The Story of the House of Kani

カニの家 Kani no ie 

(The House of the Crab)

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Hinata (Best Warmth) was a painter who fell on hard times. He could not make enough money to eat. One night he snuck into the Emperor’s palace garden to steal Kabocha (pumpkin). He was caught and the furious Emperor as sentenced him to death.

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Hinata begged for his life and the Emperor took pity. As punishment, the Emperor banished him to 'Hi to kōri no shima' (the Island of Fire and Ice) a small distant island which during the day was blisteringly hot and at night was freezing cold.

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After 2 weeks on the island without sleep, Hinata noticed two monkeys fighting over a Kani (crab). Thinking he could himself eat the Kani, he chased off the two monkeys. Kani begged Hinata not to eat him, promising one wish in return. Hinata thought for a minute and asked Kani to make him something that will keep him cool in the blistering heat and warm in the icy cold. Kani agreed and built a house for Hinata.

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The days ticked by and Hinata rejoiced in his new house; after many moons Kani returned to Hinata, where he found him painting and enjoying the sunshine within his house. Hinata welcomed Kani and they both sat side by side in the house of Kani; a house of creativity, purpose and calm.

About Kani.House

Of course, that's just a folk tale - but when you live in a Land of Fire and Ice (or are subjected to the Great British weather!) the quality of your "house" becomes paramount.

Though each of our designs is entirely bespoke and visually unique, they do of course share a common DNA thanks to our unique build method.  This guarantees the three pillars of our work:

  1. Each building is precisely designed to fit the space in which it will exist, taking into account the context of its surroundings.  Any shape and size is possible, and finishes are chosen specifically to enhance the environment in which it is placed.
  2. All our buildings are super-insulated.  In fact, much better insulated than most houses and other garden buildings.  They're also designed for energy efficiency, taking into account airtightness, solar gain from glazing, and their precise situation.  The result is a building that is comfortable and inviting, all year round.
  3. Longevity is key.  Our buildings are carefully designed to maximise the life of every component, and materials are chosen for a design life of 30+ years with minimal maintenance - and by minimal we mean little more than cleaning.

Kani.House is more than just a story.  It is a genuine family business with old-fashioned values of quality and service at its heart.  Owners Neil & Vanessa Phillipson, and our realisation team led by Jeremy Phillipson, are dedicated to bringing your ideas to life while truly enhancing your environment and providing you with a space for creativity, purpose and calm.  We're also passionate about the wider environment, taking every possible care to minimise the ecological impact of our buildings, designing in energy efficiency, reusable and recycled/recyclable materials, and conserving resources at every stage of the build as well as after delivery.

neil phillipson

Neil Phillipson, Owner of

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