Many of our self-help builders have already built a tea house according to our plans. However, in French Guiana, this is probably our first realization of this kind. Here is an interview with Isabella, a chashitsu builder, which is the traditional name for a Japanese tea house.
Where are you building your teahouse?
I live in French Guiana (South America); we have equatorial weather with a raining season ( it can rain up to 600 mm to 1000mm in may) and a dry season ( July to December). The weather conditions were a big challenge for us, we needed to adapt the materials to the humidity rate (90% and up) and the temperatures ( 25 to 35d Celsius). The measurements were kept, and only materials were adapted to the local conditions. Doors couldn’t be covered with rice paper!
Have you been choosing between more of our designs?
I really wanted a Japanese tea house with a Japanese mineral garden. I use it as a meditation spot. My daughter was getting older, and I transformed her sandy playground next to our house into this little peaceful Japanese spot. I love to sip some tea early in the morning, looking at the birds.
Have you been building it yourself (DIY) or with some professional help?
I asked a friend who is a really good carpenter to build it and adapt it with local woods ( Wapa wood for the roof, ebony mainly, and Saint Martin wood). He was very excited and involved in this original construction project.
What became the most challenging thing for you during the whole process?
The WAPA roof is always challenging to build as it is very technical, but my friend knows how to proceed with my help ( cutting the wood correctly is very hard). We put some white plexiglass pieces on the doors to look like rice paper. I also put in air conditioning and electricity; I can use the house to host friends or to have a nap even when it’s hot outside.
Have you read our book How to Build a Tiny House? If yes, did you find the content helpful?
How long did it take to build your tea house?
About 4 months.
Any recommendations for new tea-house builders who are just about to start their building journey or are deciding to buy our plans?
Buy the plans, adapt the materials to the weather conditions, and ask professionals for information about materials.
Did you apply any of the sustainable living ideas in your tea house? e.g., reusing the rainwater
Any more comments you would like to add?
It is now my favorite spot in the garden. A terrace with a jacuzzi and gym ( indoor bike and rower) is to the side of it and completes my little heaven place.