A Tiny House Over the Garage: Architect Hironobu Kagae’s Exercise in Downsizing

“People tend to think that only special days spent outside the home are happy times. In reality, it’s time at home that we should cherish.” So writes Hironobu Kagae, an architect at Sinken, a green-minded building company in Kagoshima, Japan, and a designer-philosopher of everyday life. In addition to serving as an essayist on the Sinken site, Hironobu has a devoted Instagram following and recently published a book, The Meaning of Living (available only in Japanese).

In December, we featured the house Hironobu designed for his young family of five on a rural triangle of land: see A Labor of Love Home in the Japanese Countryside. Today, we’re returning to tour the newest addition to the compound: a nest-like tiny house with an expansive view.

Photographs by Hironobu Kague (@kagae_hironobu).

hironobu fit the 33 square meter (355 square foot) dwelling over the car port n 17
Above: Hironobu fit the 33-square meter (355 square-foot) dwelling over the car port next to his family’s sloped-roofed home. Both structures were built to Hironobu’s design by Sinken and clad in laminated cedar—the house is painted black and the boxy tiny house was left natural.
the back of the structure extends around an existing oak tree. “for 18
Above: The back of the structure extends around an existing oak tree. “For convenience’s sake, it’s called a house, but we aimed for a building that is somewhere between a house and a hut,” says Hironobu, adding that he welcomed the challenge of paring back: “It has just enough functions for two adults to live in and was constructed using the minimum amount of material possible.”

The tiny house currently serves as guest quarters and the family hangout, but Hironobu envisions a day when the children are grown and he and his wife could move in.