Family Home Surrounded by Warmth and Happiness

Family Home Surrounded by Warmth and Happiness

Family Home Surrounded by Warmth and Happiness

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Atta Otto / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

A Swiss chalet-style building had been a family home for more than thirty years. Eventually, it was in need of repair and restoration. The Panikabutra family gave serious thought to renovating and returning their two-story wooden home to its original condition. All things considered and when a decision had to be made, the homeowners thought it wise to have it demolished to make room for a new home.

Family Home
A wood deck is designed to take in the view of the courtyard landscape. Like a must-have in any design, a healthy, lush lawn serves as the yard’s focal point. The grass lawn is uncluttered and easy to keep clean like those on the golf course. Underneath it, a drainage system is in place to carry off excess water, thereby preventing flooding in case of rain and getting rid of mosquito breeding grounds. From this angle, the rectangular-shaped inner courtyard can be seen enclosed by a walkway system that connects everything on the property.

Reclaimed wood from the old house was prepared for reuse in a new single-level building designed for mother, Khunying Pannang Panikabutra. Her daughter, Thapanant Suwittayalangkarn, shared the story behind it.

“Old wood taken from the house that Dad built a long time ago was still in very good condition. It was considered so valuable.  Besides that, it was legal as timber prepared for use in the building. 

“Dad always insisted on the legality of things. Generally, it was beautiful reclaimed wood. There was some of it that had fallen into decay and new materials had to be purchased including old house  poles.”

A set of stairs leads to the entrance of the building. Nearby, a ramp is put in place as part of preparation for possible future events should a wheelchair be needed. Only a short distance away, an Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis) thrives in a round container. It has since grown through the skylight that’s purposely built to brighten a nearby carport during daytime hours.

The new home plan is arranged around a central courtyard with a beautiful lawn as its main attraction. It’s a great way to frame a view since every room opens to the lush, refreshing garden landscape.

This is especially true where the main hall and dining room connect to a wood deck with furniture, a perfect setting for relaxing outdoor living spaces.

The design is about disposing the home plan around a central courtyard. This way, the problem of a lack of natural daylight in the interior is solved. It immediately freshens up the room and makes it comfortable for everyone, especially older members of the household.

Family Home
The reception room boasts large opening glass doors overlooking the central courtyard. At the further end, two doors with matching transom windows add a light and airy feel to the atmosphere. In the middle of the room, despite its rather formal appearance, a vintage-style waiting room sofa in dark hues seamlessly fits into the décor.
The dining room and nearby sitting parlor get a good view of the inner courtyard, thanks to large opening doors that stand tall from floor to ceiling. Soft hues on the sofa upholstery creates a calm and serene atmosphere to make one feel more relaxed. It’s easy to get why this area has become the family’s favorite hangout.

Free from being observed by other people, the house’s five bedrooms have their place and private facilities around the courtyard garden.

The building being raised on piles at least a meter from the street level is a decided plus. The rooms are clean and uncluttered thanks to the under-floor space being used for utility systems.

Meantime, preparations for this family home are put in place to take good care of the elderly parent.

Family Home
The walkway around the courtyard is roofed over with translucent sheeting to shield it from sunlight and rains. The rafters and roof battens are made of reclaimed wood from the old house, while the posts are erected on cement foundations to protect against humidity damage. The passageway surface is covered in a mixture of small stones to prevent water splashing in case of rain.
An open space between walls offers room for a shady tree, while wood lattice fencing serves as an engine that drives natural air circulation. Together,
they create a spectacular light and shadow play that’s constantly changing with time.

Sharing her thought, Thapanant said:

“From our experience before Dad passed away, the old two-level home proved inconvenient since we were responsible for taking care of people in poor health.

“The safety precaution already in place wasn’t good enough. When we decided in favor of building a new family home, my brother looked into every design detail. We put in a garden walkway around the courtyard with direct access to Mom’s room. That was our idea of making space available for mobility exercises.

“Everyone felt secure now that, to protect against slips and falls, all the rooms were set at the same level including the bathroom floor. We also put in a ramp linking the house to the  carport to be ready should a wheelchair be required in future.”

Family Home
The bedroom offers a relaxed corner for leisure activities, such as drawing and playing music.
Family Home
Mom and daughter relax together in a sitting area around the courtyard.

Architect: Apisit Suecharoen


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