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demolition work almost completed for the fujisawa teahouse

We are sad to see it go but are looking forward to seeing it rebuilt in full glory in Chiba prefecture next year.
It is a big shock for the building but imagine it is like a life saving surgery.
It is painful but all dismantling work was done gently to preserve all the parts.
I cannot imagine this jewel left prey of the bulldozers…

Please find the full photo reportage here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.987206494691338.1073741833.168006413278021&type=3

cut of wood

yasuragi ofuro
YASURAGI

The planks have knots. This does not affect the performance of the product and is more affordable costwise. Knotty wood is also believed to contain more aromatic oils. When the bathtub is skillfully assembled considering the pattern of the knots, it reinforces the confortable "woody" atmosphere.

yutori ofuro
YUTORI

The trunk is cut diagonally to avoid knots.The planks exhibit the long, elegant, pure grain of hinoki without imperfections. This cut is the most appreciated in Japan even though the subtle grain becomes more difficult to perceive with the passing of years.

sizes & layout

wood tub

SUEOKI type
The bathtub is positioned on the floor in such a way that the wooden front is exposed. This solution is preferred when also the walls are finished in wood or just to enhance the elegant simplicity of the space. See the details for more info.

ofuro

UMEKOMI type
The bathtub is recessed and it is mostly visible the inside rather than the outside. This solution may be slightly and limits the cleaning and maintenance to the interior surface. See the details for more info.

soaking tub

CUSTOM type
Any size, from family to pool type. Any shape including round, oval, poligonal etc.


For your reference, common sizes(*) are:
(see also the standard tub sizes pricelist)
We can build any size as per your specification at no extra cost, please inquire.
S1) 0900L x 0700W x 690H
S2) 1000L x 0700W x 690H
S3) 1100L x 0700W x 690H
S4) 1200L x 0750W x 660H
S5) 1300L x 0750W x 660H
M6) 1400L x 0750W x 666H
M7) 1500L x 0750W x 616H
L8) 1800L x 1000W x 616H
R9) 1400φ x 750H

(*) sizes (mm) are external

To inquire about your custom-made ofuro please fill out the contact form below or email us.

Custom-Made Ofuro

waterproofing

21 – INSTALL. CLEARANCE
You should have at least 1/2" of clearance around the tub. This allows for seasonal shrinking and dilatation and facilitates the circulation of air between tub and wall.
There are 3 solutions for this detail:

  1. leave the narrow gap open (traditional japanese way). Water flows between the wall and tub, keeping the outside face of the tub clean.
  2. seal the gap with caulking
  3. plug the gap with thin stripes of hinoki that are wedged inside (we can supply those free of charge).
22 – OVERFLOW
When you enter a japanese tub, the water will overflow from the top in the 4 directions. If you want to direct the overlow in one direction only, we can apply this type of cut both for singl plank tubs or kamachi frame tubs. Another option for the overflow is to have a couple of drain fittings about 50mm o.c. below the border, connected to the drain. The disadvantage is you will hear the noise of water and air being skimmed and sucked. See also notes about waterproofing in the installation section
23 – BARK WATERPROOFING
If you look closely, you will notice some buffer material between bottom and wall planks. This is hinoki bark which is used as a natural waterproofing/fungicidal material at the connection between bottom and wall planks.
24- NATURAL OIL FINISH
The hinoki wood is never uretan coated in order to allow the wood pores to breath and release aromatic oils. As an extra precaution, we may propose to finish the sides facing the walls (outside face only) or the bottom with a natural clear oil produced by the german company KREIDEZEIT. http://www.kreidezeit.de/

shoji doors

shoji-doos01
Shoji doors are light screens made of thin lists of wood on which is applied a sheet of rice paper. They are usually sliding doors and are often used in number of 4 pieces to create a “translucent wall” that can be opened as needed from the sides or from the center.


PRICES:

We will make a detailed quotation, anyway consider about 30,000~50,000 JPY (+ shipping fee) per door including the rice paper.


MATERIAL:

Usually shoji are made of sugi-wood (japanese fir), appreciated for its soft but graphic grain and dimensional stability. We can also build shoji in hinoki but be advices that the rice paper tends to detach more easily.


SIZE:

Traditionally, japanese houses are based on the module of 1-ken (1818mm). The width of a 6 tatami or 8 tatami room is usually 2-ken… To cut a long story short, just tell us the net dimension of the opening you want to close (example, W3500mm x H2000mm). We will dimension the 4 shoji with the correct overlapping to fit your site.
If your opening is less than 2700mm, go for 3 shoji doors. If you have less than 1800mm, use 2 shoji doors. Anyway, feel free to consult us for any question.


PATTERN:

Just by changing the horizontal/vertical balance of the grid, you can obtain a completely different effect. Tell us how many rows and how many columns you want and we will prepare a drawing for your review. Or send us a picture of a shoji you like and we will give you the answer if it can be done or not.


ASSEMBLY:

Rice paper is delicate and it will damage during transportation because of humidity or temperature change. We usually send our clients the shoji frames, some rolls or paper and glue. Application is very simple and you can do it yourself.


MAINTENANCE:

Keep in mind that it is paper and it is easy to rip or stain it. Of course you cannot wash it but you can remove dust with a vacuum cleaner or a brush.
As a matter of fact, Japanese like to change the paper every year (like an american would refresh the paint in the dining room). Anyway if you can preserve it from kids or pets, rice paper just gets nicer and nicer with the passing of the years, like a parchment. Being a westerner myself, I bet you will love your rice paper even more after 20 years!


VARIATIONS:

Just send us a drawing or a picture and we will make a shoji as you like. Here below is a YUKIMI-SHOJI (see-the-snow-shoji). In my opinion this is the quintessence of the poetry in japanese construction. The shoji itself is a sliding door but a section of it can be opened as a single hung window. The shoji is translucent (opaque) but in the sliding section there is a fix clear glass pane. So you can see thru (and when it is snowing outside, yes, you will see the snow falling!).
The height of this clear glass section is masterfully balanced so that when you seat on the floor you can look outside comfortably. Anyway people walking outside will not see you. This is at the same time simple and perfect, don`t you think so?

shoji


INSTALLATION:


You will need a shiki (floor rail)

and a kamoi (overhead rail).

You can have those built by your carpenter (we will provide a scheme with the required sizes and pitch) or we can provide it as a set. In the latter case, we recommend for this particular case laminated wood because it is dimensionally stable and you will not have problems in the installation.

 

USE THE FORM BELOW TO INQUIRE ABOUT SHOJI DOORS

Aomori Hiba wood aroma oil

hiba-oil

Japanese do not usually apply any oil on a wooden tub, but if you want, you can use hiba oil as a wood tub cleaner/conditioner.
Asnaro-Hiba oil has wonderful properties and will clean, rejuvanite and preserve your tub.
Asnaro contains more hinokitiol than hinoki wood.

It can also be used for:

  • aroma-therapy (relaxation)
  • odor elimination (recommended for your shoes closet)
  • skin care (eczema, nosocomial infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
  • other uses: check our blog for the hiba oil detailed description)

Available in 100ml bottles at 4800 JPY per piece.
Some discount is available for larger lots. Please inquire.

shop page →

rain-chains

Everybody I know, when visiting Japan, remained fascinated by these items.
In place of a straight gutter, a chain made of tens of small bell like copper cups conveys the rain to the floor. The rain can be discharged into a regular stormdrain, collected in a large pot or drained directly in the soil, having the care of digging a small pit and fill it with gravel.

Length is 2700mm, diameter is about 60mm. It can be easily attached to an existing gutter.

Length is 2700mm, diameter is about 60mm. It can be easily attached to an existing gutter.


Japanese copper rainchain:

lotus

These can be ordered directly from our store, or please get in touch with your questions and specifications.
shop page → /product/japanese-copper-rainchain-lotus-design

ugly website

Let me publish here the exchange of correspondence I had with a previous customer.
The mail came like a bolt from the blue:

Customer:
> hi
> how is it possible that you sell such expensive high quality baths and
> live in a high tech environment…but your website is so unpractical and
> ugly?
> it stops me from really searching, thats not good pr!
> greetz
> (signature)
> fan of wooden baths
> owner of one.


Dear (customer),

Thank you for your honest comment.
I think you are 100% right.
Actually I am in the process of renovating the HP but it is taking more
time than anticipated.

Please bear with us one more month!

Best//

Bartok design Japan Co.
Manager: Iacopo Torrini
—————————-
e-mail: japan@bartokdesign.com
tel: +81-78-262-6811
fax: +81-78-262-7151
cell.: +81-90-8205-1200
—————————-


ok, accepted!

Sorry for the direct comment, I am Dutch and people from Holland are known for their directness. The difference with southern countries is already big, so you can imagine how it is in Japan

I will visit Japan within 1-2 years, I am interested in japanese woodworkingskills.
Is your business to be visited? Would be nice.

I will be mainly in Nasu (Tochigi) but who knows…
When my current bath will be rotten I defenitely want another ofuro, because it ads a lot of well beinig to my life, using such a bath.

greetings

(signature)


Well I must apologize with all of you as well for the old and non-smartphone optimized HP but, as I said above, YES! the site is under renovation.
It will come also with enhanced web-shop functions and I plan to offer you a heftier slice of Japan, including “karakami” ricepaper, “urushi” lacquer and more!
O tanoshimi-ni ~~

Meanwhile please feel free to send me your bolts… Any comment is appreciated especially if it is helping me improving the service.

All the Best//

iacopo torrini

great news about the tea-house!

Sorry for the belated update: I think many of you are in trepidation for the destiny of the tea house in Fujisawa.

Well, 1/27 was an incredible day, I think there are all the ingredients for a suspense movie.
The crowdfunding campaign I started on 1/23 at http://igg.me/at/teahouse produced many contacts.

On 1/27 I went to Tokyo with a 10,000 mhA spare battery plugged in my phone and kept sending mails and calls for help.
I was messaging previous clients while riding the shinkansen and calling ikebana associations or busy stock brokers while waiting to transfer to the next train.
I called dozens of people and sent hundreds of emails.

Nonetheless I arrived to the meeting on site with empty hands.
Two people from the forwarding company were already there discussing details about the street width with the contractor.
The real estate agent was preparing the documents and memorandums to be signed while I was answering the cheerful and excited questions of the owners.
Where is the building going? When is it going to be rebuilt? Can we go visit?
I even got the promise from the old owner she would visit the new location of the house and offer a tea ceremony to all the presents…

But there was only one problem.
Time was up and I had not a clear commitment for taking over the house.
I did not give up until the last moment but after inflating everybody`s hopes, I was going to hurt them even more with the harsh reality, sooner or later.
My face was smiling but there was a deep cloud of uncertainty in my heart.
I received many mails of encouragement:
“Even if you failed this time, the effort and financial exposure would not had been a vain effort. This case contributed to raise awareness about the problem and spread the seeds of more consideration for the items of value we are inheriting from the past.”

I know, you will think I am reckless but there is only one thing that helped me not to panic: Using the “reverse gear” was just not an option on the table.
Like those simple remote controlled car toys that can only go straight or turn left and right to avoid obstacles the only option I had was to keep looking forward for the end of the tunnel.

We started to move out the left over furniture to the living room of a relative living next door while the carpenter started to remove some planks from the ceiling to see if it could be dismantled safely. Some old newspapers started to come out from under the tatamis.

And yes! the sunshine come at 16:00. I received a call from Hamish Murphy, an australian gentlemen, introduced to me by Mr. D. from Tokyo who had been introduced to me by Mr. L. from the UK.
Hamish has been living in Japan for 29 years (if I remember correctly) and is going to start a Permaculture site in Kamogawa, Chiba prefecture.
If you do not know what permaculture is, I recommend to research it on wikipedia. It is is a beautiful concept and practical philosophy.

As I was in Yokohama only for that day, Hamish decided to come right away to see the house and reached at around 18:00.
All the workers already went away and after showing him the house, we sat in the smallest tea-room with the owner and her son.
The owner offered us a matcha-tea – by coincidence there were also just 2 manju dumplings left from the afternoon.
It was such an emotionally intense atmosphere, looking at the garden in the dark out of the window and the old lady noted that this was “the last tea served in the tea-room.”

Then, after 3 days of thorough consideration, Hamish gave me the GO sign to take my place in the contract and carry on the demolition and reconstruction project!
I am SOOO happy for him, for the house, for the owner. AMAZING.

A sukiya-zukuri house is a traditional construction but is light weight and more energy efficient compared to a massive “kominka”.
Permaculture gives importance to ecological materials as much as the energy efficiency and this tea house represent a good balance of the two aspects (ecology and high performance).
Hamish is considering to use the tea-house as a guest house in the Permaculture project. “As a guest house it would be a beautiful gateway into a world of recycling and self-sustaining systems.” he says.
He is considering rebuilding the walls with natural clay mixed with momigara (grain chaffs), restoring not only the shape but also the authentic soul of the building.

Since the plan of the house will be modified, he is not going to reuse the roof tiles but the great news is that he is going to transplant as many trees as possible to Chiba prefecture!
All the stones and accessories in the garden and even the bamboo fence (!) are going to be transferred and reused as well.

In the end I think this solution will be great also for the owner. She will be able to visit the house easily and maybe also help with the design of the garden that she is so skilled at.
And I am looking forward to the “first tea served in the tea-room” after the reconstruction!

The house will be probably rebuilt in 2017 and I will keep you informed.
Meanwhile, visit the links below for additional pictures.
http://igg.me/at/teahouse
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.975630152515639.1073741832.168006413278021&type=3

Thank you everybody for your great support, encouragement and advice.

Feel free to add your comments here below. All the Best!

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