Japanese style building upgrades

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Project by danoaz posted 10-26-2014 06:01 PM 2100 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

You are looking at a Gift Shop building at the main entrance to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, AZ. It measures about 22 feet by 14 feet deep with a height of 10 feet from floor to underside of overhang. It was built by the City during the summer of 2013 when the Garden is closed to the public due to high heat of the season. When you see the two “before” photos, you realize that the funds for this project were limited to say the least. This past 2014 summer, I was commissioned to “beautify” the building based on other Japanese buildings that are in the Garden. The original construction had 3.5 inch wide pine trim that I removed and replaced with 3/4” x 3.5 inch cedar on the vertical and 3/4” x 10” on the base. I added more trim to try and emulate traditional Japanese construction which is exposed posts and beams with plaster walls between. I also added full trim around the windows and installed the removable grilles, again based on a traditional Japanese Tea House that is in the Garden. I designed and built a cover for the AC unit on the backside of the building because this is exposed to the Garden as the visitors leave the Garden.
As much as I would have liked to have done it all in clear cedar that just wasn’t possible with the budget. The lumberyards in Phoenix don’t carry Western Cedar and so everything I ordered I had to use or put aside for some future projects. I say that because of all the knots that came with the wood and I had to be selective in the pieces that were eventually used. I ended up using about 2/3 of the wood I ordered because of knots and or other defects. All of the wood that I ordered was also from 1×12 in 10 feet lengths that I had to mill down.
I designed and made the light fixture that you see on the front between the sliding door and the window. Hopefully as more money becomes available I will be able to put in a more traditional Japanese door.
There are also plans to install a lower pitched roof section in the front that will hopefully bring the scale of the building down since that was a cost cutting measure from the original design.
This was my first “big” project that I did on my own and I found it to be extreme challenging. Doing it during the hot Phoenix summer with monsoon storms was an added bonus. Comments welcome. Thanks for viewing.

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

5 comments so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2865 days

#1 posted 10-26-2014 11:32 PM

Congratulations; a very nice job.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View sras's profile


5189 posts in 3633 days

#2 posted 10-26-2014 11:49 PM

An impressive upgrade!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2375 days

#3 posted 10-27-2014 12:55 AM

Very nicely done, especially with all the budgetary constraints.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2989 days

#4 posted 10-27-2014 03:18 PM

Looks beautiful. Something about that whole aesthetic, I really dig it.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Ty Moser's profile

Ty Moser

85 posts in 2042 days

#5 posted 08-17-2015 05:06 PM

Awesome job on this! It was pretty sad looking before you got a hold of it!

-- Check out my projects at or at

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