A Home with a View

Eastern Inspiration

Elegant home design concerns itself not only with the home as an isolated structure, a pleasing and well-designed object in and of itself, but also with the collective interaction the home has with its surroundings.

The concept of shakkei or “borrowed scenery”—using surrounding scenery to enhance the beauty of a garden or structure—has been a foundational tenant in East Asian architecture for centuries. Instead of relying purely on human-made designs, shakkei borrows surrounding mountains, rivers, lakes, and hills to frame and magnify the beauty of a home.

For instance, this Japanese temple perches between a large pond and small mountains. The surrounding greenery both stands in contrast to the red temple and lends its natural splendor to the structure’s curved roofs and stately columns.

This temple borrows the majesty of the surrounding forest and mountains to enhance its own splendor and sense of serenity.
Views from the temple’s porch frame the surrounding scenery and inspire awe and serenity in the viewer.

Modern Application

When planning your dream home, consider your home’s surroundings, and maximize the available views.

Thoughtful architects consider the natural surroundings of a home as they plan windows, doorways, and columns throughout the space. Borrowed scenery takes full advantage of available “natural resources” to invite authentic beauty into a space.

This vacation home captures an island view within the large great room windows.

Island view home.
Similarly, this “Coastal Cove” home draws on views of a small lighthouse and a local harbor to bring coastal beauty into the dining room and outdoor entertaining space.

Coastal Cove House
Photo by Gelotte Hommas Architecture.
Coastal Cove House
Photo by Gelotte Hommas Architecture.

While shakkei most often “borrows” natural features (mountains, harbors, etc.) to lend beauty to a space, modern architects also frame sprawling skylines or landmark structures to enhance the experience in an urban home’s interior.

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