Muji, the famed Japanese retailer of “no-brand” home goods—and over the last 15 years, entire small homes—has released its fourth, and latest, prefabricated abode in Japan.
Dubbed Yō no le (Plain House), the dwelling is a noted departure from the retailer’s previous venture into prefab housing, a slim and decidedly stair-intensive abode geared for impossibly tight urban lots named Tate no le (Vertical House) launched in 2010. While Yō no le is predictably compact and ultra-unfussy in keeping with Muji’s pared-down aesthetic, it’s the first prefab home offering from the company to be entirely stair-free and geared more toward rural environs than cramped Japanese cities where there’s not much room to go aside from up.
Sporting 800 square feet of interior living space with a generously sized deck with room for container gardening out back, Yō no le’s flexible single-floor, single-bedroom layout is geared to appeal to homeowners who want to settle down and stay put in the same space for the long haul. A particular target market is seniors and empty nesters looking to live a more minimalist—and low-maintenance—lifestyle. Boasting clean lines, light wood, and loads of natural light, the highly customizable home (Muji also makes pretty much everything under the sun one would want to customize the home with) was described by the company as being designed to “accommodate wide range of generations and provide more choices for places to live, thus supporting a variety of lifestyles.”
Although Muji has a healthy retail presence across the globe including over a dozen stateside stores mainly in New York and California, Yō no le, like the company’s other prefab homes, is only available for sale in Japan at an affordable $160,000.
Of course, Muji isn’t the only purveyor of home furnishings to delve into the production of simply designed and assembled homes catering specifically to baby boomers and beyond. In 2019, IKEA announced a partnership with Swedish construction behemoth Skanska to erect a series of modular homes in the Stockholm suburbs for elderly inhabitants living with dementia.