Before we’d even finished building people started asking if we thought we would ever build again. For some people, once is more than enough heart ache. For us, we kinda screw our faces up and shrug, maybe.
We’re not sure either way, but every so often we see things that make us think oh, let’s put that in our next house!
Our recent trip to Japan was a great source of that kind of inspiration. We stayed in a couple of typical modern Japanese apartments and were amazed to see how the lack of free space had inspired some pretty cool solutions. For example, the bathroom doubles as a clothes dryer. Yep, hang your clothes and change the settings to clothes dryer and then 4-6 hours later you’ve got dry clothes. AMAZING.
We also noticed the fondness for the control panel. The places we stayed all had control panels (and even remote controls) for all kinds of things: lights, hot water, bath, shower, toilet. Want to fill the bath? Put the plug in, select the temperature and hit the fill bath button and it will do it automatically.
Just when we thought we’d see it all, we stumbled across a Panasonic show room and popped in for a look. We were thinking it would be full of TVs and sound systems but there were very few of those around. Panasonic in Japan seems to have taken home renovation to a whole new level. Here are some of the favorite items.
All of these images are from http://sumai.panasonic.jp/. Try google translate if you can’t read it (like me!).
Draining cupboard with a difference
Draining cupboards have been around for a while and you can get them if you look hard enough but they haven’t really made their way into the standard Australian kitchen. Perhaps the dishwasher is to blame. I don’t know about you, but there are some things that will just never be able to go in the dishwasher and things like wooden chopping boards, sharp knives, baking trays and flimsy things all end up competing for space on the dish rack on the sink, looking ugly 99% of the time.
In it’s most standard form, a draining cupboard is just a cupboard with the bottom cut out and a few racks put in, like the ones here: http://drycupboard.com/dish-draining-cupboard-program/. The idea is to get the drying items up off the bench top and out of the way.
The difference about this amazing one is that firstly, the drops are captured at the bottom and it’s ventilated. Secondly, at the press of a button, the whole thing raises up into the cupboard above. Yep, disappears completely. All by itself.
Access all areas
Can’t reach the top shelf?
I would LOVE one of these. A magic place right by the front door to store shoes, coats, umbrellas etc. Of course, these are quite popular in many countries, but in Japan they come with a control panel for ventilation, odour control, lighting and just about anything else you might desire.
Magic grill drawer?
Yes please. If only for the novelty!
I laughed at this one, but they had a sample to put your hand in and it feels lovely. Basically,it creates tiny bubbles of air in the water, like bathing in a soft drink!
With space to store and charge all the appliances! Seems like common sense but we had to pay extra just to have a drawer in our vanity!
Toilets in Japan are known to greet you, raising their lids as you step into the room. They have warm seats, play sounds to disguise your sounds, wash, blow dry and deodorise. No need to squirm about touching the flush, most of them have hand sensors or will simply flush on their own. And this one flushes with foam every time.
Indoor clothes line
We’ve all been stuck in wet weather when you have to dry a few things inside, but there’s not enough to warrant the full tumble dry. No more fiddling with the wire clothes horse, check this contraption that lowers from the ceiling!