Modern-Vernacular Design of a Thai-Isan Countryside Home in Udon Thani

Modern-Vernacular Design of a Thai-Isan Countryside Home in Udon Thani

Modern-Vernacular Design of a Thai-Isan Countryside Home in Udon Thani

/ Udon Thani, Thailand /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Suthaiapa / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

“We want a Thai-Isan countryside home in Udon Thani, one that not only emulates the vernacular style typical of the region but also fits in well with the surrounding.”


So said the homeowner Pierre Vermeir recalling the story of his modern-vernacular style house nestled in Udon Thani’s Baan Dung District.

Having lived in Thailand for six years now, Pierre is quite at home with the Thai way of life. He is also passionate about the warmth and hospitality indigenous to the rural area.

The countryside home in Udon Thani sits on a piece of property that has been the home of Nittaya Pansamdang, Pierre’s better half. When it was time to repair, the couple thought it wise to replace it with a new one. Kanika Ratanapridakul from Spacetime Architects was responsible for the new design.

The front porch is one of the family’s favorite hangouts. Friendly neighbors shout out greetings as they pass by in the late afternoon.

“Pierre wanted a Thai-style house, a wooden one and not too big. He made that clear from the get go,” Kanika said.

“As I got around to working on it in earnest, it became clear that the country home was for me as well. It was more suited to my character than other types of design. It made communication easy because we ended up pursuing the same line of thought.”

Low profile design is in keeping with the floor-seating style of meditation that has pride of place in the society.

The first floor boasts an airy hallway likened to ground-level living spaces of the house-on-poles design. The exterior walls are crafted of timber in clapboard patterns alternating with glass Louvre windows and fiber cement boards. The three types of building supplies were chosen for their simple, clean appearances.


The architect explained “The house is built using supplies and methods no different from others in the neighborhood. Together the materials, the skills, and well-planned design on a budge make it a perfect visual blend with the rest in the community.”

The shower room features a mix of wood and concrete in smooth finishes typical of the traditional Thai-style home.
Simple, clean design adds rustic contemporary feel to the well-crafted space. Polished concrete surfaces protect against humidity, while Louvre windows improve ventilation.

Pierre is no doubt pleased with the result. This countryside home in Udon Thani stands in peaceful harmony with the rural landscape. The hedge along the perimeter wall is kept at the right height to ensure unobstructed views of indoor and outdoor spaces.

The front and rear balconies look out over the lush countryside. The ground floor and nearby patios offer visual continuity to the garden and surrounding environment.

The front façade overlooks a playground frequented by children from within the neighborhood.

The overhangs keep the sun off the home and surrounding wood patio. Characteristic of vernacular design, the small bathroom at the far end provides added convenience to outdoor living.
Relaxing on the backyard patio while children are having fun exploring the neighborhood.

This countryside home in Udon Thanirepresented a juncture where “Vernacular” and “Contemporary” styles were married. The house main frame was crafted of H-shaped steel beams for strength and durability. Only after that were other features added to achieve charming vernacular appeal. On top of its pleasantness, the house was created for easy, comfortable living, physically and mentally.

Asked how he felt about city and country living, Pierre said:

“It’s not the same. Imagine having a home in Bangkok and then making a trip to Udorn. Compare that with living in Udon Thani and then going to work in Bangkok. The latter makes sense. It is comforting to know there is a country home awaiting your return, one that is peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”


Pierre now commutes a few times monthly between Bangkok and his new home. In future, he intends to take up permanent residence in Udorn. Life just gets more fun hopping a motorbike ride to a nearby market. He enjoys cooking and inviting friends over for dinner.

Occasionally he entertains visitors from overseas. Speaking of which, it seems a new trend is fast rising. More people are looking forward to living “Life in the Slow Lane.”

To me, that’s life.

The living room, dining room, and kitchen fuse together as one indivisible whole, much like the ground floor of the traditional Thai-style home. The open floor plan with plenty of windows makes for thermal comfort in the interior living spaces.
The kitchen comes fully equipped to handle all kinds of cooking big or small. Louvre windows allow good ventilation making clouds of smoke and odors fast dissipate.

Sharing his worldview, Pierre said: “I want a simple country lifestyle. After all, life is not about just me alone. It is about reaching out and interacting with others in the community.

“That is what makes Thai-Isan unique and warm. There is a touch of country in the lifestyle, and it is enchanting.”

Light and airy interior spaces are the hallmarks of this vernacular style of architecture. Several key features work together to drive natural ventilation that keeps the house cool. They include high ceilings, the absence of staircase risers, large wall openings, and unobstructed balcony spaces.


Owner: Pierre Vermeir

Architect: Spacetime Architects


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