Reader Discussion Part II - Back to School Blues
Natural & Green Living Week - Sustainable Shopping!

My Vintage Pad - Home Tour Japan - Wan of Cotton Blue


Tell us a little about your home.

    I have a typical Japanese apartment, small (about 70 square meters), not enough sunlight, the builders try to use every little space efficiently with lots of build-in-wardrobes, tiny kitchen and bathroom, Ready-to-move-in therefore not too much creations you could make. 

   My living room is facing west, most people would say facing south is the best, but I prefer west, because of the beautiful sunset, the room fulfilled with warmth in afternoon.

     Living room is the place my family spends the most time, eating, working, entertaining, I divided it into two parts, the left side is for eating and relaxing, the right part is for working and entertaining.

     For the left side, I use simple antique white as the main theme, and a little bit blue for the highlights. I could not choose which part is my favorite, I love them all, the cupboard, the couch, and the little shelf above it.



I collect beautiful fine china dinner wares, especially those blue with rose patterns. Everything in my cupboard came from thrift stores, flea markets. most of the prices not even as expensive as an apple in Japan, but they are my treasures.



I made the slipcover of the couch with simple soft blue stripes and checks fabric, it is my first sewing project. My two westie babies also love it, they take naps everyday on the couch.

  And the shelf above, it is totally what I need, perfect for displaying my thrift finds, enamel wares, blue china, and antique tins. It is the place for showing my handmade totes as well.

I want more colors for the right part because it is the place for fun.



My favorite part of the right is the colorful shabby old oak shelves for my books, thrift trinkets and fabric. I did not planed to line those 3 big shelves together like this when I bought them, however, that wall is the only place big enough to place them, this is might not the best way to present their individual beauty but very interesting I think.


Also I like the little show place for my vintage finds, this is a build-in-wardrobe before, I hated it so much. Why hiding things? I need to show off!!!! Therefore I remove the doors, decorate with a shelf border, filled with my little goodness.


My bedroom is facing east, and has very little lights, because Japanese apartments share same elevator for one floor, the outside of bedroom window is the public corridor.


When I first saw my bedroom I almost cried, it is so small, about 6 square meters, also very dark. Therefore, for the decoration I choose antique white furniture, soft color beddings and soft color decorating items. I believe that simple monochromatic color theme makes the small spaces feels bigger.

  For the summer time, I prefer to use light blue, like my favorite patchwork bed cover, seashells give a cool feeling. My favorite part of my bedroom is the small shelf for display my collected sleeping wares.


Where do you find inspiration for decorating your home?

I got decoration ideas from Magazines and of course the Flickr, there are some of great Japanese decoration magazines such as Sutekina country , zakka. Etc. and I could sit in front of my notebook and searching for pictures of decoration on Flickr for whole night. 


How do vintage things play a role in your room/home?

In my home, you could find vintage things everywhere, vintage furniture, kitchenware, displays, clothes….

Flea markets in Japan is not very popular, but thrift stores everywhere, there are two near my home and I almost go there everyday, and always got surprises.

I love to go to flea markets when I travel to other counties, the first thing I went to a new place is go to the tourist information, asking if there is any flea market held in town. I do not buy a lot souvenirs but take back the whole luggage of vintage finds.

Any advice on creating your look?

I have to be honest, I have totally no knowledge of decoration, I could even not say the right word for the colors. I believe in my heart, when you see something at the first sight you just know it, you need it!

I love shabby chic style, but not too chic, I love colors but not too colorful. I love the word COZY, and I try to make my home comfortable, not only for me and my hubby, also comfy for my dogs, I hate to making rules to them, they could jump to anywhere they like, therefore everything in my home should be easy for cleaning, that is why I love soft furnishing so much. They exercise their teeth on my furniture as their chew-toys, no problem, every time I saw those marks, I smile and remembering our old happy days. That is why I love shabby chic vintage furniture so much. J

Also the budget issues, we have a lot of other things to worry about in real life. It does not have to be an art by famous artist, I use vintage frames with fabrics, cheap print to decorating the walls. Famous brand beddings are way too high, I just simply make my own. Matching is important but not the restrict rule, mix match is also great. Everything could be used or remade to be used for decorating purpose. Just need a little bit imagination I think.

I have lot of works to do with my apartment in future, get rid of wall paper and paint the wall, some works on kitchen, floors..…. Changes make me happy.

A special thank you to Wan Wang of cottonblue. Please visit cottonblue via Etsy for a wonderful line of Japanese fabrics and supplies.



I love your photos. Everything is so beautiful and soft. I like the shabby-chic feel too. Great pictures and a treat to take a peek around.


I am totally in love with your apartment! What an inspiring place! Simple, clean-line, so tastefully decorated and full of life!

LuAnn Smith

I just discovered cotton blue a couple of days ago and was so happy to see more on vintage indie this morning. Really lovely and, yes, very cozy... Cozy is a good word!


Beautiful rooms! And I love your book shelves. Fabulous.

I'm going to sit and sigh for a moment now.

Thank you, d.


This is very unlike what i would picture a Japanese household to look like! Her home is fabulous and very very full of her personality. I'm saving the whole bunch for inspiration.


So great! It is nice to see that style being translated all around the globe! So beautiful, thanks for sharing!


Wow! I want to have a hot cup of tea in your apartment; it's so charming and sweet. :)

cindy~my romantic home

This is not at all how I pictured an apartment in Japan looking! I love it! So much charm!

Chic Banana

What a gorgeous place! I love it!!

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