Blog : thai house

Peaceful, Shady Northeastern Thai House

Peaceful, Shady Northeastern Thai House

Out of the edge of a sun hemp field rises what looks to be a traditional huean isaan (Northeastern Thai house). But this home, set in a shady, woodsy atmosphere, fragrant with the aromas of a Thai house and the fun-filled rhythms of Thai family ways, is fully adapted to contemporary ways of life.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Style: Wanas Thira /// Design: Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects

After Sakda and Orapin Sreesangkom had lived 20 years in a condo, they designed this eco-friendly house to find an adaptation of Thai family life that could suit the modern age, and to build environmental awareness in themselves and their children.

The ground floor design echoes the traditional tai thun lower space found beneath Thai houses. A porch reaches outwards to fill the usual roles: entertaining guests, socializing. Up close you’ll see it’s more like 3 houses connected by one deck, each one with wide eaves blocking sun and rain, but with a twist: the underside insulation is “rammed earth,” La Terre’s innovative cooling solution that rapidly absorbs and diffuses heat and is made from organic, renewable materials. Sakda and designers Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects shared the same vision.

The huean isaan takes over in spirit, though, with its outward image evoking a cultural memory reflected in the playfulness of the three boys, Chris, Gav, and Guy, bringing cheer to every corner of the house: playing in the attic, sliding down polished planks beside the stairway, and everyone’s favorite: the sky deck, accessible from anywhere in the house.

The heart of the home is the living room: it’s spacious, with bar counter, dining area, and sofas for relaxing, sized 7 X 11 meters, and with no support pillars blocking the view within. It was designed to mirror the look and function of the tai thun, a space that brings everyone together to do whatever they like to do best, as individuals or a group.

The building foundation supports a raised deck all around the house. This keeps slithering things and garden creepy-crawlies from coming into the house, at the same time creating good ventilation below. The extra area for sitting, stretching the legs, or walking out into the garden is one more bonus.

Sakda’s deep attachment to the traditional huean isaan it what brought this all about. That, and the family’s courage in leaving the convenience of condo life behind them to design, build and live in a completely different way, growing their own garden, and creating a new home that could be passed down to the next generations.

Sun hemp is grown for soil maintenance

Link: Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects

Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition

Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition

This Lanna Thai house of wood is built based on ancient local traditions. It has a simple, relaxed, and open look. Natural breezes blow all day long through its exquisite form, full of the charm of conservation-friendly Lanna craftsmanship.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /// Architecture: Arsomsilp by Mr.Nanthaphong Lertmaneethawisap /// Interior Designer: Preeyachanun Saisakaret

The tai thun guest reception space connects to the kitchen.
A wooden walk from the father’s bedroom to the car park area, built in case wheelchair access may be needed in the future.
Left: In front, the tai thun looks out at the sunrise; Right: raised-floor entrance hall, something like the Japanese style.

The owners named this house “Tathata,” which means “just the way it is,” to express their love of simple country life. “We’re Bangkok people, but love the atmosphere and way of life here in Nan. After coming to work at Nan Hospital, we decided to live here and looked around for where to build till we finally found this property,” says Dr. Tong (Natthathon Kharaphongsathaphon), who owns the house with Dr. Kate (Jittraphon Khwamkhnueng). Their place is on a road convenient to Nan Hospital, in a quiet, natural setting at water’s edge. For design, they hired Geng (Nanthaphong Lertmaneethawisap), of Arsom Silp Community and Environmental Architects.

Geng told us, “The doctors liked the cultural and artistic dimensions of life in Nan, as well as its traditional wooden architecture. The house is only a few kilometers from the city, but in a perfect natural setting, easy breezes blowing around the clock. From the beginning, the words “little house in the big forest” popped into my head. The doctors and I agreed we should take special care of the plants on the property, and we managed to preserve all the trees.”

Double walls with alternating slats sliding open and closed for ventilation.

The doctors wanted the new design to use carefully selected old wood in ways that would preserve traditional Lanna craftsmanship, and wood was taken from 5 traditional Nan Province houses with a lot of colorful history among them. The traditional wide area beneath the house, or tai thun, was designed for receiving guests, and of a piece with a deck connecting it to the kitchen and other sections of the house.

The area around the stairwell is open, so light comes in from above. Walking up, you first come to the altar room, then a living area, and furthest in, the bedrooms. “We tried to build the house airy and open while providing for privacy, safety, and a clear division of space according to use.

Compact bedroom of father and mother.

The stairwell connects all sections of the house.

“Towards the end, while supervising the work I started to learn the craft techniques. I sawed wood, used a chisel, and sharpened bars myself. I even did some of the kind of self-reliant agriculture everyone used to do, raising ducks, geese, and chickens, and growing garden vegetables. Doing this was a revelation: it was entertaining! And it all takes physical effort, so there’s no need to go to the gym,” said Dr. Tong.

This home successfully applies traditional Lanna themes to  present-day life. It’s a dream house that has become a reality in the natural environment of Nan, somehow seeming ordinary while being as beautiful a home as we’ve seen.