My little cabin, just under 900 square feet, crouches with low ceilings and unusual-sized doorways into the bedrooms. In order to save the space a standard door needs to swing into a room, I've decided to use noren: lovely woven and often hand-crafted Japanese cloth room separators. (I've posted five I am drawn to below--I only get to pick one or maybe two for the time being.) While I'll keep a "real" door with a lock on the bathroom as a nod to Western privacy, these light and airy pieces of woven art will lend texture and color to my knotty pine walls. And, they can be changed out seasonally, affecting the feel of a room! The dragon is one I thought my fifteen year old son might like, but he may surprise me and go with a different design. Because he wants a deep industrial gray paint in his space, with black and silver overtones, this noren will add an acceptable splash of color as well as visual "movement" and tie his room into the rest of the house.
It is so interesting how attached to doors we are, dividing even our living spaces into secure fortresses. I am looking forward to seeing how folks react to the more "virtual" feel of noren. Personal privacy and space are very culturally defined, and I love the personal experiment of opening up a floor plan as much as I can.
I'm in the midst of designing a small and easily maintained Japanese garden that folks will be able to view from both the living room and the dining room, and it's great fun to draw this theme inside as well. Japanese aesthetics work great with rustic north country furnishings and wall treatments. Never thought I could access my inner designer, but this is truly a delight to "image" what the house and grounds will eventually look like--simple and light-filled being my touchstones. Of course, as deconstruction and construction go forward, I'll post more pictures to give you a sense of the transformation of the property. Until then, I bow to you palm-to-palm, give you a wink and a blessing.