post, see Built to Last: Joinery Kitchens by KitoBito of Japan.) The workshop is run by Masayuki Yoneto, an expert in joinery (specifically, mortise and tenon joints), and his wife, Michiko, herself schooled in the art of fine woodworking, in the small town of Misaki in Okayama prefecture. “How comfortable it is to have a cozy place to calm down,” they say, as a motto of sorts. “Let’s make such a kitchen for ourselves and our family.” Today we’re visiting their serene Joinery Kitchen in a young couple’s new build in Kobe, artful details and expert joinery included. Let’s take a look.

Photography by Yoko Inoue, courtesy of KitoBito.

Kitchen of the Week A Finely Tuned Kitchen in Kobe by a Thoughtful Japanese Workshop  KitoBito&#8\2\17;s main aim in this project: making the millwork feel less like kitchen cabinets and more like furniture. The lower cabinets are made of oak sourced from Akita, Japan. Knots and imperfections are celebrated: &#8\2\20;The thick and white parts of the trees, they are the witness that the tree lived in the forest,&#8\2\2\1; the company says. For efficient storage, the company installed drawers, rather than cupboards, throughout.
Above: KitoBito’s main aim in this project: making the millwork feel less like kitchen cabinets and more like furniture. The lower cabinets are made of oak sourced from Akita, Japan. Knots and imperfections are celebrated: “The thick and white parts of the trees, they are the witness that the tree lived in the forest,” the company says. For efficient storage, the company installed drawers, rather than cupboards, throughout.

Note also the multitiered Japanese fridge at right, with separate sections that keep items like vegetables and meats at different temperatures.

Kitchen of the Week A Finely Tuned Kitchen in Kobe by a Thoughtful Japanese Workshop The kitchen has stainless steel counters—made by hand with a vibration finish that gives it a matte, rather than shiny, look—and a backsplash of white subway tile. The millwork conceals a small scale dishwasher. Note the slim drawer beneath the stovetop: It&#8\2\17;s a fish grill, common in Japan in place of a full oven.
Above: The kitchen has stainless steel counters—made by hand with a vibration finish that gives it a matte, rather than shiny, look—and a backsplash of white subway tile. The millwork conceals a small-scale dishwasher. Note the slim drawer beneath the stovetop: It’s a fish grill, common in Japan in place of a full oven.
Kitchen of the Week A Finely Tuned Kitchen in Kobe by a Thoughtful Japanese Workshop Shelves and a built in tool rail hang above the stainless steel sink. S hooks corral tools and mugs.
Above: Shelves and a built-in tool rail hang above the stainless steel sink. S-hooks corral tools and mugs.

Above: The kitchen showcases Masayuki’s masterful knowledge of joinery. The drawers were handmade at the KitoBito workshop and hold trays of flatware.

Kitchen of the Week A Finely Tuned Kitchen in Kobe by a Thoughtful Japanese Workshop The kitchen and the adjacent dining area in a neutral palette. The Joinery Kitchen design is customizable (the stainless steel counters can be replaced with marble, for example); note that fixtures and appliances—such as the stove, faucet, dishwasher, and range hood—are not included. Contact KitoBito for more information.
Above: The kitchen and the adjacent dining area in a neutral palette. The Joinery Kitchen design is customizable (the stainless steel counters can be replaced with marble, for example); note that fixtures and appliances—such as the stove, faucet, dishwasher, and range hood—are not included. Contact KitoBito for more information.

Getting ready to design a kitchen? Start with our Remodeling 101 posts. For more international custom kitchens, see:

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