Thursday, May 4, 2017

No Shoe Policy in Japan :: The Benefits of Leaving Your Shoes at the Front Door

Did you know that shoes are not worn in Japanese homes? 

When I first arrived in Japan one of my first cultural experiences was to remove my shoes in the entrance hallway (called a Genkan), place my shoes on a storage shelf and then put on some complimentary slippers before stepping up into the house.
A Japanese Genkan - notice the lower entrance area and cupboard for storage of shoes.
image via housenary
Japanese house slippers available for guests to use
Typical Ryokan (Japanese Guest House) entrance
image via you in japan

Whilst I thought this was a great idea as it prevents dirt being brought into the home or damage to floor finishes it is also a very important expectation of social etiquette and cleanliness in Japan. 

There are quite a few house design principles that are present in older Japanese homes that are generally not seen in Australian homes. Some of these are:
  • Tatami mats (made from rice straw) for the floor finish in the main living, dining and sleeping areas.
  • With a tatami floor you sit on cushions on the floor and NOT on chairs (no lounges or sofas).
  • Similarly with sleeping, you sleep on futon mattresses spread out on the tatami flooring and NOT in a western style bed.
I will highlight some of these differences in more detail in future posts.

A Japanese dining room with tatami flooring
image via blimi
Futon mattresses spread out on tatami flooring. When you wake the matresses are stored in the surrounding built-in wardrobes 
image via marumura
When you are spending a lot of time on the floor it is so important to keep the floor clean and a "no shoe policy" does just this as well as protecting the delicate tatami flooring. Also when mattresses, pillows and cushions are stored away a room takes on a minimalist feeling of calm with everything hidden from view when not used.

Most of us have a natural flooring of some sort whether it be timber, an expensive wool rug or natural stone. If we could implement this policy in our homes there would be so many benefits:
  • Less washing, vacuuming and cleaning of floors, rugs and carpets
  • Less damage to timber floors, carpets & rugs from heals, dirty shoes and stains
  • Less dust in the house for allergy sufferers
  • Less noise for our neighbours
  • Cleaner floors for children to play on
Personally I implement a "no shoes policy" and this has been respected by visitors, friends and family.

Have fun.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cool Alternative Christmas Tree Ideas

Every year it frustrates me to see those green or white plastic Christmas trees being sold in the stores! Not only are they toxic (I find the smell quite overwhelming!) but they are forever shedding, cost lots for what they are and do not last long. You end up throwing them out, they then go into landfill and off you go to the store next year to buy another one! Please stop…

Its still November and I know we are all time poor this time of year, but what if you could make one (as a creative project with your children) or buy one that has been made with recycled materials from someone like Etsy?

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

Images above from ReTreeJoy
1. Using timber dowels to make a tree
 These dowels you can pick up from any hardware store or you can buy this tree from ReTeeJoy

Image from Drift Wood Designs
2. Using driftwood to make a tree.
Great idea if you are by the beach for Christmas. I will be and this is what I will be making! This one is also available from Drift Wood Designs.


Images above from Hello Yellow House
Image from Fresh Design Pedia
3. Using timber rods to make a tree. 
Very simple and very effective. Again these timber rods can be purchased from any hardware store - These can also be purchased from HelloYellowHouse on Etsy

Image from Handle With Care
Image from Inhabitat
 4. Using cardboard to make a tree. 
Again this can be very simple and very effective. This would make a great project to make with children and recycled cardboard is easy to find in your home. Think old cardboard moving boxes, act.

Image from BtpMirepoixdesigns
 5. Using recycled timber. 
I love these, I think these are so cool and a great way to use recycled timber. If making them is to hard then they can be purchased from BtpMirepoixDesigns on Etsy. 

Image from Monk and Honey
6. Using recycled timber planks.
Again a great idea for a larger tree. These can also be purchased on Etsy from Monk and Honey.

Hope this have given you a few ideas.
Have fun




Friday, November 18, 2016

9 Easy Steps to Find Your Interior Design & Decor Style :: E-GUIDE


Are you planning on styling a room, decorating or renovating and struggling to find your design style?
One of the most common questions I get asked is... 'How do I find my design or decoration style?' Without understanding what your style is it's hard to go any further with styling or decorating a room! There's no theme or personal connection.
To make things super easy I have compiled a step by step e-guide to finding your interior design and decor style. This is a great tool especially if you and partners have different styles! Which is what happened with my husband and myself! 
It will be available in December and if you are interested in purchasing a copy please email me on lisa(at)naturalmoderninteriors.com

Have fun,
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