Jon & Liezel's Concrete Block

Jon & Liezel's Concrete Block

Liezel Strauss
Aug 30, 2010

Name: Jon Hindley & Liezel Strauss
Location: Shibuya-ku — Tokyo, Japan
Size: 1,900 square feet
Years lived in: 3 months

Last year when I posted our new London home during Augusts' Setting Up Home theme, little did I know we would be living in Tokyo a year later! As always, it was very important to nest in a record time since we might not be around for that long. I realize all too well the "right" way to make a home is to do it with loads of patience, love and non-haste. There is plenty of love in our new place but living in 10 different homes in the last 9 years taught me that it is crucial to create a space you love no matter how long — or how short! — you intend to stay.

We were stunned to find this amazing space in central Tokyo — especially considering we saw smaller apartments a few blocks away for the same price. The major difference — our new place is not an expat apartment. This means none of the appliances are in English — we still have no idea what the robot lady is saying every time we switch on the bath (no taps) and the fridge and oven are yet to be conquered!

Our biggest challenge was trying to furnish the space without spending a fortune. Tokyo truly is the most expensive city. Thank goodness for IKEA! What excited us the most about our space was the big roof terrace. After living in Europe for 5 years, we were ready to embrace a proper summer! It was our dream to have a grass roof and when we read about the turf Toyota developed here in Japan, it seemed destiny. Unfortunately the whole process went spectacularly wrong (as it does all the time in a country where you don't speak the language) and we ended up with decking. Ha! Nevertheless we are in love with our new home and we feel very blessed to be here.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic

Inspiration: Our travels

What Friends Say: 'You have a lift in your house!'

Biggest Embarrassment: We have a lift in the house!

Favorite element: The roof terrace and the big glass windows — and of course the location.

Proudest DIY: Trying to plant grass on the roof, it was a spectacular flop, but I'm still proud that we gave it a shot.

Biggest Challenge: The idea that we have to leave one day!

Biggest Indulgence: The computer corner in the living room — we bought the mid century chair, lamp and desk from local antique shops.

Dream Source: If I had my way, all the furniture, art and accessories would come from South Africa, we have some amazng designers and artists! My favorites are Haldane Martin, Heath Nash, Gregor Jenkin, Moonbasket and SkinnyLaminx

Best advice: Nest wherever you are. Even if it's just for a week!


Kitchen Hardware: Island Unit: IKEA

Kitchen Furniture Made from recycled church benches. Eat Sleep Live.

Living chairs in studio and wooden chair on roof: Inherited from grandparents

Sofa: Habitat

Antique Desks, desk lamp and office chair: Acme

Coffee table, blue office chairs, red locker unit and TV cabinet: IKEA

Art: Cement women sculpture in living room and white dog: Kenau Botha, Bronze sculpture in living room: Rossouw van der Walt , Polaroids in bedroom: Stephani Schneider, Albino reindeer: Frank Stockel, Wooden angels: Jackson Thembe, Wire "you make it easy": Heath Nash , 'Shy girl' in the bedroom: Francois van Reenen, Painting in bathroom: Elwin Buchel, Tretchikoff from Spitalfields market in London and all other art from markets in Swaziland.

Beds & bedlinen: The Sleep Room

Bookshelves & ladder: IKEA

Roof Terrace: Beds from IKEA used as sofa's, pillows from IKEA, Space BBQ from the Conran Shop,

Images: Liezel Strauss

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