Japan's multi-level Tsubomi House is tiny — as in 26-square-meters tiny! Designed by Tokyo-based architecture firm Flathouse, the seven-level family home also houses the family cookie shop business on the first floor. Each level opens into the next and the family shares the top-floor bedroom, but the residents say there is private space to be found when it's needed. The name Tsubomi translates as "bud" — and the house is designed to resemble a closed flower with its overlapping levels.
The Tsubomi House is focused around its central staircase, which is made of concrete on the lower floors and folded metal for the floors above ground level. A storage room and bathroom are housed in the basement, and a second bedroom and storage area are followed by the shopfront. The next level up is the family’s dining and kitchen area, followed by the living room and then the main bedroom. The entire floor area is 77.42 square meters (833 square feet), housed within a two-story-high building.
The interior and exterior of the home are visually connected by a herringbone pattern, which is rendered in ivory galvanized steel cladding on the exterior and larch plywood panels inside. The parallelogram-shaped plywood panels also give the ceiling of the home the illusion of three-dimensional peaks and troughs. The lack of walls keeps the small space open and bright, while the stacked levels still allow a modicum of privacy for separate activities. With young children in the house, temporary netting keeps toys from taking a tumble to the basement.
On rainy days, shop customers apparently queue up the stairs into the dining room. The owners wanted a combined living and working space when the home was commissioned, after having initially established their business online. A small exterior courtyard area also provides space for an occasional outdoor market with other local merchants. With such an open internal plan — and an open mind towards personal space — we can only dream of what it must be like to live in a home that continually smells like freshly baked cookies!