Chabarn: Second Draft

Last week I got the second set of drawings from the architect. They are built upon his first draft, with revisions and ideas that came up when we met with him Monday the same week. I was not super enthusiastic about the first drawings, but my enthusiasm got a significant boost from the meeting, and even more from seeing the second draft. This is almost perfect.
So what has changed from the first to the second set of drawings? I made him draw the barn one meter longer, which allowed us to widen the kitchen and make room for a toilet upstairs. Also, during the meeting it became clear that I would need a technical room to hold a ventilation system, and water heater among other things.

The architect also recommend that I install a system to heat the ground floor by pumping heated water through a series of tubes installed underneath the floor. This can be combined with a few different systems for heating the water, his recommendation was to drill into the ground and install a system for heat exchange with the ground. Once installed, this gives virtually free heating and hot water, but it probably goes with out saying that the initial cost is high. But it is possible to only do the necessary, initial preparations now, which will allow me to install the rest later if I choose.

Ground floor 

When you open the front door, you will enter straight into a zen garden, or roji if you will. It will be open all the way up to the ceiling. At its highest point it will be about 6m high. The garden will contain the building’s only fire place, and a spiral staircase to go upstairs. It will also have two large doors in glass facing the garden.
In the drawing, there is a tea room marked “3 sov”. This will either be a three mat room as shown on the drawing or a two mat and a daime (3/4 mat). Next to the tea room, I will have a mizuya, marked “2 sov.” This will be four mats large, using one mat for the sink. These rooms will both officially be bedrooms, and I plan to use them as such during the night, and as tea room during the day.
This floor also holds the building’s western style rooms – the kitchen and the bathroom. The kitchen will have a dining place and two large windows. As mentioned, the purpose of making the building longer was to allow some extra space here.

Next to the kitchen, there is a bathroom. I want the bathtub to be lowered into the ground so that when you sit in the bathtub, your head will be just above floor level. In the corner there will be a panorama window allowing me to sit in the tub enjoying the view of my farm. If you by any chance wonder what the dotted line next to the toilet is, it is just a empty place. The government require that any new bathroom have a circle of 1.5m in diameter empty space, to allow for a wheelchair to turn. In case you were wondering, no, I am not in a wheelchair, but the rules still apply.


In the left corner there will be a four and a half mat tea room, with space for a one mat alcove, and a small closet to store utensils and futons in. In addition, there will be a small 1,5 mat mizuya or hallway so that the host can enter the tea room from a different entrance from the one used by the guests.
The main feature of this floor is the large tea room marked as “12 Stue”. A lot of thinking has gone into this room. I want a 8 mat room, but because of the width of the building and the placement of the windows, it made sense to have the room cover the entire width of the building, making it 10 mats. I hope I will be able to design the interior so that the room can be configured in one of the following ways depending on need:

  • A big room with 10 full mats and one daime (3/4) in addition to the alcove
  • A big room as above, but with the daime closed off so it is only 10 mats.
  • Closing off one end of the room, so that the two lowest mats become a hallway and the rest becomes one large 8 mat room
  • Splitting the room in three to make 2 bedrooms of four mats each in addition to a hallway, allowing access to the toilet without passing through the other bed-room.

We will keep the outside looking pretty close to the original barn. So even if the bridge that in the past lead up to the upstairs part of the barn will not lead to any doors, we will still keep it. It will now instead just lead to a pair of large windows. This will be very practical for getting large and heavy items such as tatami mats upstairs. We have decided that the main walk way to the house will be under the bridge instead of walking around it.
Also we have kept the small one story out cropping in the northern end. This currently the outdoor toilet. In the new barn, I guess it will become just a storage area.
On the overview map the black building is the cha-barn. The yellow buildings are the existing outhouse and main building.

Whats next?
We are quickly approaching two very exiting milestones for the project, and that will make or break the whole concept. First of all, soon I will have drawings that are detailed enough to ask entrepreneurs to price the project. After that, the municipality need to approve the demolition of the old barn and the rebuilding it as cha-barn.

Leave a Reply