Blog : HOUSES

Modern Lake Home in a Peaceful Country Setting

Modern Lake Home in a Peaceful Country Setting

Here is a cozy waterfront home set amid beautiful countryside. It takes advantage of the natural features of a tropical climate to ensure cool and comfort all year round. Built for having fun and enjoying life, the house comes complete with a slide into the living room, a cat house, courtyard waterfalls, and a much-loved Japanese style room.  

// THAILAND //
Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul / Design: Khomsaan Kamsawas and Apaporn Mitnoy / Owners: Sakdrin Sadlae and Aphaphon Midnoi of Tropical House

The U-shaped house sits above a large water body that formerly was a farm pond for water, fish and livelihoods. A beautiful center courtyard separates the two wings. Bedrooms are on the second floor of the two-story modern house plan.
Serene courtyard waterfalls can do so much to enrich life and provide a private outdoor space.

From old farm pond to beautiful lake home

This delightful waterfront home belongs to Sakdrin Sadlae, owner of a traveling Muslim prayer   webpage. It sits on land that he receives from his mother. The parcel of land formerly was a part of the family farm in Bangkok’s Pattanakarn area. Back in the day, his grandfather built ponds here for water, fish and agriculture. Sakdrin can still recall growing up in the wetlands. Free time in the past was spent playing kid games, in which he confronted a crocodile played by his father. Over the years, the wetlands ecology has given him inspiration. His dream house is one that’s surrounded by water. To do that, an area fronting on the lake was filled with layers of earth to create a strong building foundation.

To keep within budget, he invited building dismantlers and construction projects in the neighborhood to dump unwanted earth and concrete debris on his property. It was a win-win solution both for him and for construction businesses in search of dumping sites. He then sought advice from architect Khomsaan Kamsawas, while his wife Apaporn Mitnoy chipped in with many great ideas that led to the family making informed decisions. The result is a house plan that fits the bill, is suitable for a tropical climate, and comfortable to live in.

A red slide offers a fun way to enter to the living room, while the open floor plan gives the impression of more space and great reasons to float the furniture.
A red slide offers a fun way to enter to the living room, while the open floor plan gives the impression of more space and great reasons to float the furniture.
Tips: A fiberglass slide resembling the spiral of fried potato snacks is suitable for use in small space. Because the slide is dry, it’s a good idea to wash and wax the surface to minimize friction and allow smooth movement.
Tips: A fiberglass slide resembling the spiral of fried potato snacks is suitable for use in small space. Because the slide is dry, it’s a good idea to wash and wax the surface to minimize friction and allow smooth movement.
Multipurpose furniture is capable of adapting to many different functions, from dining room to sitting room with a view. The wooden panel wall to the left and hidden storage spaces are inspired by Apple store interior design.
Multipurpose furniture is capable of adapting to many different functions, from dining room to sitting room with a view. The wooden panel wall to the left and hidden storage spaces are inspired by Apple store interior design.
A bathroom is neatly concealed behind wood paneled walls in natural shades. Decorative wood paneling is inexpensive yet attractive.
A bathroom is neatly concealed behind wood paneled walls in natural shades. Decorative wood paneling is inexpensive yet attractive.

Coffee corner and color scheme inspired by Apple store design

While construction was underway, the couple went out to look at many coffeehouses in search of decorating ideas. They wanted the kind of interior that would create a conducive home office environment. Later, they visited an Apple store and came away impressed by its simple, clean design that made visual merchandising really stand out. Together, white, gray and black proved a perfect complement to wood panel walls in natural shades. The cool color scheme was adapted to give their home a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Aesthetically, a center courtyard with waterfalls makes perfect sense with the U-shaped house plan. It affords beautiful views and makes the interior living space feel more comfortable. Healthy, green spaces improve air quality and control sunlight filtering through trees. Plus, they create peaceful moods and encourage people to spend more time outdoors. Sakdrin asked for the tropical plant Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) for his garden because he liked eating rice porridge flavored with fragrant leaves. At one time he even kept giant freshwater prawn by the waterfalls for food, but later stopped eating them due to emotional attachment.

The cat house comes complete with bridges, claw sharpeners and perches in a tree.
The cat house comes complete with bridges, claw sharpeners and perches in a tree.
A flap door lets kitties come and go freely between the cat house and the litter box located in an open-air laundry area.
A flap door lets kitties come and go freely between the cat house and the litter box located in an open-air laundry area.

Water slide, cat house, and Japanese room

The furniture, fittings and other decorative accessories say a lot about this active family. Sakdrin is full of energy and enthusiasm, the likes of which are obvious in his daughter. Even at this young age, the little girl enjoys sliding down into the living room by herself, apparently happy and content. Meantime, his wife Aphaphon is equally pleased to spend time with, and take care of her cuddly feline.

Sakdrin said that when he and his wife first met, the only places they went on a date were cat cafés in the city. Now that they had a house of their own, it made perfect sense to create a room just for cats. For the love of Japanese architecture, they built a Japanese style room in the opposite wing. Inside it, the floor is covered in traditional tatami straw mats, while bamboo lines parts of the exterior. Long story short, it’s an opportunity to experience the allure of Japanese countryside. Only this time it’s tucked away in a peaceful rural setting off Pattanakarn Road in Bangkok.

The Japanese room looks out on the center courtyard and a ready-made swimming pool.
The Japanese room looks out on the center courtyard and a ready-made swimming pool.
Interior design and decorative accessories boast charming simplicity that’s unique to Japan. Nearby, bamboo lines parts of the exterior walls. The serene hangout place is sometimes used as bedroom
Interior design and decorative accessories boast charming simplicity that’s unique to Japan. Nearby, bamboo lines parts of the exterior walls. The serene hangout place is sometimes used as bedroom
The Japanese room reveals an affinity for traditional residential architecture. It’s little wonder that he often visits Japan for inspiration.
The Japanese room reveals an affinity for traditional residential architecture. It’s little wonder that he often visits Japan for inspiration.

The importance of correct building orientation

The U-shaped house plan projects into a large water body formerly used in aquaculture for fish farming. The lake that lies to the west provides a buffer against warm air currents as sunlight travels straight down to Earth. Westerly winds over the water surface produces a tremendous cooling effect, resulting in thermal comfort in the center courtyard and interior living spaces. The kitchen is separate from the living room to avoid lingering kitchen smells.

By design, the house makes a great first impression. Floor-to-ceiling windows on the front façade afford beautiful panoramic views of the lake and surrounding landscape. Meantime, the center courtyard with artificial waterfalls brings down ambient temperature and controls sunlight filtering through trees. Further away, drooping branches of Lampoo or cork trees (Sonneratia caseolaris L. Engl.) line the lakeshore. All things considered, it’s a house built for comfort, where every day is a picture-perfect summer day.

The homeowner rows his dinghy past drooping branches of a Lampoo or cork tree (Sonneratia caseolaris L. Engl.). The lake is home to many carp that he has raised since they were young. He sometimes catches snakehead fish for food.
The homeowner rows his dinghy past drooping branches of a Lampoo or cork tree (Sonneratia caseolaris L. Engl.). The lake is home to many carp that he has raised since they were young. He sometimes catches snakehead fish for food.
Nothing beats relaxing in a hammock on a carefree day at the lake. Priceless!
Nothing beats relaxing in a hammock on a carefree day at the lake. Priceless!

 

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The hybrid wood and concrete home boasts a spacious ground floor that’s fully functional and perfectly suitable for modern living.
FROM OLD HOME TO STUNNING HOUSE ON STILTS
Renovation Ideas: A Minimalist Home Oozing with Charm

Renovation Ideas: A Minimalist Home Oozing with Charm

A renovation done right turns this 40-year-old house into a white minimalist home that oozes charm and character. It’s spacious with all mod cons. The original frame of the house is retained, but important interventions are added to improve structural integrity, enhance indoor comfort and boost curb appeal. Among them, an array of vertical blades provides vital sun shading integrated in the façade.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk / Owner: Prem and Wasinee Chatmanop / Architects: Perspective by Sitthichai Chompooh

Before renovation: The old house looks a bit tired and out of date.
Before renovation: The old house looks a bit tired and out of date.
After renovation: The beautifully remodeled façade after a complete transformation. The house’s original structure is preserved while cool, clean lines give it a distinctive character.
After renovation: The beautifully remodeled façade after a complete transformation. The house’s original structure is preserved while cool, clean lines give it a distinctive character.

Condominium living is awesome for young adults and families without kids. But as their family grew, Prem and Wasinee Chatmanop soon found it unfit to answer their lifestyle needs. That was reason enough to go searching for a house to buy starting from their familiar neighborhood. Call it serendipity. It wasn’t long before the couple found a fixer-upper located on a 40-year-old housing development in Choke Chai 4 area. The house was in poor condition and had to be a completely renovated. A lot had to be demolished, from the floors to walls to ceilings that had fallen into decay. Only the beams, poles and gable roof trusses that were part of the original load bearing structure were preserved.

The open concept floor plan excludes interior walls and doors, which gives it the feeling of larger, more comfortable space. Off-white walls paired with wood accents add warmth to the living room and create dimension.
The open concept floor plan excludes interior walls and doors, which gives it the feeling of larger, more comfortable space. Off-white walls paired with wood accents add warmth to the living room and create dimension.

Out with the old, in with the new

“I went out and looked at several houses. In the end, I was really pleased that I chose this one. The old house sat on nice square shape land 100 square wah in extent that was characteristic of housing estates in the past. I had a team of building engineers do a structural integrity assessment to determine it was good to buy. The house’s interior was old and in disrepair. So we left the renovation project in the good hands of architect Sitthichai Chompooh of the Perspective design studio. We specifically chose to have him do it after having seen his work in ‘The Renovation’, a BaanLaeSuan TV program. It happened to be the style that I liked,” said Prem.

At first, the architect was a bit concerned since the old house was built on a slope below the street level. In spite of that, he was attracted by the gable roof that was the popular appeal in the old days. This made it possible to create an open concept floor plan that seamlessly merged with a lush green side garden. The result was a complete transformation that offered 287 square meters of living spaces.

Sharing his experience, Sitthichai said: “The ground floor was further elevated by 30 centimeters to prevent groundwater flooding. Then, the old false ceiling suspended from the structure above was removed to create more headroom. Next, everything that had been added to the existing construction was demolished to make room for a new open floor plan. This included taking out the old floors, walls and extensions that were damaged over a long period of time.”

The focal point of the house is the interior that interconnects with the outdoor environment. The side yard offers a relaxing space and brightens up the living room with the glow of natural light.
The focal point of the house is the interior that interconnects with the outdoor environment. The side yard offers a relaxing space and brightens up the living room with the glow of natural light.
 There are plenty of good reasons for floating a sofa in the middle of the room. It makes for a perfectly welcoming multi-use space.
There are plenty of good reasons for floating a sofa in the middle of the room. It makes for a perfectly welcoming multi-use space.
A counter for preparing food and drinks runs parallel to a pantry dedicated to storage. The open floor plan makes it easy to connect with nearby dining room and living room.
A counter for preparing food and drinks runs parallel to a pantry dedicated to storage. The open floor plan makes it easy to connect with nearby dining room and living room.
Combined bathroom and dressing room design
Combined bathroom and dressing room design
Light colored wood proves a perfect complement to white walls with a gray tinge. Wet and dry areas in the bathroom are clearly separated to make cleaning so much easier.
Light colored wood proves a perfect complement to white walls with a gray tinge. Wet and dry areas in the bathroom are clearly separated to make cleaning so much easier.
Off-white walls make the bedroom feel more spacious, while light fine wood floors are perfect for every room.
Off-white walls make the bedroom feel more spacious, while light fine wood floors are perfect for every room.

Higher floor, more windows, and continuous flow

The renovation project started with further elevating the ground floor to put it higher than street level. Then, the entire floor plan was reorganized and the exterior redesigned. This results in bigger windows that allow for natural daylighting and the interconnectedness between spaces.

The highlight of his design is a spacious interior that brings indoor and outdoor rooms together to form a larger whole. Plus, the atmosphere is relaxing, thanks to side garden ideas that bring the benefits of natural light into the interior. All of this is achieved without making changes to the original framework of the house. Where appropriate, unnecessary details are reduced and important units of construction added to enhance structural integrity. In the meantime, green spaces are integrated in the design for indoor thermal comfort, while simple clean lines create a warm and inviting place to unwind after a long day at work.

Taking everything into account, it’s an amazing house makeover, one that transforms an old-fashioned fixer-upper into a modern minimalist home that reflects the personality of the people living in it.

Properly situated, large windows provide adequate natural illumination while connecting indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Properly situated, large windows provide adequate natural illumination while connecting indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Positioned to catch the sun, a projecting platform creates a canopy for the ground floor and a balcony for the second. It also provides privacy and physical protection.
Vertical solar shading integrated in the façade protects the bedroom from harmful UV rays. The blades are made of lightweight materials, covered with plaster, and painted off-white to enhance the house’s distinctive character.
A vertical wooden fin façade gives the wall a clean and modern look while providing a layer of heat insulation. It’s painted off-white to create color harmony with the solid load bearing wall behind it.
A vertical wooden fin façade gives the wall a clean and modern look while providing a layer of heat insulation. It’s painted off-white to create color harmony with the solid load bearing wall behind it.
Vertical solar shading integrated in the façade protects the bedroom from harmful UV rays. The blades are made of lightweight materials, covered with plaster, and painted off-white to enhance the house’s distinctive character.

A cool and restful home close to nature

Slightly off-white walls go best with wood accents. The gray tinge is a winner with soft, weathered wood trim. It’s a contemporary calming color scheme just right for an open floor plan that extends from the living room to dining room to pantry. That way a feeling of continuous flow is created, and it makes perfect sense to float a sofa in the middle of a large room. From the inside, the living room is enclosed by glass window walls that look out over a lush green side garden, a visual of the design that makes the homeowner couple very happy.

Sharing her experience, Wasinee said: “We spend the most time here in this area, unlike at the condo where the kitchen was isolated from the rest of the interior. The floor plan layout contains a variety of functions separated from one another by furniture rather than being enclosed by walls. It’s an open concept design that promotes social interactions. Prem sits here at his desk. I can see the kid playing at the sofa while preparing a meal in the kitchen nearby. It’s a flexible layout that’s easy to update. For the time being, the more space, the better. The child is growing up fast, and more furniture will be added in future.”

A concrete beam spanning an opening part of the house finds a new purpose as outdoor bench encouraging social interactions.
A concrete beam spanning an opening part of the house finds a new purpose as outdoor bench encouraging social interactions.
A sundeck patio adjoining the dining room affords a private and protected outdoor living area in the garden.
A sundeck patio adjoining the dining room affords a private and protected outdoor living area in the garden. 

The renovation project benefits from large openings in the wall that let natural light stream into the interior living spaces. In the meantime, privacy is very important and needs to be protected. This explains why only the side of the house facing the solid wall of an adjacent townhouse is open for daylighting and connecting seamlessly with a side garden. Commenting on the renovation plan, the architect said:

“We put in a sundeck patio that’s easily accessible from the dining room. It serves multiple purposes. Where appropriate, vertical fin facades are erected to shield the house from the sun while allowing natural ventilation and daylighting. The upright structure also doubles as outdoor privacy wall.”

Family time creates happy memories that will last a lifetime.
Family time creates happy memories that will last a lifetime.

Taken as a whole, the ground floor is very well thought out. To prevent the living room from smelling like food, an enclosed kitchen is built at the rear of the house that’s devoted to Thai cooking. The back of the house also has a bedroom kept out of sight in one of the quietest locations. The second floor has three bedrooms, the largest of which affords a garden view from above.

In a few words, the renovation project brings new ideas and energy to an old house after it was vacant for many years. Done right, the old-fashioned gable roof house completely transforms into an awesome minimalist home oozing with charm. Simple, clean lines give the house its character as well as beauty. Above all, it’s a piece of architecture that connects past, present, and future.

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A Naturally Peaceful Single Story Home

Home Where Every Day is a Holiday

Home Where Every Day is a Holiday

Here is a modern one-story house with a charming interior courtyard, plus ample and airy multipurpose spaces. The gentle slope of hip roof design shields it from too much sun and rain, the prevailing climate in Thailand.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk / Designer: Looklen Architects Co.,Ltd. by Nuttapol Techopitch / Owner: Pacharanan Marittida

modern one-story house
Beyond the rolling gate stands a modern single-level home with a lush center courtyard. Hip roof design with long overhangs protects it from the elements.
15 modern one-story house
A sectional L-shaped sofa dominates the living room filled with natural light streaming through front and back glass-window walls. Slanted ceilings prove a perfect complement to the gentle slope of hip roof design.
The well-lit living rooms are easy on the eyes, thanks to front and back glass-window walls that give the impression of more space.
The well-lit living rooms are easy on the eyes, thanks to front and back glass-window walls that give the impression of more space.

Small house surprisingly spacious

The old house that had stood on this plot of land for 40 years was pulled down to make room for a new home. The new floor plan takes up almost the entire 64 square wah in extent. Albeit small, it’s fully equipped to suit the lifestyle needs of Pacharanan Marittida and her lovely canine companion..

Sharing his design inspiration, architect Nuttapol Techopitch said: “In the beginning, the old wooden house belonged to Grandma and Grandpa. The time has come for a decision to be made, so we thought it wise to go for a bright and airy home plan. The owner had many relatives living nearby and needed extra room to get together with family. Plus, she wanted a studio to give piano lessons. As music teacher, she played the piano at home a lot.” After site inspections, Nuttapol proposed an interesting alternative – build a new home. It would save her money.

The reason was obvious. The old two-story house sat on low land that was prone to groundwater flooding. There were no easy solutions. If the ground floor was raised even slightly to protect against water damage, there wouldn’t be enough headroom. The architect responded with light and airy designs for single-level, two-level, and split-level homes to choose from. The homeowner picked the one-story design raised above the flood level that measured 190 square meters.

The owner’s love of woodworking is evident in décor materials made mostly of wood. Among them, a custom-made dining table set proves a perfect complement to the modern style home.

The new house feels surprisingly spacious, bright and well-ventilated, while indoor and outdoor rooms are well-connected. There’s an open-roofed area at the center that’s used for planting trees. It’s a layout that places great emphasis on having ample space. High ceilings that are consistent with hip roof design make it suitable for hot and humid weather. The central courtyard that lies in the open air complements a look that’s stylish and very relaxed. Plus, it provides good air circulation.

On the north side, the open-roofed area is bordered by a wooden lattice that enables interior spaces to benefit from natural light, fresh air and sunshine. The interlaced structure also keeps the floor devoted for service spaces concealed from the view.

Beyond the carport, a courtyard lies mostly enclosed by glass walls that let natural light stream into the house’s interior. At the center, a thriving lettuce tree (Pisonia grandis R. Br.) adds a decorative touch to the home.
Beyond the carport, a courtyard lies mostly enclosed by glass walls that let natural light stream into the house’s interior. At the center, a thriving lettuce tree (Pisonia grandis R. Br.) adds a decorative touch to the home.
The owner’s love of woodworking is evident in décor materials made mostly of wood. Among them, a custom-made dining table set proves a perfect complement to the modern style home.
The owner’s love of woodworking is evident in décor materials made mostly of wood. Among them, a custom-made dining table set proves a perfect complement to the modern style home.
The owner’s love of woodworking is evident in décor materials made mostly of wood. Among them, a custom-made dining table set proves a perfect complement to the modern style home.
The open concept floor plan connects a sitting room to the piano room and dining area. Gorgeous L-shaped design allows the interior courtyard to be seen in full view from every direction.

The heart of a happy home

Roof overhangs offer many benefits. For this modern one-story home, they give protection against too much sun and prying eyes. A living room that’s the heart of a happy home lies hidden from view and can only be seen upon entering the carport. The interior is decorated with an L-shaped, charcoal gray sectional sofa. The slanted ceilings are made of wood for its adaptability to a variety of designs while the rooms are surrounded by glass walls, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting. The open concept floor plan, also in the shape of the letter L, provides a way to move through space unhindered from the sitting room to the dining area. Looking out the window, the center courtyard dominated by a lettuce tree (Pisonia grandis R. Br.) can be seen from every direction. The tree that has been in the family for a long time was dug up and replanted here to keep the yard lush green.

With plenty of room to run and play, the new home is a paradise for “Khamin”, the resident golden retriever.
With plenty of room to run and play, the new home is a paradise for “Khamin”, the resident golden retriever.

As the architect put it, “To make the atmosphere relaxed and airy, we avoid putting in too much furniture. Where appropriate, wood accents add warmth to the interior space and create dimension. Wood is also great for the piano room. At first the homeowner intended to put a grand piano there, but later changed her mind and went for a digital piano to optimize small room acoustics. To give it a natural look, a mix of artificial and real Tabaek wood (Lagerstroemia floribunda) is used on parts of the exterior and wood lattice that borders the courtyard. Plus, color harmony between indoor and outdoor spaces makes the house even more appealing. Meanwhile, floor tiles in marble design give the impression of ample space.”

Built-in storage shelves provide a creative solution to dress up a blank wall. Each flat length of wood has enough room for a musical instrument and every conceivable gadget.
Built-in storage shelves provide a creative solution to dress up a blank wall. Each flat length of wood has enough room for a musical instrument and every conceivable gadget.
A solid wooden door separates the kitchen from family room. It’s one clever hack to banish the smoke and cooking orders, plus it’s easy to keep clean.
A solid wooden door separates the kitchen from family room. It’s one clever hack to banish the smoke and cooking orders, plus it’s easy to keep clean.

Warm, ingenious design for pure enjoyment every day

The interior is quite impressive. It even has a space devoted to “Khamin”, the beautiful golden retriever who comes and goes freely between this and the other house on the property. There’s also a special doggie nook in the carport with a sloped floor. It’s pet friendly and ideal for hyper dogs, thanks to seamless wash pebble finishes.

 

 

 

Pacharanan said, “The dog runs and plays everywhere inside and outside. We have to towel dry the hair and vacuum the floor often. Hence, non-carpeted floors make perfect sense, while special leather upholstery on the sofa is scratch resistant. This has made it possible for humans and dogs to share living spaces. Plus, there is plenty of room to lounge about when relatives visit. On the whole, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, which makes every day feel like a vacation. The only thing missing is the seaside view. By night, it feels more like Khao Yai (national park) to sit in the living room and peer into the courtyard aglow under twinkle electric lights. The scenery is inspiring for song writing.”

Taking everything into account, it’s well worth it. The house with an inner courtyard is small, yet beautifully organized and made for pure enjoyment every day.

12 15 modern one-story house

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A Stunning Breeze Block House for Avid Dog Lovers
A Stunning Breeze Block House for Avid Dog Lovers

A Stunning Breeze Block House for Avid Dog Lovers

A Stunning Breeze Block House for Avid Dog Lovers

This impressive small contemporary house is the place where a married couple live with their seven dogs. House on stilt design paired with a breeze block wall allows plenty of air and natural light into the room. Pleasant and healthy, it’s a paradise for avid dog lovers and their fluffy companions.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / Photography: Sitthisak Namkham / Architects: REUN Home Design / Owners: Roung Jobby Wuttinawin and Whan Paktranon

The side facing west gets double layer protection. While a rose apple tree keeps the house in shade during the day, a continuous vertical breeze block structure allows fresh air into the interior.
The side facing west gets double layer protection. While a rose apple tree keeps the house in shade during the day, a continuous vertical breeze block structure allows fresh air into the interior.

The sheer loveliness of man’s best friends was reason enough for a married couple, Roung Jobby Wuttinawin and Whan Paktranon, to build a home ideally suited for their needs. The problem was Whan had allergies. To avoid going about it in the wrong way, they left the planning in the good hands of architect Unnop Wongwaipananij of REUN Home Design.

The result is a modern, geometric-shaped stilt house with a shed roof that’s well ventilated, easy to keep clean and easy to update. The side of the house facing west is protected by a continuous vertical breeze block structure, plus a full-grown tree to keep the home in shade for much of the day. The under-floor space has a carport and laundry area with plenty of room for doggie nooks. In essence, it’s a small place with all the comforts of a full-functioning home where humans and dogs live in harmony.

Jobby’s favorite spot in the house has a big table that changes function from work to recreation to dining in a flash. Here, time well spent is time spent with best friends. In a quiet and calm environment, who needs a coffee shop?
Jobby’s favorite spot in the house has a big table that changes function from work to recreation to dining in a flash. Here, time well spent is time spent with best friends. In a quiet and calm environment, who needs a coffee shop?
By floating a couch in the middle of the sitting room, the designer creates the illusion of having more space. It’s a great way to optimize the room to cultivate a bond between man’s best friends and their owners, plus it’s easy to update and keep clean.
By floating a couch in the middle of the sitting room, the designer creates the illusion of having more space. It’s a great way to optimize the room to cultivate a bond between man’s best friends and their owners, plus it’s easy to update and keep clean.
The modern shed roof dwelling is raised high above the ground on piles reminiscent of traditional Thai houses. The under-floor space has a carport, laundry area, and room for dogs to lounge about, play and get some exercise.
The modern shed roof dwelling is raised high above the ground on piles reminiscent of traditional Thai houses. The under-floor space has a carport, laundry area, and room for dogs to lounge about, play and get some exercise.

A dog’s dream house

“This house is built for the dogs. We just share a living space like a big family,” said Jobby with a laugh.

Sharing his story with us, Jobby said: “Originally I lived with Mom to the rear of the property. Other siblings also resided in the neighborhood. After I got married, I received this plot of land, about one rai, from Mom. We wanted a home that could accommodate all seven dogs we had at the time. Later, when three of them died, we adopted three new dogs after they had been injured. Who knows, we may have more in future.”.

The couple sought advice from Unnop, their architect friend who also took an avid interest in dogs. And the rest was history. Their new house is a salubrious place, one that’s bright, happy and easy to keep clean.

A section of the laundry room is cordoned off to make room for a dog yard with temporary individual crates for some that don’t get along.
A section of the laundry room is cordoned off to make room for a dog yard with temporary individual crates for some that don’t get along.
A lightweight sofa can move easily to make the small living room feel bigger.
A lightweight sofa can move easily to make the small living room feel bigger.
The bedroom is furnished with just the bare necessities consisting of a bed, sideboard, and desk. Open plan design makes perfect sense in a situation where dogs are allowed to sleep in the bedroom.
The bedroom is furnished with just the bare necessities consisting of a bed, sideboard, and desk. Open plan design makes perfect sense in a situation where dogs are allowed to sleep in the bedroom.

A happy state of mind in geometric design

The geometric house design that the couple requests is simple yet attractively modern thanks to its shed roof style. Stilt house design offers ample under-floor spaces for a carport, laundry area and plenty of room just for dogs. The floor is a flat slap that’s formed of concrete making it easy for future updates. It lies surrounded by lush green lawns and stable pea gravel paths that are ideal for dog runs.

Whan said that she discovered the benefits of breeze block construction while reading BaanLaeSuan magazines. Square concrete blocks with air vents are a perfect match for geometric house design. “In fact, I want to do more home decorating, but ‘Photo’ (her golden retriever) is only 9 months old and very active. So the open floor plan is the best solution at least for the time being. Living room furniture understandably comes down to the bare essentials. There’s a couch that floats in the middle of the room surrounded by dogs, while a computer desk for Jobby is placed against a wall. The dogs sleep in the same room at night.”

A design based on human needs and dog behavior

The blueprint is not only about humans sharing a living space with their canine companions. It’s also about creating functions suitable for their physical and mental health. Every little thing counts. The top half of the main gate is made of perforated metal sheets that allow dogs to see outside. The deck bench seat and stairs have steel railing that protects against slip and fall accidents. The floors are non-carpeted to reduce dust and allergens in the home. As a precaution, rough floor tiles are used instead. Curtains are made of washable material that’s easy to keep clean. Meantime, window sills are set lower with safety grazing to allow dogs to look outside.

In developing his design concept, the architect said: “Because the house faces due south, the front façade sees the most hours of sunlight during the day. So we put the building in the east side of the land with the bedroom at the rear to avoid heat buildup inside and for better privacy..

“To cool down the interior living spaces, the bathroom is placed along the side to provide a buffer against the harsh afternoon sun. This in turn keeps the bathroom dry and protects against humidity damage. For practical reasons, an air brick wall is chosen to allow southwesterly winds to enter and circulate inside. Nearby, an additional layer of protection is provided by a full-grown rose apple tree.”

There are many health benefits of owning dogs. They are reason enough to wake up feeling fresh, get out of bed, and step outside.
There are many health benefits of owning dogs. They are reason enough to wake up feeling fresh, get out of bed, and step outside.
Even dogs need a vacation. Jobby, Whan and their four-legged friends are on a bird watching trip to Bang Pu, Samut Prakarn, which is only a short drive from where they live.
Even dogs need a vacation. Jobby, Whan and their four-legged friends are on a bird watching trip to Bang Pu, Samut Prakarn, which is only a short drive from where they live.

Asked what it’s like to live here, the couple said: “Overjoyed! We’ve made the most effective use of indoor and outdoor spaces, especially the main living room. The late afternoon is usually spent with the dogs in the under-floor room where fresh air is plentiful. Sometimes we take them out for a walk, go swimming or make a bird watching trip to Bang Pu, which is only 10 kilometers away. The seven dogs make living here a pleasure. Each one of them has its special doggie nook. We know they are happy to be here, too.”

A Bright, Seemingly Hovering House

A Bright, Seemingly Hovering House

This light and airy house with lots of white looks like an optical illusion. Nestled in the heart of Vientiane, it appears to be floating above a lush green oasis with crystal clear pool water. The beautiful dwelling called “White House” is the work of Saola Architects, a homegrown design studio in Laos.

/// LAOS ///
Design: Saola Architects /// Furniture and Décor: Birds Follow Spring /// Photographs: Akira Sato

The pastel white house with 160 sq. m. usable internal space sits encompassed by its natural surroundings. As the architects intended, it has the general shape of the letter V. The ground floor is mostly enclosed by glass walls that afford the seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living spaces.

The architects said they got the design inspiration from a vernacular architectural style in Laos. The house plan, which reflects local traditions, has been adapted to make it suitable for modern living. This includes making the interior living rooms bright and airy, and connect to outdoor spaces with no apparent gaps or spaces in between.

The swimming pool is placed in a straight line along one side of the V-shaped design that in a way is dictated by the appearance of the land. As time passes, sunlight reflected from the pool puts on a spectacular shadow and light show on nearby walls. Because the ground floor enclosure is made mostly out of glass, only the upper part of the house is visible from afar and seemingly hovering above the landscape.

The inground pool provides passive cooling that drives natural air circulation, thereby improving the indoor thermal comfort. As pool water evaporates, air currents carry moisture or water vapor into and out of the room. As a result of that, the interior is kept cool without the need for air conditioning. The heat gain control makes the house comfortable to live despite a hot and humid climate.

Aesthetically, the house is a mix of bare concrete on the inside and lots of white paint on the outside. For an improvement of the indoor climate, wood is the main décor material for its ability to provide a soothing ambience especially in private areas on the second floor. By and large, the seemingly floating house is poetry in motion when kissed by the sun. It’s spacious, airy and bright thanks to open floor design, plus windows that allow plenty of natural light and good ventilation all year round.

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Good Sunshine, Fresh Air, and Plenty of Room to Breathe
Good Sunshine, Fresh Air, and Plenty of Room to Breathe

A Naturally Peaceful Single Story Home

A Naturally Peaceful Single Story Home

Here’s a single story house built on a naturally peaceful plot of land. Blending in with the lovely surroundings, it makes simple living easy. The simplicity of design affords plenty of room to take a walk around or sit on the porch and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Inspired by the restful view of a Buddhist temple in Tokyo, it’s a perfect example of happiness at the deepest level.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Anupong Chaisukkasem /// House Design: Anonym, /// Landscape Design: P do Landscape Studio

Architects Phongphat Ueasagkhomset and Parnduangjai Roojnawate of the Anonym design studio said the house plan was based on the experience of the homeowner who recently visited Tokyo and came away impressed by the pleasant, soothing ambience of Japanese traditional architecture. A detailed investigation of the work gave them the design inspiration that culminated in this house’s uncomplicated atmosphere.

Although the homeowner had a relatively large piece of land — roughly half an acre, he didn’t want a big house. What he has wanted all along was a single level home without an ostentatious display but had all the necessary conveniences for simple living. His dream home was an intimate hideaway that merged into a lush green oasis – a salubrious place to heal and recharge reminiscent of the Tokyo temple he visited.

 

The house sits on the transverse plane that runs parallel to the front yard. Floor-to-ceiling window design lets natural daylight and fresh air into the central living room and a courtyard that lies furthest in. The garden path that gets the most traffic is covered in artificial grass that doesn’t become soggy after it rains.
A few steps separate the natural level of the site from the house floor set at plinth height. The finished floor is the same level all the way through, which affords layout flexibility and the impression of a bigger space.
A driveway runs past the front yard and ends at the carport beside the house.
A wood table and chairs from the old house perfectly complement dining room interior design. The open floor plan connects indoor and outdoor spaces in the central courtyard.
Household furniture consists of what is necessary to create a comfortable home – a large sofa set and a pair of low wood chairs from the old house. The mantra of interior décor is simplicity in every aspect.
Running parallel to the central courtyard, the lovely enclosed corridor with glass walls creates visual continuity from the interior to the outdoor living spaces.
A gorgeous open floor plan promotes connectedness from the living room to dining room and kitchen. Different house functions are identified by furniture, while steel beams incorporated in the ceiling are reminiscent of the simplicity of a Japanese home.

From the outside looking in, the house sits hidden from view until the main gate swings open. On entering the compound, we come before a sloped garden that dominates the landscape. The peaceful abode is built parallel to the spacious front yard. The architect said that much of it was made from reclaimed lumber from the old house. This way, old wood is beautiful again after it’s polished and covered with a new coat of paint.

Sharing his story, the homeowner said: “This was our family home where Mom and Dad had lived for 40 years previously. The old house later turned out to be bigger than necessary after Mom and Dad had moved into a nearby home that the family purchased not long ago. After the ground floor was damaged during a recent flood, we thought it was time to tear it down to make room for a new one. The new single level house was made for living until retirement age, so design should be light and airy, clean and simple with no steps, plus all the rooms have access to garden views.”

Creative design makes the built-in bookshelf and office desk beautifully blend in like they are a part of the house. Louver glass windows allow in natural light and fresh air from the tree-shaded garden.
Minimalist simplicity has pride of place in the master bedroom belonging to Mom and Dad. An old bed and a few important things dominate the room with a beautiful courtyard view.
A well-ventilated bedroom viewed from the central courtyard.

Putting pen to paper, the architect soon came up with a U-shaped house plan with a courtyard at the center. “By design, it’s positioned to reap the benefits of seasonal variations and prevailing wind patterns. This makes it comfortable to live, plus it’s cheaper to run without relying on air conditioning all the time. Like so, thermal comfort is achieved by raising the ceiling 4 meters high with insulation to keep the interior cool. Steel roof frames give it a lightweight feel and reduces the fear of confined spaces. Overall, it’s the Japanese-style roof frames that make the house look simple yet very attractive both inside and outside.”

There is uniform connectedness in design from the sitting parlor to dining room to kitchen, plus the Buddha room, bedrooms and home office. Every room boasts floor-to-ceiling glass doors that connect with the courtyard garden. Both the front porch and the veranda that connects to the courtyard garden are made especially large for increased relaxing spaces. All things considered, it’s design that lets nature spread throughout the entire property.

Clearly visible from every direction, the courtyard garden serves as lungs for the house. Shade trees are trimmed down to an ideal height so that they don’t block the view, while the understory is filled with ferns and mosses that thrive on large sponge rocks.
The service area wall has windows that blend in with other parts of the house.
A well-kept garden and courtyard space is designed to be seen from different angles.

The courtyard garden serves the purpose for which it’s intended. As heart and lungs of the house, it drives natural ventilation that keeps the air fresh and healthy indoors. The garden of luxuriant foliage can be seen in full view from inside every room. On the whole ,it’s a place to live in close touch in nature. Or just sit back, relax on the spacious front porch, and watch the garden grow. For the homeowner, his idea of paradise is to enjoy simple living and indulge in peaceful recollection of his visit to that temple in Tokyo.

From Old Home to Stunning House on Stilts

From Old Home to Stunning House on Stilts

This lovingly restored home on the canal is a hybrid of wood and concrete. Made of recycled materials from an old building on the property, it evokes memories of the house on stilts symbolic of the Thai way of life. Reclaimed timber paired with concrete framework and smart design elements creates a harmonious blend of traditional and modern. 

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn // Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul

 

The old house before a complete teardown to make room for a new home.
The old house before a complete teardown to make room for a new home.

A New House with Old World Charm

Suthep Iam-on is the owner of an old house on the canal in Bang Pakong area. It has fallen into disrepair. At first, he had planned to just leave it at that and move on to build a new house closer to the road instead. He sought advice from architect Kasin Sornsri of Volume Metrix Studio about building a naked concrete home. But after inspecting the proposed site, Kasin thought it wise to do a complete teardown of the old home to make room for a new one using materials recycled from the old house.

The interior makes use of large, open spaces. Food is prepared in the farthest area enclosed by brick walls. The door to the master bedroom is opposite a dining table set that the homeowner bought from BaanLaeSuan Fair. In the foreground, a sitting room with sofa and coffee counter affords beautiful views.
The interior makes use of large, open spaces. Food is prepared in the farthest area enclosed by brick walls. The door to the master bedroom is opposite a dining table set that the homeowner bought from BaanLaeSuan Fair. In the foreground, a sitting room with sofa and coffee counter affords beautiful views.
The coffee counter with a view. The stairs leading to the second floor is to the right side of the room protected from sunlight by a solid wall.
Polished concrete surfaces adorn the front entrance. The doorway casing is made of reclaimed timber, while brickwork stands out as the main feature of the hybrid wood and concrete home.
Homeowner Suthep Iam-on walks toward the rear of the house. The corridor looks spacious as it is in the interior living space.
Homeowner Suthep Iam-on walks toward the rear of the house. The corridor looks spacious as it is in the interior living space.

Explaining his concept, Kasin said: “Essentially it’s about building a new home that’s very much part of the spirit of the times. It’s a design that connects with the way of life of the ordinary people. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be the kind of Thai style house that we have grown accustomed to for years. Not many people appreciate that. Nor is it anything like a group of buildings of the Ayutthaya Period.”

Built by locals over 40 years ago, the old stilt house was in poor condition. Many home features did not meet living standards now, plus a few add-ons were put in place including concrete walls that enclosed the ground floor, which affected structural integrity. Nonetheless, the way of life here has remained unchanged and carefully integrated into the new design. In the process, every little detail was decoded into intelligent language. The result was an entirely new home built on a concrete structure. It has all the key attributes of the traditional Thai home, such as an open space on the ground floor, a platform along the outside for fresh air, and corridor connecting the rooms. They are wrapped in old timber recycled from the old house.

 

The sitting parlor showcases numerous trophies won as prizes for victory in bird contests. Not far away, a full grown tamarind tree keeps the living room in shade.
The sitting parlor showcases numerous trophies won as prizes for victory in bird contests. Not far away, a full grown tamarind tree keeps the living room in shade.
On the southwest side, the hallway that contains a staircase receives a fair amount of sunlight. It’s protected from too much sun by a tamarind tree and wood pillars recycled from the old house. Shadows thrown on the wall are on show again naturally.
On the southwest side, the hallway that contains a staircase receives a fair amount of sunlight. It’s protected from too much sun by a tamarind tree and wood pillars recycled from the old house. Shadows thrown on the wall are on show again naturally.
The wing that contains a bedroom is covered in reclaimed timber. It’s raised on piles to protect from humidity and doubles as engine that drives natural air circulation. Variegated colors of old wood bespeak the vernacular choice of material.
The wing that contains a bedroom is covered in reclaimed timber. It’s raised on piles to protect from humidity and doubles as engine that drives natural air circulation. Variegated colors of old wood bespeak the vernacular choice of material.

Ground Floor Living Room, Simple Materials, and Lighting Ideas

The first eye-catching feature is concrete framework with polished surfaces paired with stunning wood accents. Reclaimed timber from the old house finds new purposes as flooring materials, interlaced structures resembling lattices, and pillars supporting lightweight parts of the building. Walk into the interior, and you come before an open floor plan that’s the hallmark of modern home design. Further back lies a courtyard with corridor connecting the rooms. There are bedrooms on one side and an open space on the other, which looks out over a garden and nearby Bang Samak Canal. As the homeowner puts it, the area arouses a sentimental longing for the past, especially memories of his father’s time.

One thing the architect is able to do is concentrate on significant features of the Thai house and incorporate them in the language of new house design. They include the use of transom windows, skylights, pillars, and lattices, which he carefully places at intervals. In so doing, large pillars recycled from the old house are erected along the western front to help protect the area exposed to the sun. By late afternoon, the soft glowing light from the sky alternating with dark areas creates a relaxing atmosphere like the Thai house in olden days. By nightfall, lanterns light up at intervals as a means of visual expression and make the home cozy and welcoming. The house built on stilts offers plenty of headroom on the ground floor to let fresh air enter and circulate from the southwest. Not far away, a full grown tamarind tree keeps the area in shade for much of the day.

 

From the canal looking in, the courtyard floor is covered in pebble stone pavers amid the vernacular garden that’s easy on the eyes. The homeowner’s son lives in the two-level wing on the right.
From the canal looking in, the courtyard floor is covered in pebble stone pavers amid the vernacular garden that’s easy on the eyes. The homeowner’s son lives in the two-level wing on the right.
The ground floor with plenty of headroom is characteristic of the Thai style house on stilts. The area under the canopy of trees is kept cool by gentle breezes.
The ground floor with plenty of headroom is characteristic of the Thai style house on stilts. The area under the canopy of trees is kept cool by gentle breezes.
Old wood piles not fitting for building purpose find new life as garden sculpture ideas by the waterfront.
Old wood piles not fitting for building purpose find new life as garden sculpture ideas by the waterfront.
A garden path connects the house to a landing stage on the canal.
A garden path connects the house to a landing stage on the canal.
Under the canopy of tall trees, the ground floor is open to receive cool breezes blowing in from the southwest.
Under the canopy of tall trees, the ground floor is open to receive cool breezes blowing in from the southwest.
A warm and welcoming atmosphere embraced by nature.
A warm and welcoming atmosphere embraced by nature.
The character and atmosphere of the place viewed from the waterfront garden.
The character and atmosphere of the place viewed from the waterfront garden.

The Allure of a Handcrafted Home

The house has many aviaries for keeping birds in. They are there by design. At different places, new decor items stand embraced by old artifacts as a means of visual expression that merges countryside vernacular with modern living. Together, they represent a source of pride and pleasure within the local community. More than anything else, it’s a handmade home in its own right. The architect’s message is evident. That is to say, a home doesn’t have to be of impeccable character. Bricks don’t have to be identical to make beautiful walls. “Likewise, if we look at life carefully, we’ll find that everyone is interesting in his own special way. All ways of life are just as beautiful,” said the architect.

The cube-shaped wing houses a sitting parlor that showcases trophies from victory in bird contests.
The cube-shaped wing houses a sitting parlor that showcases trophies from victory in bird contests.
Despite its contemporary cube design, the house is built of simple materials with features that are the hallmark of the traditional house on stilts.
Despite its contemporary cube design, the house is built of simple materials with features that are the hallmark of the traditional house on stilts.
The hybrid wood and concrete home boasts a spacious ground floor that’s fully functional and perfectly suitable for modern living.
The hybrid wood and concrete home boasts a spacious ground floor that’s fully functional and perfectly suitable for modern living.
An archway forms a passage from the landing stage on the canal. This picture was taken during a dry season.
An archway forms a passage from the landing stage on the canal. This picture was taken during a dry season.
Seen from a distance, the house stands surrounded by mature trees that provide shade and make it comfortable to live.
Seen from a distance, the house stands surrounded by mature trees that provide shade and make it comfortable to live.
The power of storytelling. A veranda in front of the house showcases a collection of tools ad utesils used by the people of Bang Pakong area.
The power of storytelling. A veranda in front of the house showcases a collection of tools ad utesils used by the people of Bang Pakong area.

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Baan Lek Villa: A House-Cum-Homestay in Chanthaburi
Baan Lek Villa: A House-Cum-Homestay in Chanthaburi

Baan Lek Villa: A House-Cum-Homestay in Chanthaburi

Baan Lek Villa: A House-Cum-Homestay in Chanthaburi

This is a stilt house design where the contemporary style merges with rural vernacular in Chanthaburi. It’s built on the concept of home with a dual nature – a villa-cum-homestay. The design pays particular attention to the simple life and harmony with the surroundings, plus good positioning in relation to light and wind patterns makes it more comfortable to live.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Wuthikorn Sut // Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul

Baan Lek Villa is the work of “Kaew” Rinrada Nirote, homeowner and architect at GLA DESIGN STUDIO, in collaboration with designer Pitch Nimchinda. It’s intended to accommodate her family, house guests and friends of her mother (“Lek” Kuna Nirote).

Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO

Rinrada came to Bangkok to further her studies and has worked there since graduation. Little by little it dawned on her that building a new house in her native Chanthaburi would be a good idea. It would give her a place to stay and a small office away from the city. She wanted a design that looked simple yet attractive, kept within the budget, and blended into the community.

Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO

The result is a home that merges with the surrounding countryside. Simple house design offers two distinctly different zones – private and public areas. The living space is raised up on piles, while the ample multi-use area underneath it is meant for dining and receiving guests.

Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO

Sharing her slice of paradise, Rinrada says that nowadays more people are yearning for a simple way of living. Advances in technology have made it possible for us live anywhere and still be able to work. What we need is a case for carrying clothes and a few personal belongings, plus a portable computer. Even better if you have a place of your choice that helps you relax in nature. Intended to make our breaks truly refreshing in the countryside, this house was complete only recently. So far it has received many guests and friends of her mother and brother.

“We didn’t intend to make it a family business. I was into hotel designing to begin with. Now that I have a house of my own, Mom has invited her friends over. They loved it and spread the good word. So we thought the time was ripe to provide the accommodation of guests. It’s important that they get to experience the relaxing side of Chantaburi town,” she said.

Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIOBaan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO

What makes this house unique is the architectural detail that’s right for the climate of Thailand. The design takes into account seasonal variations, such as sunlight and wind patterns, to create a comfortable environment. Rinrada got the inspiration for the multi-use ground floor from “Have you eaten yet?” a traditional expression of goodwill that Thais say as a sign of welcome. This explains why a dining table set and kitchen counter are there. The area doubles as waiting room for people who drop by for a visit just like old times.

Walk up the stairs and you come to a more private area of the house, which consists of a large balcony and main living quarters. Overall, the building is made of concrete that works well with beautiful wood accents. To make the building appear lightweight, the entire floor of the overhanging balcony is made of steel framework. Taken as a whole, it’s a perfect mix of concrete, steel and clever design that lets the beauty of natural wood stand out.

Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO

For an aesthetic appeal, the ground floor is covered to some extent by eggshell pebble pavers that seamlessly connect with the surrounding landscape. The garden sits in the shade for much of the day thanks to the house being positioned on the western side of land. The fact that it’s located in the further reach also leaves plenty of extra room available for future projects. For the time being, Rinrada intends to turn the front yard into an ample garden filled with large trees, shrubs and natural light.

Baan Lek Villa GLA DESIGN STUDIO

Most importantly, Rinrada says it’s the understanding of the context that sets the main idea about good house design. Appropriate orientation involves more than just the sun’s path or seasonal wind patterns. Every little detail must be taken into account. This modest home is designed to blend with the environment and other key attributes that have made Chanthaburi town famous. It merges with rural vernacular and sprawling fruit orchards. It’s built of material that’s available locally, reclaimed lumber included. All told, it’s one that stands in perfect harmony with the community.

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Relaxing Country Lifestyle
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Old House, New Home

Old House, New Home

A beautifully renovated 60-year-old house, a startling black beauty: this contemporary mix of old and new flows together as a single unit.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn // Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk // Design:  Design Com-bini

Home Renovation

Interior decorator Pauline and nationally known architect Somrit Soonthornrungsi have spent their lives in this mid-city house. Once it had a flooding problem downstairs; that plus termites and general deterioration meant it was continually under repair. At first they thought to build a completely new house, but out of nostalgia and time constraints decided to do a major renovation instead.

“Our daughter grew up here and was upset that we were going to demolish it, so I thought, ‘why not combine old and new?’ The result was a balanced, harmonious creation with a courtyard for breezes to pass through,” said Somrit.   

As we look in from the front door the original house is on the right, across an open courtyard with planted walkway, and the second-floor verandah connects to the new house on the left. The old house is of wood and masonry, with mortar stripped to show the traditional brick. Downstairs is Somrit’s small workshop and a bike storage space, with the floor raised higher to avoid flooding from street level. The new section of the house is connected, but quite different because of its steel-frame construction. On the ground floor there is the company office.

The second floor is Pauline and Somrit’s main living area, connecting to the old  house through the courtyard. There is a living room on the right before the large indoor kitchen, which retains its original makha wood flooring but was repainted black to match the black synthetic wood of the exterior, for an informal, natural feeling to complement the green view of plants and trees outside the glass walls.

Their daughter’s room, set up like a New York loft apartment, is on the third floor. At two points a mezzanine stairway connects the central porch to the rear verandah, from which you can clearly see the 2 floors of the old house. They all lived in the house during construction of a new, steel-framed gabled roof over the old one, which was finally torn out when construction was finished, leaving the kitchen ceiling to follow the new roof angles. 

“The roof is a special black version of Shera’s “U-Slate” line. I’ve loved black since childhood, said Pauline. “When I was a kid I wanted to paint my bedroom black, but my parents wouldn’t let me!” The chic interior design work has black everywhere. The large kitchen is in tribute to both her mother-side relatives and her father, who love to cook. Besides the big kitchen pantry counter being a great place to socialize, it’s also good for informal dining.

Pauline selected furniture and décor in a “mix and match” style controlled by color, some items primarily functional and others reflecting personal style, combining old and new, cheap and expensive.

“It’s comfortable because this really reflects our way of life: the house isn’t built for show,” said Pauline’s father, “and we don’t want to be climbing up and down a lot of stairs in the day. Since coming here we’ve confined business matters to downstairs, and it’s a comfortable walk up to the second floor. The longer we’re here, the more we like it. Looking back, the old house seems stuffy, not a lot of open windows. Our lives changed after the switch.

“At first we thought the courtyard would be too small, but in the end, it worked out great!”

Once light and wind directions were figured in, design principles were applied to open the structure up, and the house clearly became more than brick, cement, wood, and steel, a happy combination of old and new narratives.

Somrit added “It’s impressive. Once the rooms were finished, furniture in, lights and water on, our home came to life anew. It’s a great comfort.”

Home Renovation

 

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AN AMAZING BEFORE-AND-AFTER HOUSE RENOVATION
Box-shaped House in a Mid-City Garden

Box-shaped House in a Mid-City Garden

To have more space for his three children, M.L. Varudh Varavarn (Vin) of Vin Varavarn Architects built this modern house amid a garden on a quarter-acre property in the heart of Bangkok’s Chidlom District.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn // Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

“Children need a place with trees to run and play,” was Vin’s first thought in keeping all the original trees for the garden. Each room looks out on this great play area. “When we built the place we’d just come back from living abroad in a town house. There wasn’t really enough space for the kids there, so we made this home more about the kids than ourselves,” he told LivingASEAN.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The house, the balcony, and the garden are simple components of a tropical house. Although porous from wood borer beetles, these folding doors are perfectly functional. The decorative garden stones were dug up from the property.

 

One primary building material was 20-year-old teakwood from Vin’s mother’s plantation in Kamphaeng Phet, much of which had been eaten hollow by wood boring beetles and couldn’t be sold to a lumber yard.

“We figured wood like this might give an interesting look. Talking with The Jam Factory contractor Subhashok gave us some ideas. We wanted something that didn’t look too slick, but had unique character and was durable. Wood, concrete, and steel were our main building materials.”

With porous teak, it’s best to cut the wood into narrow boards, sort out the more porous ones, then use the different types in different parts of the house. Wood with no holes is used for flooring. Even though you can see into the sapwood on some, porous wood panels can be used for latticework, folding doors/windows, and ceilings, which are not usually touched by people, and they can be patched where called for.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The wall separating the stairwell from the living room displays a rough concrete surface.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
By the stair to the 2nd floor, natural light shines into the front hall indoor courtyard. The living room is behind the wall on the right.

 

This steel-frame box-shaped house uses cement walls as artifice: for instance, the wall of rough concrete next to the parking area creates a vertical play of light and shadow on garden stone surfaces. Meantime, the living room’s big brick walls are surfaced with concrete poured in different concentrations, creating gray stripes in gentle contrast to the rough harshness of the concrete itself.

The house plan visually connects interior and outdoor spaces in a number of places: coming in the door, we first encounter an interior court with a tree, then walk around into the living area, dining space, and large open-plan pantry flanked on both sides by gardens, seeming to switch character back and forth between being indoors and outdoors. By the tree court is a latticed staircase of wood and steel leading to the 2nd floor, where we find a living area, children’s activity room, and all the bedrooms.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The living room with a big sofa for family socializing. To save building expense the steel frame is light as possible, which also gives the house a light, open look.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Folding doors filter light and give security and privacy. Adding to the green, plants grow along the wall by the neighboring house.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Close by the open living area is a dining table where Vin does a little work most mornings. Furthest in is a long, narrow pantry-style kitchen also used for informal eating.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

“The kids have been happy here, and feel more like staying at home, so we’ve achieved a nice level of success,” added M.L. Varudh. Before the evening came we got to see all 3 of Vin’s children as they got back from school to run, play, climb, and have fun, laughing and smiling, sometimes in the children’s activity room.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

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