Bento Box Inspired Home: A Compartment for Everything

bento box

Bento box, a traditional Japanese food container

Did you catch the bento-box-inspired NoHo apartment in the NYT this week? It's quite amazing and an organizer's dream home.

Adam Weintraub of Koko Architecture and Design in Manhattan, who planned the renovation, said the apartment is "half storage." Wow. Sounds quite brilliant until you realize, "They live in the 50 percent of space that’s left."

Sound crazy? Well, you won't believe how incredibly efficient and extraordinary the space is. Let's take a peek.


Homeowner's Kimio (known as Aki) and his wife Tomoko Akiyoshi, as well as their two teen daughters, have many passions, hobbies, and equipment for which they need storage space. Tomoko is a visual merchandiser with a vast assortment of vintage clothing, and Aki owns lots of photography equipment. That's atop all the things a typical family of four owns.

Weintraub decided to renovate the apartment using a micro-architecture model called the obento to create a multifunctional space that “made use of every little inch” of the 1,300-square-foot home. And like the bento box you see above, there are also wonderful bright pops of color throughout the home, which make it all the more glorious.

This is the kind of efficient design I wish America would get hip to.

Here's a peek at the Akiyoshi's kitchen. Love the pop of orange inside the pale cabinets. Amazing how also the shelves seem to custom fitted to their actual glassware and how even a tiny nook of space gets utilized as a little shelf.

kitchen orange cabinets

Here's the pretty master bedroom that oozes good Japanese design. The room sits atop a platform of rolling storage bins and bed and bedding can be dropped down and stored inside the platform to create extra space (or maybe even a dining room!) during the daytime. So smart!

bedroom Japanese design

bedroom Japanse style design

The girls' bedroom has loft bed with closet space underneath. Sliding pocket doors are also great space savers.

girls room Japanese design

In love with the girls' workspace. How dreamy are those turquoise cabinets -- and, of course, they're super tall for maximum storage space.

blue cabinets work space office

Who wants yellow cubbyholes now? I do, I do!

bathroom yellow cubbyholes

I think this renovated design is just brilliant. I hope to start seeing more of this smart use of space stateside. Visit the NYT to read and see lots more of the Akiyoshi's home.

What do you think of this efficient use of storage vs. living space? Would you give up half your space to have a place for everything?


Images via Laptop Lunches and Trevor Tondro for The New York Times


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