Yumoto Shimakan is a hot spring inn near the Shima River. The inn is located in Shima Onsen, one of the most popular hot-spring areas in Gunma Prefecture, and many literary figures such as Masuji Ibuse and Osamu Dazai visited the inn. Our job was to renovate the oldest eight-mat guestroom in Yumoto Shimakan.
This guestroom is a common guestroom found in many inns. It consists of an eight-mat Japanese room with a tatami mat floor, low table, and a wood-floored veranda, about the size of two tatami mats, where a sofa is located. However, because the Japanese room and the wood-floored veranda are divided by sliding partitions, and there was a difference in height between the tatami room and the wood-floored veranda floors, it was difficult to use the guestroom as a whole. To renovate it, we attempted to create a space where guests could spend time more comfortably by removing the sliding screens between the guestroom and the veranda, and eliminating the difference in floor heights.
We placed the most importance on improving the proportion of the area of the Japanese room and that of the wood-floored veranda. Although the Japanese room was large enough to be comfortable, the veranda was not when two chairs were put on it. So, we reduced the size of the Japanese room by about 20%, and added that area to the veranda. Because the area of the guestroom was limited and the Japanese room was reduced in size, efforts were made to keep it from feeling cramped by eliminating the sliding doors between the rooms and the difference in floor heights. In addition, we aimed to create a more open space by lowering the ceiling and exposing the existing reinforced concrete building frames. We installed a herringbone wood floor in the now spacious veranda, and placed a sink and counter in the center of the veranda. Existing tatami mats in the Japanese room were replaced with borderless tatami mats, and built-in furniture was added, but basically, we repaired the existing closets, shelves and paper sliding window screens so they could be reused.
By eliminating the separation of the Japanese room and the veranda, we were able to create a comfortable guestroom where guests can enjoy an interior that is both new and old, and Japanese- and Western-style, and spend their time in the room comfortably.