N House is a minimal residence located in Tokyo, Japan, designed by moss. The owners are a married couple working for a furniture maker. The architects changed the original two-bedroom layout to a light-filled one-bedroom with living room, dining area, and kitchen. The clientsʼ requests were simple: good light, a large living room, and minimal use of colors. Working with the limitations of a 55-square-meter apartment, the intention while conceiving this design was to add richness and depth to the space. The concept for the living room centered on creating the atmosphere of an outdoor “terrace” space inside a metropolitan Tokyo apartment.

Up against the limitations of a small floor plan, the designers took a risk and added a protrusion into the empty space. The interior terrace does not limit the functionality of the room. It opens up the area and adds an enriching “margin” to the room, creating a beneficial sense of distance between people within the space. Integrating the bedroom, study, and storage spaces into a single room at the core of the apartment, they added depth to the apartment while making economical use of floor space. The design and materials incorporate a sense of “comfortable confinement” similar to a downtown hotel.

The oak flooring is dyed gray. All fixtures are custom-made with gray MDF, and the walls are painted with textured paint from Haymespaint. The design is accented with a dull glow from the window sashes and stainless steel in the kitchen. Exposing the raw skeleton of the apartment could create a cold and unwelcoming atmosphere, but the subtle warmth of gray materials and painted surfaces draws out the richness originally present in the apartmentʼs bones. The clientʼs tasteful furniture selection and bold house plants adds power to the spaces. While the apartmentʼs ambience is undeniably urban, it also invites people to pass their time in the space relaxed and unhurried.

Photography by Koji Fujii