The word kura means warehouse and these buildings were traditionally used for storage. Because the contents could be very valuable, kura were designed to be secure and the windows and doors look similar to the sort of vault door you might see in a bank. This was also to protect against fire and even though based on a wooden structure, the mud based walls would complete the physical barrier.
Typically they are built on a stone foundation and the structure simply rests on top of the stone.
This avoids significant damage during earthquakes and the tremendous weight and strength of the structure is sufficient that physical attachment to the foundation is not needed. The vast number of surviving kura, many over 200 years old, are in good condition, which is a testament to this design.
As kura were not designed to be habitable, the windows are usually small and ceilings can be low. In this case, the floor was dropped 30cm to give more headroom, and large windows were added, looking out over the valley.
All the original stone foundation, windows, door and wooden frame have been retained. Lowering the floor has allowed one central foundation rock and the stone foundation to be revealed inside as a feature.
The staircase was added, using a mixture of timber, reclaimed wood and a full, naturally curved trunk for the banister.
A luxury bathroom and kitchen were added. It can all be hidden with natural wood features to feel the historic origin of the building.
Upstairs, all the original wood and the main wooden beam was retained complete with the original carpenter’s signature. The bed was built to fit the space, large enough for luxury but without impeding on headroom at the sides. Some antique furniture has been added to complement the design and history of the kura.