April 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

Dreams of Kyoto provide inspiration for custom home

6 min read

Kanvi Homes designs a home reflecting couple’s love of Japanese and Scandinavian styles.

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They opted to go custom in Cavanagh.

They also decided to skip the starter home and head straight to their dream home.

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But they didn’t stop there as they made sure their new home would transport them back to one of their favourite destinations: Kyoto, Japan.

“With all the hustle and bustle with their respective businesses they knew that having a space to stay grounded and rejuvenate was a top priority when they are at home,” said Chris Chiu, sales manager for Kanvi Homes, which built the couple’s ultimate living space.

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Chiu, whose friendship with the couple dates back to his own wedding — the couple were the wedding photographers — is speaking on their behalf as they prefer not to be identified. He notes that the couple knew he was with Kanvi, and since they had already been drawn to other Kanvi homes, it made sense to take the next steps.

Having previously lived in a south side townhome for 10 years, Chiu said those next steps occurred when they found and fell in love with a lot in the southwest neighbourhood of Cavanagh. Not only did that lot back onto a ravine, it also faces ample green space from the front. Then add in their business travel requirements — Cavanagh is about a 15-minute or so drive to the airport — and the desire to be close to extended family, and this all but sealed the deal.

Inspired Japanese

With a location locked in, and a builder known for its modern take on homes as well as custom builds, the couple sat down with Kanvi and revealed their interest on a Japanese take for a new Edmonton home.

“One of the special places in the couple’s travels and one that continues to resonate with them is Kyoto, Japan,” said Chiu, explaining that it was their honeymoon destination, and since their wedding they have kept returning to Kyoto, sometimes for personal leisure, other times for work assignments.

“Every time they planned their stay in traditional wooden houses, called machiya, which have been around for hundreds of years,” added Chiu. “There is a sense of tranquility, calmness and simplicity with their integration of natural elements and lighting with their home design.”

That translated into a unique build for Kanvi, which would ultimately combine three of its more popular models: the Hybrid, the Fusion and the Onyx. The foyer and primary suite were adapted from the Hybrid, the kitchen and dining spaces came from the Fusion while the upstairs bonus/music room can be traced back to the Onyx.

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The Finished Product

At 3,285 square feet, this two-storey home has a dropped mudroom entry, a custom kitchen design with appliance panel overlays creating a seamless continuous look, and upper skylights in the tech loft, highlighted with vinyl plank to match the floors.

The main floor comes in at 1,447 square feet and includes two dens and a laundry room. The upstairs, at 1,838 sq. ft., houses three bedrooms, each with its own walk-in closet, a music nook, bonus room, and tech zone. A Jack-and-Jill bathroom connects the two secondary bedrooms while the primary ensuite is equipped with floating back-to-back vanities.

Some specific Japanese characteristics incorporated into the home are:

  • Sliding doors (shoji);
  • The dropped foyer (genkan); a functional option to keep dirt at bay with the removal of shoes before entering the main part of the house while also doubling as a spot for brief visits without having to invite people into the home itself; and,
  • A veranda by the garden (engawa; a space on the edge of the home bringing together the house’s interior and exterior).

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More North American features include its emphasis on natural lighting and neutral tones.

Then there is its overall Japanese/Scandinavian vibe and style, Japandi, a blend of both Japanese and Scandi influences.

“Generally, Japandi interior design makes use of neutral colours, high-quality and natural materials, and an emphasis on greenery and nature,” explained Chiu. “They’re not die-hard traditionalists of Japanese culture but rather they like the minimalistic and tranquil approach to interiors. Where Japanese interiors are sleek, Scandinavian ones are rustic. The rich, earthy colours of Japanese design help to keep the monochrome palette of Scandinavian homes from feeling austere.”

The couple also notes since they’re living in Canada with its colder climate, a little rustic charm from the Scandi influences seems to make sense.

Having moved in at the end of 2021, they told Chui the home is spectacular and they’re still amazed at how they were able to blend aspects of eastern influences so they would work in the Canadian climate.

Kanvi’s team is very good at helping clients to transform their dreams into reality, said Chiu, though he noted clients should be aware that building a customized home can mean extended planning and build times.

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