/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /
/ Story: Atto Otto / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Sungwan Phratep /
If living in a minimalist, rustic farmhouse is your thing, but what you’ve found so far isn’t cool enough, then this hip house amidst the rice fields of Chiang Mai may change your mind. The hybrid wood and concrete home stands in nature’s peaceful embrace. It’s attached to paddy fields on a rural road leading to the city. Here, misty morning mountain views can be seen from miles around.
Albeit a little plain and unpretentious, the two-story family home has some modern elements to it. That’s reason enough for Keatnapin Sobhinnon and Patsa Attanon to buy it for their quiet country retreat away from hectic urban life.
Building a home on sloped ground typically calls for a split level floor plan, and in this particular case stepped foundations become necessary. This results in utility spaces and service rooms being assigned to different levels.
On the outside, an open air car park is leveled out for safety. It’s supported by a concrete retaining wall to prevent erosion on sloped yard. The front entry area is easily accessible via a wooden footbridge, an architectural feature that makes the house façade look calm, cool and welcoming.
Walk in the door, and you find living room décor delightful and attractively old-fashioned. Do-it-yourself crafts and decorating ideas add fun touches to every part of the room.
Chiang Mai being a handicraft capital, the homeowners enjoy the freedom of creating their own design for every piece of furniture. Then they simply ask local artisans highly skilled in woodworking to make the pieces to their specifications.
Needless to say the interior decorations convey a great deal about their fun and vibrant personality – warm, inviting and without pretense.
To create extra living space outdoors, the couple make the terraces larger than originally planned. This is achieved by connecting the platform next to the house to a nearby rice granary, or “Ruaen Long Khao” in the vernacular of the Northern Region.
Strictly speaking, it’s a storehouse on stilts for threshed grain common in the area. The old granary has since transformed into lodging accommodation for visiting houseguests.
As Patsa described it: “It’s beautiful out here all year round. I especially love it when it rains as rice paddies and the surrounding hills come alive with all shades of green, entirely different from our home in Bangkok.
“When we came here for the first time, it felt like being in another world. No need to say we were filled with joy. I think this house was made for us.”
With a breathtaking panorama of mountain landscapes and the comfort of their home, it’s easy to get why the couple love this country home among the rice fields so dearly.
Owner/Designer: Keatnapin Sobhinnon and Patsa Attanon
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