Living ASEAN presents 10 modern tropical homes for an inspiration as we celebrate another year ending and a new one beginning. They focus on a beautiful blend of indoor and outdoor spaces that translates into stylish patios, cool verandas and courtyard tropical gardens. Plus, plenty of ideas to make your yard lush!
Situated in the Bahan township of Yangon, the residence on Bo Cho Street affords beautiful views of Myanmar’s most revered landmark, the Shwedagon Pagoda.
The house was designed to take in the view as well as provide ample open-air spaces for relaxation and entertainment. The three-story L-shaped building wraps around a large courtyard garden. A basement provides parking for seven cars.
With over 26,000 square feet, it caters to individual needs of a big family with seven grown children, each with a bedroom suite. A variety of different living, dining, and meeting areas provide a range of entertaining options. An upper level sitting area overlooks the spacious double-height living room. The library provides a more intimate area with built-in cabinets to store wine.
There is a VIP guest room with comfortable seating arrangements and a large meeting area. All the way through, custom designed doors and flooring made of Padauk wood paired with natural marble bring the interior to perfection. The owners also ordered custom-made tables cut from a single tree.
There is a peaceful pavilion facing the Shwedagon. It appears to float above a lotus pond and connects to an open-air meditation verandah. The original design featured a swimming pool at the center of the L-shaped house plan, but during construction the homeowners thought it wise to turn it into a tranquil fishpond.
“We then had to find a way to modify the site and landscape design accordingly, while maintaining the same visual appeal,” explained Amelie Chai, principal architect at SPINE Architects. “While adapting to the clients’ needs, our design keeps the focus on serene interiors with plenty of access to natural light and terraces.”
When the long trip of taking her college-age daughters from the old house in Samphran district of Nakhon Pathom Province for drop-off in the center of Bangkok became too exhausting, the owner decided to find a place to live near the University instead. She needed both convenience and a place close enough to Samphran that she could occasionally go back and forth.
Eventually she found this 350- square-meter condominium and fixed it up as a second home. It took two years of design and decoration, but in the end it filled her every need.
“From our first discussions with the designers we developed a pretty clear concept. Mom used to favor the classic Roman style, but when we bought these rooms, we all agreed to switch to a more contemporary look,” said the eldest daughter.
The space was adapted to fit the family. The original three bedrooms became four, one for each of them. Coming through the front door brings us into a large central room with a dining area and a small corner with a counter and fancy round modern-looking table. Décor includes a classic-style chandelier and a contemporary display case. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, simply with the feeling of being a nice place to live.
The design plan splits rooms into a left and a right wing. To the left, next to the dining room is a parlor dominated by navy blue, with an exotic beauty of rippling velvet drapes giving the wall a dimension of light and shadow. Furthest inside is a trendy entertainment room decorated in dark tones energized by the warmth of a big red leather sofa. Outside, the balcony holds a little garden where you can drink in the fresh atmosphere while enjoying a wide urban view.
Also in the left wing is the eldest daughter’s room, decorated in clean, easy-on-the-eye and relaxing tones of white. Here are contemporary touches: cigarette-smoke-colored velvet drapes, a bedside table with a classic form. The middle daughter’s bedroom is here, too, no less special with bright colors, and the same secret sweetness you’ll find in its occupant’s personality,
The right wing includes kitchen, storage room, and a maid’s room. The youngest sister, who is studying fashion design, has dressed up her bedroom in an avant-garde modern style she’s completely in love with.
The mother designed her own room to be sweet, but still full of contemporary chic with a dark wood floor, modern vintage furniture, and shiny sequined throw cushions on the sofa.
During the design and décor process, the professional designers got to know the individual personalities, tastes, and preferences of family members quite well, and tried their best to pass on some design knowledge to them, which is how each room came to so clearly reflect the taste of the person living there.
Building a spacious house on a solid ground may be a suitable choice for most people. But for Jeravej Hongsakul, an architect who came up with Siri House design, a vertical-shaped house in the city can be just the right place for a family too.
Siri House is situated in Surawongse Road, Bangkok. The place belongs to Suree Sirivatjanangkun where she lives with her siblings.
“The location is in an urban district,” Suree said. “So we figured it should also be an office for our family business. We would like to live together as one extended family, a big family in the business neighborhood.
“We wanted to fill a house with warmth but also fond of modern atmosphere. To create interactions between us, everyone should be able to see each other. We didn’t want to divide the space into one floor per person. It would be no different than living separately.”
With this in mind, Jeravej came up with a solution. “I preferred each unit to be able to stand alone, but fully functional. I began by designing a living room, a bedroom, a working space, a double volume leisure room, a bathroom and a small kitchen. There were lots of functions. So, I needed to manage the space. I connected each unit through an accessible elevated hall, which also distribute natural light. Thus, each unit had its own unique shape.”
A house will always be a house. No matter it is constructed horizontally or vertically. Understanding the key to create an interaction in a family. It will eventually build an intimate bonding between members of a family or even between people in a city. Just as it occurs to Siri House.
When being asked why building the house so far off, Nantapong Yindeekhun, the home owner mentioned his dad as his first priority. “We plan to move here to pursuit a career in farming after my dad has retired.
Nantapong and his family fled Bangkok big flood in 2011 to Ratchaburi. They has fallen in love with the place since then and decided to build a house here.
To accommodate every family member’ needs, the house has taken up a large space. Each room is divided, but bridging together through a square-shaped corridor.
The center court is hemmed in by a system of corridors that conveniently connects to the living spaces. Long roof overhangs protect the walkway and exterior walls from the elements.
A rock garden is situated in the heart of the courtyard alongside canopy trees. Looking from above, patches of lush foliage act as a curtain for privacy. But for the home office on the ground floor, they offer quiet, peaceful atmosphere.
The corridor and balcony rely on cantilever beams, which are cost effective and make good architectural sense. “I think cantilever beams are like bonuses that the main structure has to offer. They eliminate the needs for extra foundations and save time. Supported by the main structure, the balconies and corridors are 1.50-meters wide. The exterior walls sport the rustic look of old rice barn,” said the designer.
For this reason, timber materials are not chemically treated. Its durability relies on the quality of the wood itself. Takhianthong (Hopea Odorata) is mainly used. This timber is used in making boat piers and can tolerate year of rains and sunshine. Likewise, concrete surfaces are left intact to bring out their true textures.
“For the time being I am shuttling between home in the city and this country house. One day, should I grow tired of living in the city, this is the place to be. It is beautiful living out here. In the cold season, natural light is just about right, warm and comforting. You just have to see it yourself,” said the homeowner.
After all, it is the modern meets rustic charm which makes this half concrete half wood house a warm and humble feel like no other.
Naked concrete walls, steel structures and cantilevered frame combined, giving the modern house striking curb appeal.
/// Thailand ///
Story: Otto Otto /// Photo: Sungwan Phratem /// Architect: Plankrich
This modern house plan stretch along east-west axis, which is much longer than its width. An alfresco mezzanine is built on the top of a garage by lifted a floorboard up above the ground. The thick naked concrete facade shelters a storage room and a kitchen. Together, both structures shield a living space from the glare of afternoon sun.
The interior features a spacious rectangular-shaped room. The white multi-purpose space is set parallel to the poolside veranda, separated by a clear glass wall. The veranda itself is protected by a concrete slab juts out roughly 2 meters from the exterior wall. The room is functioned as a pantry, a living room and a workspace overlooking a full lush landscape.
A sharp 90-degree angles turn leads to a small bedroom and a bathroom around the corner. At the farthest end lies a master bedroom, also with a poolside view.
Building a modern house like this requires a well-rounded thought. It truly reflects the owner’s consideration toward future maintenance and care. And moreover, the ability to overcome challenges in design and engineering.
In Kuala Lumpur, situated a stunning energy saving home with much more than meets the eye.
/// Malaysia ///
Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamlich /// Photo: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul /// Design: ArchiCentre by Tan Loke Mun
The house sits on a plot of land where an old home had been for more than sixty years. The old house was demolished, making room for the new. Here, the owner and the designer join hands to keep matured trees in the property the way they have always been.
Materials from the old house weren’t wasted. Tan Loke Mun of ArchiCenter has managed to incorporate those into the new “S11” house. Its environmental-consciousness has earned the house the prestigious platinum Green Building Index (GBI).
Attention was shown in every detail. Concretes from the house were recycled, making walkways along the exterior walls. Old bricks were also given a new breath of life. Old steel windows grids were reused to reassure the security. Interestingly, old wood are also used as scaffolding during the construction due to the limitation of steel rods.
Built along the north-south axis, the house allows the wind to flow in to its living room. Large windows and openings reduces heat. West-facing exterior were crafted from lightweight anti-heat-absorbing material. Lush vines were grown on trellises. Five full-grown trees buffers the house from the sun in hot summer days. Extra thick insulation was applied under a metal sheet roof to prevent the heat, while chosen windows were made from low-emissivity glass.
To prevent heat from building up inside, the three-storey (plus a basement) house has an air duct system to levitate hot air to the rooftop. With this genius design, no air-conditioning machine is needed.
The designer intended to use materials in their true forms. Thus, painting and coating were minimized. Naked concrete, bare brick walls, natural wood in neutral tones prevail. Where paints were needed, the designer choose Low VOC paint to lessen environmental damages.
In a nutshell, this house is the one with environmental consciousness, crafting for co-living with nature inside out. Such energy saving home is considered a true earth-friendly building.
His fans and admirers may expected to see exciting construction techniques and exquisite materials, but it turned out the design was kept simple. Kwanchai’s main goal was building a house to meet his urban lifestyle. Thus, the prime location in the inner Chiang Mai city.
“A detached home was out of the question, the land was very expensive. Another option was a row house. After the survey, I chose this three-unit shop house. The size was right, I was able to give it a complete makeover.”
Kwanchai literally removed everything out, including the old stairways. The only remaining were pillars and beams. The floor plans for all three units were completely redesigned. He wanted each unit to have its own characteristic, but the space was limited. So, he only focused on making the right corner look different instead.
The small guest room is tucked away at the far end of the first floor. Custom designed double bunks make it suitable for sleeping two guests.
The mezzanines were taken out. The omnipresence of reclaimed wood beams and floorboards brings back vintage charms. On the ground floor, sits a compact 2-person guest bedroom and a carport.
The second floor is neatly designed for multiple uses. The sitting room is in the front section, a dining space in the middle, and the kitchen and bathroom in the back. The dining area is a bit narrowed, to make room for the stairway. The décor exposes the owner’s love for vintage collectibles. Oblique-aligned wooden wall and floorboards gives a warm, homey feeling.
On the third floor, the bedroom in the front section is kept clean and uncluttered. In-room dressing room and bathroom is separated by a sliding door. The interior continue to a neutral shade for relaxation. The décor is minimal with only few essential furniture.
The key to this row house renovation is reclaimed wood. Added for more natural light are wide windows. The result is an airy house, one that is small but has everything for a vibrant city lifestyle.
Here in the Mae Ann neighborhood of Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim District, life is simple. Dewdrops lingers on paddy fields, the scenic view seems to stretch farther than the eye could see. The house stands among teak trees.
At first, the land was left unattended. But Seksan Silpwatananukul, the designer manage to change the whole look to a raw concrete house. According to Seksan, every detail is well-considered.
“I took my time to look around in no hurry. After a talk with the owner, multiple levels seemed to suit the landscape best. We didn’t really stick to any particular style. But I would say Tropical modern is the best definition for it.”
The posh condominium room offers a generous 78-square meters space. Obviously, Pavis Simakulthorn, the homeowner’s favorite color is blue and his other passion are ceramic collections. As a result, these are among the first things he requested to Watana Kowatanabhorn, the designer.
“I wanted shelves, lots of them. They had to be in blue or indigo, which are my favorites.”
Pavis bought the room years ago, before meeting Watana and selected him to design the place. Recognizing the preferences of the homeowner, Watana designed an eye-catching European style pantry. The pantry’s function is to show off ceramic and glassware collections. Tray ceiling is enhanced by decorative trim molding.
A reading room next to the pantry is full of bookshelves. Shelves are filled with books in Thai and foreign languages. A priceless antique bead necklace collection is also shown on the shelf. Another interesting feature is a wallpaper, which Pavis discovered from a trip to Paris.
“While visiting a friend. I came across a wallpaper store that design wallpapers for Hermes and other world-class brands. I ordered custom-made one for the room. Three month later, the ocean blue wallpaper arrived. I just love it.”
Outside, the balcony is adorned with a Cupid statue, which Pavis cherished, while the bedroom interior mainly use purple. “I’m very impressed by the designer’s choice. The color is warm and relaxing. Deep shades representscomplexity and is the last color on usually sees before going to sleep at night.”
The bedroom features DM Home wrought iron bed. The headboard is designed by the homeowner to match with the pillows. A wooden built-in cabinet is used to store collectibles and photographs. Wooden strips overhead keeps the air-conditioning machine hidden. The décor scream out eclectic tones with fur, antique pieces and stuffed animals.
Little details go well with the whole design. Built-in accessories storages features trim molding similar to Roman pillars. The bathroom at the far end includes a subtle, luxurious elements. Floor tiles are custom-made to complement the elegant rug.
The bedroom features a wrought iron bed in black by DM Home. The homeowner designs headboard treatments herself by emulating pillow patterns. The bed cover is one of a kind. To the right stands a built-in wood cabinet used for storing collectibles and photographs. Over the head, decorative strips keep the air-conditioning unit hidden in plain sight. The walls are painted a light shade of pastel purple with whit accents. Decorating details speak to the Eclectic style including fur, antique collectibles, and stuffed animals.
The homeowner’s personal eclectic style is clearly expressed in the place. Just as Pavis’s conclusion. “I believe the room was left in a good hand. The designer’s understanding and ideas are as expected. The chemistry is right, I guess.”