Approach to Homebuilding: Designing Interior Spaces Starting from the Kitchen

My name is Saeko Okamoto, and I am the interior designer for On Your Canvas, which specializes in interior design with a concept starting from the kitchen.

This concept was born from my own experience of building a house, with the desire to provide more people with the ideal kitchen and the connected interior, so they can experience the joy and comfort of everyday living.

From my own experience, I would like to share what was important to me in building a home. It took until my eighth move after getting married to finally build our own house. Moving had become routine, but designing a house was entirely new to me. Without any 3D images, I relied solely on blueprints and the explanations from the architect to proceed with building our home.

Then came my turn to choose the kitchen. At the time, I was a full-time housewife raising two young daughters, shuttling them to and from kindergarten, extracurricular activities, preparing dinner, baths, and bedtime rituals—all with the utmost efficiency and without wasting any time. Looking back, I might have seemed quite stern and serious.

Therefore, when it came to building our home and choosing the kitchen, my primary concern was how to create a space where household chores could be done efficiently. I wanted a laundry room with a built-in drying machine and space for indoor drying of small items. For the kitchen, a large built-in dishwasher from overseas and an oven for hassle-free cooking were essential. I also wanted a peninsula or an island with depth to make it easy for my children and husband to help out. Additionally, I desired a pantry where we could stock up on groceries without frequent trips to the store. Functionality was my immediate priority, aiming for improvements in daily life and creating more breathing room.

Next was the design aspect. This was a tough decision. Initially, I thought about choosing a design that would match our existing furniture, but nothing seemed quite right. I spent days searching online until I finally stumbled upon a kitchen featured in a foreign magazine. I instantly fell in love with it, even though it was unlike anything I had imagined before.

However, the architect warned me, “There are no manufacturers in Japan that can produce such a kitchen.” Indeed, the kitchen was made of reclaimed wood. To be continued in the next blog post.