By Margot Guralnick
Is a room of one's own overrated? Are closets unnecessary space hogs? Is clutter the enemy? Architect Takaaki Kawabata, a senior associate at Janson Goldstein in New York, and his wife and collaborator, designer Christina Kawabata, recently transformed a 1960s log cabin in Garrison, New York, into a dramatic open-plan design in which family togetherness and excess-free living are built into the architecture.
At first sight, the 1,100-square-foot cabin had looked so awful that the real estate agent apologized for wasting Taka's time. A third-generation architect who grew up in a one-room farmhouse on the island of Ishikawa, in Japan, Taka was on a mission to move his family out of Williamsburg, where their rent had quadrupled over the past couple of years, to a rural setting within commuting distance of Manhattan. Before getting on the train home, he had phoned Christina to tell her that nothing had panned out. But, by the time his train reached NYC, and he had had a chance to look at the cabin's plans, he called back to report he had found their place.