Home visit: family home meets bakery business

For Minako, baking turned from a passion into a career. Her home in Yono helps her combine work life and family life under one roof – organic bakery out front, open-plan living space at the back… ‘Nature is what ties everything together,’ says Minako.

Explore an unusual family home in Japan

A FRESH APPROACH It’s not just the wooden exterior of Minako’s house that makes it unique in the area. The 120 square metres encompass the family home she shares with her husband Kimihiro and their children Wako (9) and Soujyu (10 months), and her all-natural bakery. ‘People come from far and wide to buy our bread!’

A SPACE FOR FAMILY Consider an open-plan layout with family in mind. ‘The kitchen looks out to the dining table, so whoever is cooking never has to feel alone. Everyday tasks, like preparing lunch, are more sociable because we can still spend time together,’ says Minako.

FEEL AT HOME IN THE KITCHEN Having a homely, country-inspired kitchen is a welcome contrast from the stainless steel of the bakery kitchen. Minako mixes open and closed storage to keep the cupboards and shelves organised. ‘We keep things we use at the dining table on the shelves below the counter, so they’re in easy reach.’

ENJOY BREAKFAST TOGETHER ‘Sitting around the dining table together has become a ritual for us. Since having children, we spend more time enjoying meals
at home than going out to restaurants,’ says Minako.

ADD A PERSONAL TOUCH Create an uplifting display of personal objects. Layer up trinkets, family photos and pieces you’ve collected over time. Instead of drilling holes in the wall for picture frames, prop them up against the wall so you can change your mini gallery as often as you like.

FIND COMFORT IN THE LIVING ROOM Minako uses her L-shaped sofa to section off the living area and keep the family connected. The sofa helps Minako relax and keep an eye on both of her children at the same time. ‘I can nurse the baby and still enjoy being with my husband and daughter.’

OPEN UP TO VISITORS ‘Our garden has a small patio, where our family can sit with customers from the bakery who want to enjoy a bite to eat outside,’ says Minako, who has furnished her garden with lightweight, folding furniture that is easy to move or pack away, depending on the number of customers or family.

BE A HOME-GROWN HERO ‘After growing, enjoy eating! That’s the philosophy behind my vegetable garden. It’s a little patch at my in-laws’ house, which is next door to the bakery. We grow organically, with nothing artificial – everything from aubergines, leeks, watercress, basil…’

SLOW-PACED LIVING ‘We’ve got high ceilings, which make more of a calming, spacious impression. There’s also lots of natural light and wood features, so we can feel closer to nature. We have another house in the city, but life is more fast-paced there. Here, we like to live a little slower.’

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Made by

Interior stylist: Aiko Ito
Photographer: Stuart Harper