D e s i g n E n v e l o p e . c o m
                                                               by William Edward Summers, Inc.



“Metropolis” Magazine, New York, November 1995

If you happened upon Vancouver-based residential designer William Edward Summers’ newly constructed houses in Miyazaki, an exclusive seaside resort area in southern Japan, you might think you were back in a U.S. suburb. The three custom houses, built by Nippon Development, combine fashionable North American-style exteriors with traditional Japanese interiors, complete with shoji screens and tearooms. According to Summers, in a culture where leisure time is scarce, there is great interest in Japan in recreating foreign experiences while continuing to live in a traditional way—and without even having to leave home. These unique hybrids feature elements central to Japanese lifestyle, such as a tatami room, whose proportions are based on the number and sizes of the household’s tatami mats, and a Japanese-style bathroom, which requires that the shower be enclosed in a separate room, and that the sink be located directly above the toilet. Also, nearly every room of the house has direct access to the outdoors. Small by Western standards, in Japan—where most people are used to living and working in very close quarters—the 1,500-square-foot homes could be considered palatial.

Each of the houses bears the name of the North American city from which Summers drew inspiration. There is the Charleston, based on the Colonial architecture of that South Carolina city, complete with fanciful balconies and shutters; the Lake Tahoe, which features a facade reminiscent of a ski lodge, and the Vancouver, which could easily slip into a neighborhood in British Columbia without causing a ripple. To view elevations of the three houses, you can visit Summers’ web page at www.designenvelope.com.

Christine Liotta