Organising a home out of the ordinary

Izumi Matsumoto lives differently. Not only is she renovating an old building in Tokyo, which is unusual, she also has three other locations she also calls home and shares with several generations of her family. IKEA is interested in how she organises her home so invited her to a workshop in Copenhagen to find out more.

IKEA is travelling the world looking for insights about life at home. A group of people who think and make their homes in unusual and interesting ways are contributing to this research. IKEA calls them Home Pioneers and believes that the many people can learn a lot from their “home pioneer thinking”. This research will make up a part of the fourth IKEA Life at Home Report.

Lydia Choi-Johansson, Intelligence Specialist at IKEA, explains why IKEA is taking this approach: “Over the years we’ve gathered a lot of research about the practical things people need to make life at home better, so this year we want to dig deep into how people really feel about home, from the highs to the lows. This perspective has already revealed that some people stand out from the crowd thanks to their radically different way of thinking. They are ‘super fans’ of life at home, and we think we can learn a lot from them.”

Izumi doesn’t just separate her home into different areas, her family home is divided into different houses. In her home in Tokyo her 80-year-old father lives on the ground floor and her 13-year-old daughter lives upstairs. “The kitchen is the bridge, the centre point where we can talk about logistics,” she says.

Her 17-year-old son lives an hour and a half away by train plus, she co-owns a house with her aunt in the countryside. For a period of time she also lived in America, now she has moved back to Japan, but her husband is still based across the Pacific in California.

A different approach to making a home. Izumi has made a home for her family across several different sites, both in Japan and the United States.
A different approach to making a home. Izumi has made a home for her family across several different sites, both in Japan and the United States.

According to Lydia, IKEA is particularly interested in Izumi’s way of thinking about her home as she is “very good at organizing and prioritizing stuff which is not always easy to do.” 

To find out more about how Izumi thinks about her home, IKEA invited her and 15 other Home Pioneers to a workshop in Copenhagen. During the full-day workshop, Izumi articulated her needs and wishes pertaining to health and well-being. Natural light was important as well as, assuming the air quality is good enough, creating the possibilities for outside air to flow through the home. She talked about creating a kind of borderless home, inviting the elements inside.

Where we are every day, we need peace of mind.

“Where we are every day, we need peace of mind,” says Izumi. She brought with her to the Home Pioneers workshop in Copenhagen a brochure from Japan that describes how you can earth-quake proof your home. “Security is your base, how you feel.”

The full report will be released in October, but keep your eyes peeled during August when the next IKEA catalogue will be launched for some “home pioneering hints”. Read about the workshop in Copenhagen when 16 Home Pioneers spent the day with the IKEA research team.

Izumi's daughter is teaching her grand-father the wonders of the social-media.
Izumi's daughter is teaching her grand-father the wonders of the social-media.