Past GBM Participant Looking Forward to 2009
Posted by Jim Ivanoff
July 7th, 2009
Last week I visited an architect/ builder who took part in the 2007 GBM. Since then he has come to several of our in-market events and visited our members at the Japan Home Shows and Nikkei Shows. Through these interactions he has come to use a variety of BC products on his projects.
A good example of his work is an eel restaurant that just happened to be down the street from his office. He took me there for lunch and a tour.
The restaurant takes up the first three floors of the building with the owner's home taking up the 4th and 5th floors. It is quite typical for the family to live above traditional restaurants like this in Japan, but I haven't seen many made as extravagantly as this one. The restaurant has obviously done well and having eaten there I can see why!
In front of the 1st floor restaurant windows, there is a traditional style garden beautifully made to fit in the cramped space. Continuing with this theme, as you walk towards the entrance there is a hinoki water-wheel and then a water fountain made up of eel baskets. The baskets sit on top of WRC decking so the aroma of cedar fills-up the entrance way as it gets wet. This is a nice touch that helps you mentally separate yourself from the concrete jungle outside as you walk in.
How's this for using dimension lumber as a decorative material?
The interior of the first floor is pretty standard for a restaurant. The fun really starts on the 2nd floor. Here the architect has built a house inside the house! It looks great and the interior of this "room" is a modern take on a traditional Japanese look. The "spooned" pine flooring is also a nice touch (probably from Europe) that seems to be popular on such projects recently.
How's this for a step! This fine piece of wood is actually Japanese sugi (cedar). As you can see it leads into a large, traditional Japanese style party room. However, it is again a modern take on the concept as there are actually chairs around the table to make it easier for old people to sit down and take part. The chairs are lower than normal though. To withstand the dragging/movement of chairs, the room uses a special carpeting/flooring imported from the US instead of tatamis.
Moving to the living quarters, we find high-quality Canadian cabinetry, interior doors, flooring, and moulding (unfortunately I couldn't take a lot of pictures here out of respect for the family's privacy). The architect also decided to use Interstyle's unique glass tile as borders around the kitchen, fireplace, and plasma TV. At night these tiles are backlit for a really cool effect.
I really liked this project as it showed how you can creatively use a variety of different materials even on a building as traditionally Japanese as an eel restaurant.
After learning about the possibilities of timberframe homes in Japan at the BC Wood pavilion during the rec
ent Nikkei show, the archi
tect is very excited to be going to Whistler again and learning about new designs and products.