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Traditional rustic timber homes and roof supports.

Fine Art Prints

Under the Wave off Kanagawa
Under the Wave off Kanagawa
Katsushika Hokusai
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Drum Bridge at Meguro
Drum Bridge at Meguro
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meets Contemporary

Contemporary materials, below, mimicking
 traditional stone craft.



Japanese Style

By Juliette Guilbert

A neighborhood Shinto shrine at the end of an urban back alley. A monumental Buddhist temple alongside skyscrapers and neon-lit pachinko parlors. A traditional post-and-beam farmhouse tucked behind a suburban neighborhood. Even in the hodgepodge industrial landscape that has sprung up in Japan in the past few decades, places of startling beauty -- both sacred and secular -- abound.


Traditional Japanese design, shaped by the animistic tradition of Shinto, prizes natural materials like stone, wood, and rice straw. From Buddhism, it takes a sense of worldly impermanence, expressing lifeís ephemerality with ikebana flower arrangements and cryptic Zen rock and gravel gardens, raked in concentric circles to represent the ripples of time.

Japanese style can run the gamut from sophisticated to rustic, but it often creates a pleasing mix of both extremes, with an emphasis on minimalism and natural materials. Refined teak and bamboo chairs alongside a roughhewn timber post exemplify the blend of earthy and elegant that characterizes Japanese design at its best.

Even the most modern Japanese homes frequently incorporate traditional rustic elements: wooden posts and beams, ceramic or copper roof shingles, bamboo, tatami, and delicate rice-paper shoji screens. Irregularities are prized -- a chip in a teacup becomes part of the objectís history, rather than a flaw -- and everyday objects like handmade brooms or an earthenware food jar are often works of art.

Venetian Plaster and Plaster wall effects

Create sleek, sophisticated authentic textured wall treatments using traditional Venetian and Stucco Plaster Effects. Smooth, polished and textured surfaces can be easily achieved for interior and exterior surfaces.

Visit the Plaster Effects Center now for
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Nature is always kept in sight in Japanese design, whether with a formal bonsai garden or simply a loosely-constructed wood or bamboo fence enclosing cedars, Japanese maple or cherry trees. Indoors, bird, flower and tree motifs appear on painted scrolls and screens.

Sacred elements can create a special atmosphere even in the most mundane context. A simple Shinto temple washbasin can imbue an everyday space like the bathroom with a tranquil air. A daruma or wish doll, which represents the Buddhist saint Bodhidharma, makes a colorful accent (to make a wish, you paint in one of the pupils in black ink; if the wish comes true you paint the other and discard the doll).

Stone temple lanterns, bells, and incense-holders are also wonderfully evocative. For the diehard Japanophile, a torii gate, which marks the beginning of sacred space in a Shinto shrine, can be a stunning garden element.


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Silver leafing made easy
Gilding objects, ceilings or furniture in Silver leaf can be just the right touch to create the Modern look you are after.

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This wonderfully sandy texture is great for doors and trim. 

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