Interview with Minka owner/fixer-upper

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Wendy
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Interview with Minka owner/fixer-upper

Post by Wendy »

[/url]Here is the announcement (it starts in a little over an hour). There is another one she did with the owners of the house featured on CNN. I will be sure to add those links later as all her interviews are available after the fact. The nice thing about watching them live is that you can ask them questions.

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gonbechan
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Re: Interview with Minka owner/fixer-upper

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Re: Interview with Minka owner/fixer-upper

Post by gonbechan »

The website with before and after pictures is really interesting.

Hanase Minkan

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Interview with Minka owner/fixer-upper

Post by grimpeur »

Great video, and I'll have to look out for the film he has made.

Regarding the house, my guess is that the old house had its woodburner vented into the loft space because they wanted the smoke to pass through and protect the thatch, an important traditional role of an irori which would be kept burning year round. Japan is a very damp country where thatch is likely to rot without smoke to dry it out. I'm from the UK and the lifespan between complete rethatching is said to be around eighty years. In Japan with its climate, it is just thirty. Just speculation, but having an internally vented woodburner instead of an irori in that house might have meant less smoke on the ground floor. I understand the cultural appeal of an irori, but indoor smoke is not good for you.

I doubt you could do it on that lower part-hip roof, upper part-gable roof combo they have, but one option for snow zone kominka is to flatten the roof and make rooms upstairs. Big steep roofs make for externally attractive buildings, but create vast and extremely dark spaces that are difficult to use. Modern roofing materials like tile and especially metal can be much flatter than thatch and still merrily shed snow. A flatter roof and upstairs walls with windows would produce a bigger and much brighter home with rooms that are heated for free by the woodstove downstairs. It was fairly common for kominka frames to be moved from site to site and reconfigured back in the day, so I wouldn't get too hung up about destroying any heritage by doing this kind of renovation.