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Some custom-built homes are based on a theme. For this one in Japan, it’s an absolutely dominating stairway that begins outside and penetrates all three floors as more of a sculpture than a functional means of ascent or descent. The Stairway House, as its appropriately named, was built in residential Tokyo, and the massive stairway actually houses bathrooms and an internal staircase to manage the floors. As the sculptural staircase rises, it increases in grade while the outside is adorned with myriad plants to dress up the exterior. The design plan called for the residence’s footprint to be pushed northward to maximize sunlight entry, and big glass panes let it all in. It also allowed for the preservation of a generations-old persimmon tree that now decorates the front lawn. It’s a house design the likes of which we’ve never seen, and don’t look to rent it on Airbnb since two families reside within.

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Unzip your coat and have some mulled wine on the house—you’ve arrived at your final gifting destination: The Holiday Gift Guide. It’s like your friendly neighborhood one-stop holiday shop, except instead of balsa wood ornaments, ours is packed with thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list. Future heirlooms, small-but-significant stocking stuffers, and gear for getting out there (or staying in)—are all right here. There’s no music playing in the background though, so you’ll just have to hum Bing Crosby while you click around instead.

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