Back yards are only so private, and in some cities, most people do not have space for one anyway. So how do you make your house feel like a home when limited to indoor improvements?

ALTS Design Office designed this Japanese residence with plenty of windows to bring in light and connect residents to the outdoors, but also established a lovely two-story open space with greenery, rocks and a walkway to make it feel like garden.

What is remarkable in this, but in some ways typical of the region, is how a few sparse-seeming elements create a sense of organic minimalism – not the sometimes-inhumane absence of detail often associated with high modernist homes.

While most of the core elements remain practical and linear, the few curves and natural details help break up the rigidity of the otherwise-conventional a-frame format.