Renovation: Serene Kyoto House

WORDS Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES Eiji Kitada for atelier Luke

A post-war terraced house in Japan’s beautiful Kyoto city has been transformed into a modern retreat inspired by traditional aesthetics.

The home, named Ichijoji House, was redesigned by atelier Luke, a design studio based in Osaka, which worked in collaboration with artisans from across the country to ensure the project made proper use of traditional techniques and finishes throughout the space.

Honouring tradition was key for Australian architect Luke Hayward. “International homebuyers are enthusiastic to modernise their homes, but at the same time don’t want to erase traditional Japanese design elements. It’s immensely satisfying to see this respect for tradition, and through design create balance and contrast with modern approaches to living.”

The house was originally built in 1961 and formed part of a block consisting of four separate homes. While the renovation was indeed extensive, each element throughout the space has been carefully hand finished using traditional techniques, including the wallpaper, floorboards and joinery.

While the original design saw the ground floor used for living areas and the upper level for private rooms, the redesign sees this reversed. What was once the kitchen on the ground level has been converted into a traditional Japanese bedroom, complete with tatami mats, handmade wallpaper and shoji screens. A screened courtyard gives the space an indoor/outdoor feel.

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