Setagaya House 1

From a typical buyer’s perspective in Japan, ongoing improvements in earthquake-resistant construction methods, insulation and new bathrooms and kitchens means that newer homes ultimately win out over older houses. However, there has been a growing trend of renovating older homes. These renovations are proving popular with Japanese buyers who may have once only considered new construction.

Late last year, renovation company ReBITA Inc. completely gutted and remodelled a 50-year old house in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. It was listed for 65,800,000 Yen (approx. 653,000 USD) and promptly sold. This is the 15th detached house that ReBITA have flipped. 

Design and planning was done by Araki + Sasaki Architects. ReBITA stripped the house back to its wood frame. Deterioration of the roof and outer walls meant that they had to be replaced. The structure also had to be retrofitted to meet current earthquake standards. Although the property title listed the house as being built (or registered) in the 1950s, the structure was estimated to be older.

Before the renovations
Before the renovations

The house qualified for government financial assistance to the tune of 2 million Yen to go towards renovations. This is part of the Japanese government’s plan to promote long-term housing.

As part of the energy efficiency measures, double-pane glass windows were installed along with insulation in the foundations, exterior walls and roof. On the 2nd floor, ceiling beams were exposed to show the shape of the original roof. This resulted in ceiling heights of up to 3.6 meters, which also allowed for a loft space.

The house is a 11 minute walk from Chitose-Funabashi Station on the Odakyu Odawara Line, and is 23 minutes direct to Shinjuku Station. It is on a 97 sqm block of land, and the house has a total floor area of 90 sqm over two floors. The flag-shaped block has no space for car parking.

Setagaya House 2

Setagaya House 5

Setagaya House 8

Setagaya House 6

Suumo Journal, February 19, 2016.
ReBITA HOWS Renovation Lab, December 26, 2015.