Blog : HOUSES

Little Farmhouse in the Fields

Little Farmhouse in the Fields

Six years before this October’s rice planting season Koi (Naiduangta Pathumsut) and Rung (Rungroj Kraibut) began building this house with a meager savings of three hundred thousand baht. That didn’t produce the home we see today, but was enough for the concrete structure and roof. Before long their enthusiasm and energy produced this house, the pride of the local countryside.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Style: Jeedwonder 

Folding doors of old wood open wide, giving the house an old-fashioned atmosphere

“Ton Tarn” (“Stream Trees”) is the name of the single-storey house Koi’s parents first built back when the trees were seedlings. They bequeathed it to her and Rung, who built this new house connecting to the original.

Folding doors of old wood open wide, giving the house an old-fashioned atmosphere
Folding doors of old wood open wide, giving the house an old-fashioned atmosphere

Koi was born here in Suphan Buri, but moved when in kindergarten. Eventually completing Thai Language Studies at the Faculty of Education in Chiang Mai, she worked in Bangkok before returning to Suphan to help her father with his work in overcoming child illiteracy. Uthai Thani native Rung studied environmental geography and has worked for the Seub Nakhasathien and Sarnsaeng-arun Foundations to promote learning about living with nature. After the great flood of 2011 the couple built this two-story home – connecting to the original single-storey house – to escape future flooding.

“If we’d waited to get all the money, we’d have never been ready, we wouldn’t have started or done it,” said Rung.

With the steady help of local craftsmen the basic structure was built in two years, but by then the money had run out and the work had to depend on just the two hands of “Craftsman Rung” for the wood walls, doors, windows, and some furniture.

“I figured on using nimtree and Burmese rosewood trees on our property, and we still had old wood, doors, and windows set aside. After another two years the exterior looked finished, but there was still a lot of work to do.”

A multi-use spot opening on a wide view, with steel “cage doors” for security
A multi-use spot opening on a wide view, with steel “cage doors” for security
Rung’s bicycle collection and workshop supports his hobby: cycling into Chiang Mai with friends, doing a solo trek to Uthai Thani, etc.
Rung’s bicycle collection and workshop supports his hobby: cycling into Chiang Mai with friends, doing a solo trek to Uthai Thani, etc.
The kitchen wall has painted green shutters, “tank-shaped” chairs, and a simple shelf above the door
The kitchen wall has painted green shutters, “tank-shaped” chairs, and a simple shelf above the door
The kitchen wall has painted green shutters, “tank-shaped” chairs, and a simple shelf above the door
The kitchen wall has painted green shutters, “tank-shaped” chairs, and a simple shelf above the door

 

The 9-acre property includes the parents’ house, the main house, and a rice granary. There’s a natural well with a planted bamboo border. Umbrella bamboo is grown for its edible shoots, and giant thorny bamboo for fencing. The bamboo orchard is in one area, rice paddies in another, and big, harvestable trees remain from the time of Rung’s grandfather.

“November to March is the perfect season for growing leafy vegetables we use ourselves, but we switch crops sometimes. Vine veggies like string beans, loofah, and squash are perennials, a natural way to prevent disease and insects that often spread when growing just a single crop.”

“The image of our house in the middle of the fields looks great. We can’t do anything about how farming in the area has changed: use of chemicals, burning sugarcane fields. We can only adapt to it and build on our own natural world. Our joy is in the pride of doing things with our own hands. There’s nothing perfect in nature: it’s all a learning experience, like life as a married couple, gradually adapting. Where we can’t adapt, we create understanding so we can live together.”

Next to the house is a woodworking shop Rung also uses to store wood. Scaffolding used to build the house was converted to storage racks.
Next to the house is a woodworking shop Rung also uses to store wood. Scaffolding used to build the house was converted to storage racks.

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Natural Surroundings: Mountains, River, Shady Trees

Natural Surroundings: Mountains, River, Shady Trees

On Kanchanaburi’s River Kwai we stand beneath tall trees, their canopy of robust branches and green leaves filtering sunlight into shade as a cool, comfortable breeze riffles the water and we gaze out across the Erawan National Park forest. This enchanted spot is where CEO Dr. Suwin Kraibhubes of Beauty Community, Pcl. decided to build his vacation home.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Anupong Chaisukkasem /// Design: Rojanin milintanasit /// Owner-decorator: Dr. Suwin Kraibhubes

Nature HouseNature House

“In the old days there was a resort here, but abandoned, it fell apart. Coming here on a visit I found myself getting excited about this panoramic mountain view, the forest preserve, the peaceful river. I hadn’t known  Kanchanaburi had such a quiet, pleasant riverside woodland as this.”

Dr. Suwin had always had a deep feeling for good design and home decoration. He followed this up with a lot of reading from many sources, and bought furniture and house accessories to add to his own collection and deck out this vacation home in a style suiting this great location on the River Kwai.

Nature House Nature House Nature House

“I had a lot of ideas, including building on the original resort’s foundations, and found an architect to help. With modern-style gable roofs, the shapes are reminiscent of a tobacco-curing plant. I didn’t want to make the house too eye-catching, but more low-key, in tune with nature, so we used strong, dark colors with natural materials such as wood, stone, and steel, materials with beautiful colors and textures of their own, that also are easy to maintain. The result is a relaxed retreat where we don’t stay every day, but that fits in beautifully with the natural environment.”

Nature House Nature House Nature House

Dr. Suwin’s personal living space is a compact house on a hill directly above the water. The full residence extends across the property: another three steel-frame buildings are set in a quiet corner. There is a separate structure in the center for use as a reception area and common dining room near a two-story house built to accommodate more family members and friends.

Nature House Nature House Nature House

“I live on the river bank for comfort. It’s a little like a greenhouse: the walls are glass and face out on the river, giving both a beautiful view and privacy. Mornings I really enjoy looking out from the porch. I can see everything from there, it feels like we’re in the middle of everything!”

Nature House Nature House Nature House Nature House

Dr. Suwin gets a lot of outdoor time here, playing in the water with the kids, kayaking, jet skiing, enjoying nature by Tha Thung Na Dam. Sometimes in the cool evening air he sits out on a raft, socializing with his friends.

Nature House

“I really love that this house has both mountains and river. Outside we get the full benefits of being close to nature: almost no landscaping needed. I love the big trees the most, giving the house that refreshing. shady frame.”

 
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Local, with a Modern FlavorLocal, with a Modern Flavor

Modern House amid a Country Atmosphere
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Container House for a Family Full of Different Characters

Container House for a Family Full of Different Characters

Starting with the idea of building a temporary residence from commercial containers, Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio had to analyze the different characters of the family members who would live there. In the end, this temporary project became a permanent house made from 15 containers.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Design: Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio /// Owner: Non and Chutiporn Som Chobkhai

Container House

The house has 2 wings, one used for the living area. The master bedroom is on the second floor. An open wood-floored multipurpose space runs longitudinally through the house as a sort of inner courtyard, enabling family interaction and serving as a channel for heat release and air circulation from front to back. Similar decks in front and back follow the width of the house and set it back a distance to reduce heat entering the container elements of the house. Trees planted in front add another level of protection from the western sun.

Container House Container HouseContainer House

Blocking partitions behind the house create a wind channel to reduce any late-morning heat from eastwards. To minimize heat and humidity, bathrooms are placed on the south side, some containing plants suggestive of old-time country houses where bathing was done outside, pouring from water jars. Another important feature is the sprayed-in roof insulation.

Container House Container House

The living room is done in a spacious “open plan” style, connecting it to the large food preparation area/pantry with facilities such as a coffee brewer, an island with a gas range, and storage shelves for kitchenware with a large protective screen to keep the space more orderly. The second-floor verandah has a gap cut where netting is placed for people to sit, lie back, and chill; this also helps release heat and brings natural light into the central area, as well as giving it depth.

Container House Container HouseContainer House Container House

To avoid a busy look, white was chosen as the primary color for interior décor. Because of the limitations of working utility systems, a lot of them necessarily show inside the house. Some metal posts had to be added to container walls and ceilings to accommodate electrical systems without further lowering the already rather low container ceilings. A steel framework was constructed to meet the proportions of container walls, as well. The wood of the inner “courtyard” and decks gives a warm feeling.

Container House Container House

In front of the house that feeling is a little diminished, as real stone is used in the staircase area to give the atmosphere of a modern-design garden, playing off the boxlike shape of the container house. The fence also features a play of vertical and horizontal lines, using the language of design to simultaneously create a look of transparency and a sense of privacy.

Each area is designed to suit the behavior of the family members living there, and this links the family and strengthens relationships all the more.

 

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

This Chiang Mai house sits on a plot surrounded by fields of rice in Mae Rim District. The upper floor, all bedrooms, is of wood. Downstairs the many open walls give the sense of the Thai traditional tai thun below-the-house spaciousness, and it serves as living room, dining room, and coffee nook, with a natural breeze providing cool comfort all day long.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Architect: Studio Miti, by Prakij Kanha /// Owner: Anisaa Wangtragul and Apichai Wangtragul

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

Prakij Kanha from Studio Miti designed this house, which stretches lengthwise along the long side of an L-shaped property, with frame, walls, and post construction primarily of wood taken from 5 old houses in locations all over Chiang Mai.

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

The house has a small courtyard along its length, a channel for natural breezes to blow that adds to an overall sense of relaxed informality.
The house has a small courtyard along its length, a channel for natural breezes to blow that adds to an overall sense of relaxed informality.

A 3.5 meter dimension in the original house design was expanded to 4 meters, and the porch was widened for a more comfortable experience of relaxed viewing of nature. Limitations on the amount of wood meant the few downstairs walls were mortared. Where boards were too short, steel was used. The roof was done with Onduline, which is made of strong natural fibers, quite light, and insulates with no need for a ceiling: it is closed off with OSB (oriented strandboard). The west wall gets strong sunlight, and is overlaid with white gypsum board, another insulation that reduces interior heat.

Wood House Amid the Rice FieldsPrakij Kanha from Studio Miti

There is a mix of tall windows and glass walls, and a central walkway throughout that connects every corner and provides an air circulation channel. Even the bathroom looks out on nature. The master bedroom has views of both Doi Saket and morning mists over the Ping River. On the opposite side, night after night you can watch the moon wax and wane. Interior décor is a mix of furniture and antiques almost entirely taken from the original house.

The small mezzanine, where we see a post-World War II vintage bicycle, is traversed by a steel walkway. Photos on the wall give the air of a private gallery.
The small mezzanine, where we see a post-World War II vintage bicycle, is traversed by a steel walkway. Photos on the wall give the air of a private gallery.
On one side of the hall is a staircase. Note the mix of unfinished wood, brick, cement, steel, and glass.
On one side of the hall is a staircase. Note the mix of unfinished wood, brick, cement, steel, and glass.
Wood House Amid the Rice Fields
This is a homestay for nature-lovers: the 4 guest rooms all have wooden furniture, stressing simplicity and views of nature.

Public electricity doesn’t reach out this far, so solar cells are used, and per-day energy use has to be carefully figured. There is no air conditioning, but the natural breezes here are deeply cooling. If you’d like to switch out of your digs to get the peace and quiet of a beautiful wood house set in spacious rice fields and see how totally dark and quiet it can be at night, you can reserve a room by contacting Good Old Days Chiang Mai.

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Beautiful White Box-shaped House offers the good life

Beautiful White Box-shaped House offers the good life

It’s every house owner’s dream to live in a beautiful home, but it takes a special kind of concentration for an architect to create a house that’s both beautiful and great to live in. This box-shaped white house belonging to Mo and Thinan Nakaprasit fits the bill perfectly.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham

Construction was delayed for 2 years for Assistant Professor Dr.Tonkao Panin and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita of Research Studio Panin to properly develop a plan to build the house around a tree.

White Box-shaped HouseWhite Box-shaped House

“Our old house had a high tai thun (lower open space) and a tree in the middle of the house,” explained Mo. “We loved that place, and it was something like this, but we wanted to change a few things. To have a carport in the tai thun, the house had to be raised a bit, and our first house plan had a half-courtyard, with the tree only partially surrounded.”

White Box-shaped House

Mo and Thinan had already seen results of Dr. Tonkao’s design work, which stresses using simple geometric shapes to bring out hidden character and warmth. Reading Dr. Tonkao’s work gave Mo further insights into his concept of utilizing proportions, a code to unlock the geometric secrets in his classic designs. Of course, security presented another architectural challenge.

White Box-shaped House

 

Having lived in a house with glass walls, more privacy and security were important to Mo and Thinan: they wanted more containment. Creating secure viewpoints for looking both out of and into the house posed a challenge for the architect. Solutions began with placement of a large tree as the central focus of the house. Every room looks in towards the tree and also has views monitoring entry and exit of visitors in front. People inside can hardly be seen from outside, and the addition of steel panels adds more security.

The steel security panels were originally designed to be of exmet (expanded metal), but Mo consulted with the architects and decided instead on perforated steel, adding a charming polka dot pattern to the latticework blocking off the long walkway behind the house by the canal.

White Box-shaped House

“Environmentally, this is a great location: water and mountains are behind us, so we need practically no gardening of our own,” explains Mo. Instead of being near the road, the house is set deep in the back of the .4-acre property. Besides the tree between buildings, the living room has a beautiful view of the natural forest on the other bank of the canal. For easy maintenance, he property is landscaped primarily with grass lawn or paved with stones and large rocks, which are used especially for the shady, peaceful tai thun space, which gets no sunlight.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

For movable furniture, Mo especially wanted to bring some Modernform “black Iceland” items from their old house, which required some expansion of the kitchen. Other furniture is mostly from IKEA, with light color tones and light, simple shapes.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

“The longer we’ve lived here, the more charm we’ve found in this house, its great functionality, and the open areas, the deck and the tai thun. This is a very special design. Completely separate from other benefits, just the view as we drive in lets us see past the buildings to the mountains, water, a panorama of nature. I love it.”

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Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House

Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House

The renovation of this hundred-plus year-old rowhouse in Charoen Krung Soi 44 is more than a home improvement: for Mou Lumwatananont, it’s a homecoming she’d never imagined.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Style: Jeedwonder /// Design: sea.monkey.coconut 

Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House

“My mother was born here, but we moved before I was two. After building it up from 2 storeys to 2½ storeys, my aunt continued to use it as an office. However, that business ended many years ago, and it has been only two years since we began making plans for renovation and conversion to fulfill our long-time dream of a guest house and a café.”

This area’s former prosperity is apparent in traces of European colonial-style architecture and bustling alleys that now welcome international tourists and backpackers to the charm of its storied history. Mou and architect Pok (Wachirasak Maneewatanaperk) from sea.monkey.coconut share views on the value of  preserving history through architecture.

Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House

“Renovating this great old building, I didn’t want to change a lot. But I discovered it had already changed. An upper floor had been added, and it had been expanded out back as far as it could go. The entire second-storey wooden floor had been covered with another material. In line with building preservation guidelines, Mou and I decided to make clear distinctions between old and new. We kept intact the front wall and brick walls all around, chiseling off interior mortar to show weight-bearing structures, including wood wall beams fitted into brick arches, and we kept the charming mortared patterns of the original roof.”

Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House

For warming the heart, the morning sunshine is no match for fragrant fresh-brewed coffee topped with milk foam and a gold-skinned croissant just out of chef Lolo’s oven, amid a modern-vintage atmosphere with a touch of French and British, Thai and Chinese styles integrated seamlessly into an elegant whole. The lower floor is chic travelers’ café, a wooden stairway stretching up to guest rooms above. Visitors might wonder about the functionality of the steel poles they see set at intervals throughout. AS Pok explained,

Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House

“This area is a walled-in rectangle, and without changing outer walls and structure at all we’ve created a new house within the frame of the old one, sinking micro pilings into the root foundation and installing all new support pillars. It was important to keep the new structure separate. Concrete flooring was poured on the ground level and separated by a foam at the joints where it meets the original walls. These “expansion joints” keep outer and inner structures from being attached, so if the floor subsides, it won’t pull a wall down with it. On the second level, we’d intended to keep the original wood flooring, but found irreparable termite damage, so we had to replace it. Behind the house we changed to steel and drywall construction to install walls and latticework. Building here was difficult because of the limited space. Fronting on a narrow street made delivery difficult. There was nowhere to stack & store materials, so all work had to begin inside. When the inside was done, we brought in the materials stored outside and switched to working on the front. There was a lot of planning involved to make it possible for the craftsmen to be able to work at all.”

Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House Chez Mou: A Home Hidden In the Frame of an Old House

Row houses lasting more than a hundred years naturally tell stories with marks from sun and wind, just as with marks left on our lives by travel. Leaving to study and live in England for more than twenty years Mou could never have expected the winds would slowly blow her back to her origins with a new feeling, one born of love and dreams.

The word “Chez” is French, meaning “at,” or “at the home of,” hence the name: Mou has opened her home to welcome friends at “Chez Mou,” where stories are told by marks on bricks and sweet smiles. Here is a place full of  feeling of release from travel, and full of a bittersweet, gentle fragrance.

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Power of Dharma (and Nature)

Power of Dharma (and Nature)

This beautiful house belongs to Bhalangtham Klomthongsuk, a well-known drama series organizer and television personality. The single-level home plan takes up most of the 200-square-wah land space with modern living amenities and a private retreat amidst nature. The peaceful setting fits the lifestyle needs of the homeowner whose name translates as the power of dharma.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Ajchara Jeen /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Owners : Bhalangtham Klomthongsuk  /// Interior Designer :  Suranart Lerdkunakorn  

Showing us around the property, he said:

“On first seeing, I liked the way it differed from the style typical of modern-day housing developments where everything looked very similar. Besides, I’ve always preferred a single-level floor plan. Initially, I didn’t plan on doing any remodeling for five years, kind of waiting for Arty (nickname of his son Natewut) to grow big enough to have his own room. But, I didn’t want my elderly Mom to climb up and down the stairs any more. So, here we are! This house offered many advantages. It was fully functional for an old home. There wasn’t much damage to repair to begin with, except a few updates here and there to make home life easier. That was pretty much it.”

Nature House
A couch makes for a cozy outdoor room between Bhalangtham’s bedroom and the nearby compact garden.

“The most outstanding part of the house is a small courtyard garden at the center of the floor plan.  The open space offers refreshing environment in the middle of lush foliage. There’s an outside sitting area with a private garden view.”

Nature House
The courtyard that connects the bedroom wing to the function wings is bright, airy, and suitable for multiple purposes.

From the main entrance, a hallway leads to a corridor that connects to the left and right wings of the house. The right wing contains a kitchen and dining room, while the left wing has a bedroom with private bath that has since been transformed into a multi-use space. The most outstanding part of the house is a small courtyard garden at the center of the home plan where Bhalangtham’s bedroom is located. The open space offers refreshing environment in the middle of lush foliage. There’s an outside sitting area with a private garden view.

Nature House
Lined with greenery, the house’s main entrance feels warm and inviting. Creative vertical garden ideas paired with floor-standing houseplants add a relaxing tropical feel to the entryway.
Nature House
The hallway leads to a living room lit by natural daylight that streams into it from one side of the building. Indoor plants re-humidifies the room preventing it from feeling too dry.

The furnishing and decoration is left in the good hand of interior designer and close friend Suranart Lerdkunakorn. Knowing the homeowner’s taste, Suranart creates a mix-and-match interior combining chic vintage ornamentation with newer furniture and decorations from different eras and styles. On the whole, home décor and accents give a hint of Eastern culture that makes the interior warm and welcoming. Strong, deep colors make the interior room visually interesting. Asked to elaborate on this, the designer said:

“Bhalangtham likes the metallic duck-head green and navy blue; hence much of the interior is pained dark shades of color. Together, they bring renewal and nature to the indoor living spaces. As for furniture and decorations, a chinoiserie dining table that’s a gift from the previous homeowner comes in handy to reduce the stiffness of modern home design. Elsewhere, vintage décor ideas imported from Bhalantham’s old house complement a look that’s stylish and relaxing.”

Nature House
The duck-head green of the wall and the cream and beige of living room furniture provide an agreeable contrast. Green leaves freshen the atmosphere and make the room feel warmer and more inviting. The living room is part of the function wing that’s designed to serve multiple purposes. An ethnic design carpet adds curious excitement to the room.
Nature House
A small dining area adjoining the living room is flexible and party ready, thanks to a chinorserie table that was a gift from the previous homeowner.
Nature House
The metallic duck-head green dominates a corner where young Arty practices music. Like the homeowner intended, the green room serves to connect indoor spaces with the lush courtyard outside while the sound of music rejuvenates the atmosphere.
Nature House
The dark shade of blue in Bhalangtham’s bedroom contrasts with the beige of leather upholstery on the furniture and the floor in natural wood stain. An area carpet in lighter shades brightens the room.

A perfect amalgam of chinoiserie, vintage, modern, and classic styles is a distinctive feature that gives the house meaning and character. Combine that with a courtyard filled with lush foliage of the container garden, and the benefits are amazing. Despite its small size, the patch of greenery serves as the lungs of the house, a condition that ensures everyone wakes up fresh and happy every day.

Nature House
For the homeowner, nothing compares to his favorite hangout with a private garden view.
Nature House
Besides the lone tree that’s the focal point of the yard, the outdoor room is adorned with potted houseplants, mostly tropical species. Plant containers in various shapes and sizes offer plenty of seats that make the area party ready.

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In Sync with the Rhythms of Nature

In Sync with the Rhythms of Nature

Building a sustainable home involves a great deal of knowledge of the surroundings and their relationships with nature. In the hot and humid climate of Thailand, it’s useful to have a good grasp of the sun, the wind, and seasonal thundershowers in designing a home that’s livable and aesthetically pleasing. This house is built around that concept – one that promotes well-being and the comfort of the indoor environment.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul 

The architect uses a folding process common in metalworking to translate multiple planes into three-dimensional interior living spaces. Vertical surfaces are later installed and wall openings added to enable the home to effectively connect to its natural surroundings.

That being said, architect Nantapon Junngurn took the most sensible course of action. He positioned the home plan in relation to seasonal variations. In a few words, all aspects of the sun, the wind, and weather patterns were taken into account. He then put the idea to the test to determine what architectural form and space would best fit in with the environment. In so doing, a folding  process common in metalworking was used to translate two- dimensional data into 3D modeling. The result was a comfortable home that was oriented around a central courtyard. To bring the outdoors in, large openings in the exterior walls were included in the plan in a bid to retain the connection to the home’s natural surroundings.

The architect said: “All things considered, a U-shaped home plan is preferred over other styles. The front entrance sits facing north, which is good since it is considered to be less sun-intrusive.  The rear of the house faces due south and is kept closed because it is located next to neighboring houses. The west side is reserved for service areas with a music room and kitchenette, which confirms that home cooking is not a big part of the family lifestyle. Here, double brick construction goes to work reducing thermal transmission and protecting the home’s interior from hot sun. Plus, the back area is in shade for much of the day, thanks to the canopy of a mature tree courtesy of next door neighbors.”

The further end of a sitting area is built of concrete that runs the entire length of the wall. An increase in floor space is achieved by simply doing away with support poles. Bottom line. Nothing comes between the lush garden view and the interior living spaces.

The U-shaped floor plan had a small body of low ground that transformed into an inner courtyard filled with greenery. There is an Indian oak, or freshwater mangrove tree (Barringtonia acutangula) that is now in top form providing a continuous layer of beautiful foliage. Nearby a Spanish cherry, or bullet wood tree (Mimusops elengi Linn) grows into a full crown. It came as a house-warming present from dad. At the center, a small pond adds a touch of nature to the courtyard garden. It’s the natural focal point that connects to practically every part of the house.

Sharing his little slice of paradise, homeowner Kongyot Kunjak said: “I like to spend time in the courtyard. In the morning, I would sit down for coffee at the dining table looking out the window for the view of the garden. The inner courtyard with a water pond surrounded by trees and shrubbery provides a place to rest. It’s refreshing to reconnect with nature and be able to bring the outdoors in. But in the evening, I prefer taking in a different view from inside the living room. Whether for work or for social gatherings, it’s wonderful to be there and experience nature every day, albeit from an indoor perspective.”

It seems the house plan best suited for the hot and humid climate is one that’s light and well ventilated. Thermal comfort can be achieved by shielding the area exposed to danger of too much sun. In the meantime, open up the part that connects to the natural surroundings. In essence, it’s about interacting with nature. When the home breathes easily, its occupants feel relaxed and comfortable to live in it, without a doubt.

The entrance hall contains a living room, dining room and a library on the mezzanine. It is bordered by glass walls on two fronts–one side opens to the front yard, the other connects to the inner courtyard which serves as engine that drives air circulation.
Large opening glass walls on two sides are there for a reason-bring the outdoors in. The courtyard that’s pleasing to the eye makes it feel like being surrounded by nature.
The living room and dining room appear light, bright and airy, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking the central courtyard. A lush, green garden under the open sky can be seen in full view from inside the home.
Located at the center of U-shaped design, the dining room takes in the view of the courtyard garden and a seating area in the foreground.
Full glass walls lighten up the entrance hall and promotes natural air circulation in the building. They provide visual continuity that makes the idyllic inner courtyard very much a part of the interior space.

“I like to spend time in the courtyard. In the morning, I would sit down for coffee at the dining table looking out the window for the view of the garden. The inner courtyard with a water pond surrounded by trees and shrubbery provides a place to rest. It’s refreshing to reconnect with nature and be able to bring the outdoors in.”

A run of stairs leading to the upper floor is cantilevered out from the wall. With one end anchored securely in the stone wall, the steel treads appear to hover in midair. Each plate is 20 millimeters thick. Large opening glass walls guarantee the garden view landscape is visible from here.
An Indian oak, or freshwater mangrove tree (Barringtonia acutangula) develops well to keep the inner courtyard in shade for much of the day. Its lush green crown adds rejuvenating effects to the garden landscape.
A Family Rendezvous

A Family Rendezvous

Because the house was left unoccupied for about ten years, naturally there were parts that had fallen into disrepair. Remaining intact were the ho-hum room dividers typical of housing developments that were built some time ago. The homeowners returned after a brief hiatus only to find it was conveniently located in the area of the school where they planned on sending their children. That was a big plus in terms of a good quality of life.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Owners : Vasu Thongmeepetch and Panompon Ratanaprayook  /// Architect : Praepailin Jantanachotiwong /// Interior Designer : Thaipan Nopladdarom /// Landscape : Ginggaanbai Co., Ltd. by Tawatchai Sakdikul 

To give the old house a complete makeover, the homeowners Vasu Thongmeepetch and Panompon Ratanaprayook wasted no time to consult a team of experts in architecture, interior design, and landscaping. Praepailin Jantanachotiwong, the architect, could still recall the day they met: “Besides replacing worn-out door and window casings with new ones, the highest priority was to pick a design that would best fit the homeowner lifestyle needs and be adequate for the family size. Going through the house, I was attracted to the idea of tearing down the wall separating the interior and the swimming pool outside. That would translate into enlarging the interior space big time, kind of like bringing the outdoors into the living room. It was a perfect spot for a playroom, where the children remained visible in close proximity to a parlor made for adult rest and relaxation. Eventually the whole area turned into a rendezvous point connecting people to people in a warm family atmosphere.”

 

courtyard
The courtyard consists of a garden and a swimming pool that lies at the further end to protect the privacy of the family living here. Invisible from the street, it offers a pleasant outdoor space that connects the whole house with its natural surroundings.
living room
Double-height glass walls make the playroom for kids bright and airy. It’s a TV room and toy room in one. Bean bag furniture in lively colors fits in well with the fun atmosphere of the interior room and the adjoining outdoor playground.

“The Life of Gravity concept gets its inspiration from an open space that attracts everyone in the family toward the center of the home, especially the dining area overlooking the courtyard. The room is complete with an array of folding doors that open to connect with the garden, the swimming pool, and other outdoor facilities. There’s something for everyone, and that’s what makes people gravitate to an interconnected lifestyle.”

dining room
The dining room is bordered by bi-fold glass panels that stack flush against one another as they open to connect with the garden outside. The lush courtyard can be seen in full view from inside the room, while a well-placed swimming pool provides passive cooling that reduces internal and external heat gains and brings in fresh air.
dining area
Design-savvy ideas result in thermal comfort that transforms the dining area into a family connecting room.

Thaipan Nopladdarom, the interior expert, responded with a new home plan that divided into three zones. He said: “A mix of reception room, playroom for kids and dining space set contiguously on one open floor plan. Clever screen ideas control natural light shining into the interior. Take for example lattice design on the stairway wall that brings just enough light into the home, thereby eliminating the need for electric light in the daytime. Elsewhere, open windows can benefit the indoor environment. They let fresh air in and improve the air quality in indoor spaces. As for the furnishing and decoration of the room, the emphasis is on the minimalist style. Only a few pieces of furniture are there because they are needed. Where appropriate, built-in furniture is installed as permanent part of a larger construction. Lighting setups vary according to the specific needs of each location. To avoid illumination bouncing throughout the room, accent lights are installed to create interest at night.”

The Life of Gravity concept gets its inspiration from an open space that attracts everyone in the family toward the center of the home, especially the dining area overlooking the courtyard. The room is complete with an array of folding doors that open to connect with the garden, the swimming pool, and other outdoor facilities. There’s something for everyone, and that’s what makes people gravitate to an interconnected lifestyle. For the children, it’s the playroom that has become their favorite hangout. For mom and dad, the dining area has been an oasis of relaxation. They can rest by the pool, or go for a quiet saunter around the yard. Regardless of where, the family will never be out of sight of one another.

To make the courtyard lush and functional, Tawatchai Sakdikul, the landscape architect, was instrumental in planting shade trees to avoid some of the heating effects and keep the home cool. Apart from being pleasant to look at, the yard is easy to keep clean with all features functioning as intended. As for the highlights, he said: “We put in a waterfall that became a focal point in the swimming pool area. Then a walkway was built around the yard. For the outdoor playroom, we added an oversized rabbit head sculpture to arouse exciting curiosity and a blackboard to scribble something on as they played. As for the plants, we avoided the dense thorny undergrowth that was the most common cause of injury. Rather, we focused on growing a variety of herbs that promoted learning about the natural world.”

minimalist style
Subtle, soft shades of colors that speak to the minimalist style keep the sitting parlor calm and spacious like the homeowners intended.

An open floor plan for the home offers many benefits. In this particular case, it answers the lifestyle needs of the homeowners whose business has to do with manufacturing and selling garments online. The floor plan that minimizes the use of small, enclosed rooms means they can sit and work anywhere and still be visible. Here, happiness is being home with the children and getting work done at the same time. As one of the homeowners put it: “We are thankful that the architect designs it in this way instead of separating adults and children occupants into different zones. The interconnected floor plan answers the borderless lifestyle that combines work life and family life in one. It’s designed for easy updates based on needs. That’s what makes living here fun. It’s easy to get why we love this house so much.”

“The Life of Gravity concept gets its inspiration from an open space that attracts everyone in the family toward the center of the home, especially the dining area overlooking the courtyard. The room is complete with an array of folding doors that open to connect with the garden, the swimming pool, and other outdoor facilities. There’s something for everyone, and that’s what makes people gravitate to an interconnected lifestyle.”

dining area
A level platform along the outside of the building is ready for an alfresco dinner when the weather is nice.
outdoor playroom
A rabbit head sculpture adds interest to an outdoor playroom by the pool, while a lush green lawn makes it a nice place for kids to run around.
swimming pool
Seen from across the swimming pool, the recently remodeled home is a welcome place that makes the family feel safe and warm.

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Bringing Nature into the Home

Bringing Nature into the Home

The family’s firstborn son is married and household members have increased. For the past 40 years, the old house located on a residential estate has gone through various stages of repair and expansion. The time for further improvements has come, and the Sattayavinij family thought it wise to renovate the dated, tired- looking home, turning it into one that’s warm, livable, and in sync with the present time.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham 

Woranol Sattayavinij, the firstborn, is an architect at the reputable company Architects 49 Limited. And the responsibility to remake the home rested with him. Earlier on, the family had entertained the idea of tearing down the old house to make room for a new one set on 96 square wah of land. Fully aware of the family’s lifestyle needs, the kind of place they wanted, and the limited budget they had, he had a change of mind and went for a renovation project instead.

 

Tall aluminum latticework that makes the front façade protects the west-facing home from harsh sunlight. It provides a buffer against solar heat gain building up in the interior. On the street, black iron lattice fencing promotes natural air circulation and doubles as a privacy screen.
Tall aluminum latticework that makes the front façade protects the west-facing home from harsh sunlight. It provides a buffer against solar heat gain building up in the interior. On the street, black iron lattice fencing promotes natural air circulation and doubles as a privacy screen.

“I made a walkway connecting to the courtyard that has become  our sitting room.  Using my stock of lumber and wood recycled from the old house, I mixed teak with Makha wood (Afzelia xylocarpa), and gave it a fresh layer of paint.  It was a mix-match since the boards came in different sizes, but  nothing serious.  Now mom and her sister seem really pleased  that it’s a nice spot to sit and catch the cool breezes.”

“The question is: How can I go about it in coming up with design that’s open, bright and well ventilated? First, the land itself isn’t oriented in a direction that can avoid getting direct sunlight or minimize solar heat gain. Besides, it’s a modest home. There isn’t much room for the long roof overhangs needed to protect it from the elements. So I solve the problem by putting a courtyard at the center of the home plan to make the interior light, airy and very comfortable,” said the architect.

That said, Woranol chose box-shaped design featuring twin rectangular buildings that run parallel to each other with a courtyard in between. The little oasis that’s open to the sky contains a small garden with a wood deck made for sitting and catching some fresh air. It serves as engine that drives natural air circulation all day. This creates a comfortable atmosphere in the entrance hall. As for the A/C, who needs it anyway? The forward part of the house has a carport that’s separated from the street by wrought iron fencing. The black on the fence contrasts with the silver on aluminum latticework protecting the building. From the outside looking in, it’s clear that privacy protection is high on the list of priorities. It’s achievable without sacrificing the desire to live in close touch with nature.

A flight of garden steps leading to the house interior is canopied by overhanging trees thriving along the fence line. The corridor offers enough room to stroll around in the privacy of home.
A flight of garden steps leading to the house interior is canopied by overhanging trees thriving along the fence line. The corridor offers enough room to stroll around in the privacy of home.
The unroofed area between the buildings becomes a small courtyard garden. At the further end, the architect puts in a long seat for people to relax under the shade.
The unroofed area between the buildings becomes a small courtyard garden. At the further end, the architect puts in a long seat for people to relax under the shade.

Evergreen Korean banyan trees (Ficus annulata) lining the fence and the house exterior reduce the harshness of concrete construction and make the home appear more environmentally friendly. The house with 450 square meters of usable space boasts a bright and airy interior, thanks to open floor plans that emphasize interconnectedness throughout. Modern glass room dividers promote visibility and warm social interactions within the family. Steel construction saves time and makes the interior living space appear spacious and lightweight. In the end it’s all about feeling good and living better. “I made a walkway connecting to the courtyard that has become our sitting room. Using my stock of lumber and wood recycled from the old house, I mixed teak with Makha wood (Afzelia xylocarpa), and gave it a fresh layer of paint. It was a mix- match since the boards came in different sizes, but nothing serious. Now mom and her sister seem really pleased that it’s a nice spot to sit and catch the cool breezes.

An empty space between buildings looks stunning from the architectural perspective.
An empty space between buildings looks stunning from the architectural perspective.

“For security purposes, iron latticework is preferred over solid walls. To keep the sun out, the perforate shell is lined with trees. There is an Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis) that has grown tall to shade the interior and give sweet smelling white flowers. We also put in a Common Tembusa tree (Fagraea fragrans) which grows slowly, and a Brazilian rose wood (Jacaranda obtusifolia) which is loved for its beautiful purple flowers. The courtyard floor is covered by a container garden intended to make cleaning easy after seasonal heavy rains. It’s OK to get wet sometimes, but it’s better than being enclosed by solid walls,” Woranol explained. His choice of furniture speaks to the minimalist style of interior design. The idea of less-is-more translates into an interior living space that’s open, easy on the eye, and conducive to natural ventilation. It’s easy to get why everyone likes to hang out together in the hallway downstairs that connects to the lush courtyard garden. The natural environment helps them feel relaxed all day every day.

While lattice screens go to work protecting the home from the outside world, large opening glass walls connect the interior room to a lush courtyard garden thrown in between buildings. Diffused light and winds passing through the permeable shell keep the entrance hall cool all day without the A/C. No wonder it’s the family’s favorite hangout.
While lattice screens go to work protecting the home from the outside world, large opening glass walls connect the interior room to a lush courtyard garden thrown in between buildings. Diffused light and winds passing through the permeable shell keep the entrance hall cool all day without the A/C. No wonder it’s the family’s favorite hangout.
Adjacent to the sofa set, the dining room is well lit and made comfortable by fresh air blowing in from the nearby courtyard garden.
Adjacent to the sofa set, the dining room is well lit and made comfortable by fresh air blowing in from the nearby courtyard garden.
The raised passageway around the courtyard is built of old wood worn by long exposure to the weather. Concrete steps provide easy access to the garden floor. It’s a place to sit with your legs hanging down, enjoy a patch of greenery, and shoot the breeze on a lazy afternoon.
The raised passageway around the courtyard is built of old wood worn by long exposure to the weather. Concrete steps provide easy access to the garden floor. It’s a place to sit with your legs hanging down, enjoy a patch of greenery, and shoot the breeze on a lazy afternoon.
An Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis), the courtyard’s main attraction, develops a healthy crown near the studio and the bedroom on the upper floor.
An Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis), the courtyard’s main attraction, develops a healthy crown near the studio and the bedroom on the upper floor.
While they allow natural light and fresh air to pass into the courtyard, metal lattice panels also double as privacy screens and safety precautions against intruders.
While they allow natural light and fresh air to pass into the courtyard, metal lattice panels also double as privacy screens and safety precautions against intruders.
The room upstairs can be used for work or pleasure. Open the door to see what happens below, and take in the view of the lush courtyard garden. Some fresh air really will do you good. After all, it’s about bringing nature into the home.
The room upstairs can be used for work or pleasure. Open the door to see what happens below, and take in the view of the lush courtyard garden. Some fresh air really will do you good. After all, it’s about bringing nature into the home.
Rustling leaves in the Indian cork tree make a sound that has a relaxing effect, especially for the home office and the bedroom located across the yard.
Rustling leaves in the Indian cork tree make a sound that has a relaxing effect, especially for the home office and the bedroom located across the yard.

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