A mix of cultures and nationalities is clearly visible throughout London. The city has always been exposed to international influences and, as time passed, more and more people from different corners of the world has chosen to settle there.
The cosmopolitan feel can be noticed not just by hearing many different languages on the streets, or observing various cultures coexisting side by side, but also in people’s homes. Some may show this through a choice of style or patterns, others may be more bold.
In Teddington, on the outskirts of London, a large detached house was purchased by a family of three. The property used to be divided into several flats. The new owners embarked on a project of reinstating this magnificent dwelling as a single family residence. At the back, they added a large extension. The open-plan space contains a kitchen, dining and living areas. In addition, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony room sits on one side.
The room is a tribute to the wife’s heritage, who worked closely with their architect, Michael Schienke from VORBILD Architecture, on constructing this very special space in their home.
Traditionally, a Japanese tea ceremony room is an area within a house, or in an independent building, which contains a table with sunken seating, a space for a kettle and, of course, tea, which is usually kept behind a sliding, decorated door. The room itself should be separated from the living area by way of sliding shoji screens.
Normally such a room is not raised in relation to the floor level, says Michael Schienke. However, in this case we decided to do so mainly for practical reasons, as having a raised area allows to, firstly, differentiate this from the rest of the house, and also creates useful storage under the seating.
The room size is, as all traditional Japanese rooms, defined by using a module of tatami mats. To ensure this was true, we ordered the mats from Japan and sized the room exactly to these mats – added the architect.
A heated mat was installed underneath the table, to warm up guests’ feet and because there was no space for traditional radiators. All chosen materials are as natural as possible.
The room neighbours with a small Japanese garden which can be seen through a large round window on the back of the extension.
The house has been designed to cherish both cultures of the owners and to introduce them to their every day life. The traditional Japanese room provides a stark contrast to the rest of the property, which has a contemporary style.