Bed and Bakery: A Low-Key Cafe + Living Quarters in Japan

Business up front, domestic quarters in the back. Yuko Kim Safu, a floral design teacher and cafe owner in Yokohama City, Japan, wanted to transform her modest “Western-style” wooden house into a small cafe with living space included.

She and her husband, Chris, an American businessman, had built their place 28 years ago and were ready to give it a new guise. They hired No. 555 Architectural Design Office to sweep in and do a quick and economical fix.

The Tokyo firm is a longstanding Remodelista favorite for its inventive use of humble building materials and its embrace of low-key living: see, for instance, The Nonchalant Family Home and A Wabi-Sabi Surf Shack.

Join us for a tour:

Photography by Shunichi Koyama, courtesy of No. 555.

the front porch of the house was originally yuko’s flower shop but  14
Above: The front porch of the house was originally Yuko’s flower shop but in recent years had been used as storage. The architects introduced a greenhouse-like enclosure composed of polycarbonate.

The Peace Flower Market Factory is open weekends and holidays only, and is an offshoot of Yuko’s main Peace Flower Market, a combination café and flower shop a mile away in bustling Motomachi. “I’m a hippie at heart,” says Yuko.

takuya tsuchida, the founder and principal architect of no. 555, says he chose  15
Above: Takuya Tsuchida, the founder and principal architect of No. 555, says he chose polycarbonate not only for affordability but the soft light it casts: “Glass is too direct. The house is in a quiet residential area, and I wanted to create a glow similar to fireflies.” He used leftover decking wood on the floor and counter.

“The neighborhood is residential,” adds Yuko, “but near early settlement houses and other historic sites, and is zoned for some commercial—which is how I was able to have a cafe in my house.”