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A Minimalist House with the Elegance of Wood and Great Greenery Outdoors

A Minimalist House with the Elegance of Wood and Great Greenery Outdoors

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul / Styling: Worawat /

Here’s a warm wood house that’s an embodiment of superb craftsmanship in the indoors and cool refreshing greenery outdoors. Precisely, it is  the simple design with the deliberate use of texture and clean lines that gives it a sense of youthful exuberance — a minimalist home that blends perfectly with nature.

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Khagee Ketjumpol, the homeowner, said he bought this house about ten years ago having been attracted to an orange jasmine tree (Murraya paniculata) gracing the front yard. After that, he decided to restore it to a good state of repair that was more up to date in style.

It was a home makeover project designed for better living conditions of everyone in the family. A professional builder with more than 30 years of experience, Khagee knew exactly what he wanted to do and how.

The result was a complete renovation that struck the right balance between comfort and a distinctive appearance with the great greenery outdoors.

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The remodeled house plan offers three stories of living spaces with an abundance of natural light canopied by overhanging trees.

The homeowner couple live on the top floor that’s decorated penthouse style, while their daughter occupies the second. The ground floor consists of common areas designed to encourage social interaction and spaces for a range of activities, including home to three pet dogs.

Outside, a Siamese rosewood tree (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) standing three stories tall among the greenery outdoors adds a peaceful detail to the front yard.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

To establish the ideal room temperature for comfortable living, tall-growing trees are preserved and integrated into the house plan and landscape design.

Where appropriate, parts of the ground floor are left unfilled and overhead windows are created to allow the upper branching of trees to thrive.

The result is a spacious, well-lit, and well-ventilated home built around shade trees that provide sun protection all year long.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

As Khagee puts it:

“I like plants for they offer shelter from direct sunlight, increase oxygen, and filter dust that poses a serious threat to environmental quality, plus they help keep the house cool. In line with the minimalist style, open floor plans create a living space that’s pleasant to look at and easy to keep clean.”

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of WoodA Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

The family’s love of nature and everything about wood is clearly seen in home interior design. Much of it is made of reclaimed timber that once served a different function.

Here, Khagee was able to recycle used items from his collection to fit new needs as floor panels, wall coverings, even ceiling planks.

Where possible, steel framing and glass panels are also used.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

“I like the touch of wood. Throughout my career as builder, I have collected many used building materials and reclaimed wood.

“Much of it that went into renovating this home was more than 30 years old and imported from Laos. To me, house building is an investment, much like buying land or gold.

“This way, we’ve come to appreciate the value of wood. It’s the natural vibes of wood that bring positive energy into our home,” said Khagee.

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A few pieces of house furniture are used on an as-needed basis true to the idea of minimalism.

For a spacious interior, even large pieces like the bed and the sofa are made of steel framing that gives them a lightweight look. Because of this, they appear to hover just above the floor.

The light and airy atmosphere is further enhanced by recessed lighting, a nice little collab between the homeowner and a team of architects from the Unknown Surface Studio.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

After many years of building houses for other people, the time is ripe for Khagee to make one for himself and his family.

Not only is it a dream come true, but it’s also a beautiful wooden home ensconced by greenery outdoors.

It’s no surprise that he aptly calls it “Little Paradise”, a home made for the happiness of his loved ones.

Owner/Architect: Khagee Ketjumpol

Lighting design: Unknown Surface Studio

Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family

Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Sarayut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Ritthirong /

Let’s say you’re looking for a modern courtyard house plan to get inspired. Here’s one nestled in the heart of Bangkok’s downtown that’s built to accommodate three generations living in one household. Thoughtfully designed, it’s capable of answering the family’s lifestyle needs, plus it’s easy to maintain thanks to an uncomplicated layout. What looks opaque from the outside is compensated by a bright and airy center courtyard that’s the heart of family life. Its story is inscribed as part of the building’s decorative features.

Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family Urban Courtyard House for an Extended FamilyWhen a design team from the Atelier of Architects Co., Ltd. was tasked with creating a new home for eight people including not just parents and their children, but also grandparents, the first things they thought of were safety features, comfortable living spaces, privacy protection, and a peaceful environment for all family members. Yes. That’s exactly what they had in mind.

Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family

The two-story, six-bedroom house plan may seem a bit crowded for 130 square wa of land (520 sq. m.), but the overall effect is delightful. It’s neatly planned to ensure the proper space utilization; every available space is used in an effective way.

Homeowner Salyawate Prasertwitayakarn, himself an architect, put it this way:

“If the house was positioned at the center as is usually the case, then there wouldn’t be any room left for a yard, let alone a small piece of ground for trees.

“The house is adjacent to vacant lots that will see large construction projects coming up before long. So the only way forward is to build a U-shaped courtyard home enclosed by the solid external envelope. The center courtyard has a view of the apartment building that’s the family’s business.

“Although the courtyard lies facing west, it’s protected from the sun and heat by the adjacent five-story apartment building. The result is a cool, small outdoor room for little children to run and play.

“To protect family privacy, vertical concrete fins and a full array of plantation blinds are installed along the façade facing the apartment building.”

Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family Urban Courtyard House for an Extended FamilyUrban Courtyard House for an Extended Family Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family

Taken as a whole, it’s simple clean design that gives this new courtyard house its character.

Among other things, its distinctive features include an array of transom windows that add more natural light to the home. Its modern and fresh interior with shades of gray bespeaks a clean, clear and uncluttered layout, while exposed brick walls add timeless elegance to the peaceful ambience.

The patio adjoining the house is covered in gray pea gravel that’s comfortable underfoot and easy to maintain. It’s a simple hardscaping material that expresses rich and subtle meanings. On this matter, Salyawate explained:

“I want to get the message across, something that internalizes values and what’s important in life for everyone in the family.

“The meaning of life is expressed through the work of art executed directly on the brick wall by the entryway. It takes the form of the Thai letter “p” that’s the initial of the family’s three sons — Pahda, Pheem, and Pinyada.

“Precisely, it’s a reminder that this place is made for them.”

Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family Urban Courtyard House for an Extended Family

To get people from one floor to the next, a spiral staircase stands surrounded by creative bookshelf design. It’s one of the most frequented area of the house where a bronze plaque is fixed to the floor as a reminder of when the house was built and completed.

The outlines of the couple’s hands and those of their children are inscribed on it. Small hand images indicate the family moved in when the kids were little.

Visiting house guests can tell right away the home is perfectly cozy without elaborate décor. But for the eight people who live here, it’s a special place made for living a simple life, one full of rest and room to pursue their dreams.

Architect: The Atelier of Architects Co., Ltd by Salyawate Prasertwitayakarn
Owner: Salyawate, Piyasuda Prasertwitayakarn

Shipping Container House amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Shipping Container House amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Text: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Who would have thought, even in the vibrant cosmopolitan neighborhood of Thonglor, that a shipping container house would have pride of place beautifully ensconced in the lush greenery of a midtown forest garden? The area bustled with activity and dominated by highrise condominiums is home to a health-giving tropical oasis. Here, large metal boxes once used for the transportation of goods transform into a charming ensemble and family life center capable of fulfilling several functions.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

The rustic building in the garden originated as an add-on to the family’s existing home located a stone’s throw away. It was meant to be used for a limited period of time and hence a shady spot with trees thriving in the microclimate of the landscape.

Later on, it was transformed into a new home for the family’s daughter engaged to be married at the time. That was when shipping containers were put in as a garden pavilion in the front yard, an art studio, and other components of the main building at the rear. The front pavilion has become the hub of family life when Mom and Dad drop in for a visit.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

The container that serves as the front yard pavilion is elevated at a distance above the ground. It’s connected to other functional spaces via a system of passages along the side of the house.

The shipping container house itself is a steel frame building. The exterior wall on the second floor is made of corrugated sheet metal that blends with the exoskeletal shipping container framework.

Crafted of teakwood, the house floor offers a pleasing visual combination that harmonizes with the lush foliage of the landscape. For durability, the balcony and outdoor passages are raised on a framework of steel.

They are topped with reinforced concrete, while epoxy coatings enhance the beauty of the entire surface.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Open-plan interior design comes in handy for a rectangular house plan. The sitting room at the front easily connects to a dining area and a kitchen that’s situated at the farthest end.

The shaft in which a staircase is built allows plenty of natural daylight to illuminate the center of the home while serving as an engine driving air circulation.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Into the open air, trees that had been planted some time ago were developing well. With years of landscaping experience, the architectural firm Walllasia was able to create a home and art studio that merged seamlessly with the surroundings.

It’s now an ecosystem where everything is interconnected, from the sitting room up front to the balcony on the second floor, and beyond.

The result is a gorgeous residence embraced by nature, one that evokes pleasant images of a home immersed among rosewood trees.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

To prepare the building site, low land was filled to bring it to road level while things that had aesthetic value remained intact. They included climbing plants that grew up arbors and trellises along the fence.

Now they offer protection from the mid-afternoon sun and keep the backyard cool. Some of them even thrive on the roof and in the overhanging trees.

Where necessary, steel building frames are made strong to provide nearby trees with a firm foundation. For a lightweight look, some outdoor rooms are canopied by high-tension canvas that blends with healthy green foliage.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

What’s worth mentioning is that the homeowners are avid pet lovers. Hence, the dwelling place made in a plain and simple fashion is aptly called “Mac and Ham House”, which refers to the two dogs who also live here.

Unmistakably, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. It’s happiness that comes from a bond of love and understanding. Currently, plans are afoot to open an in-house art gallery devoted to painted pictures of the beloved man’s best friends.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden
From left: Alaksh, Suriporn and their daughter Jirapa Phornprapha.

Owner: Jirapa Phornprapha

Architectural and Interior Designer: Suriya Umpansiriratana / Walllasia Ltd.

Landscape Designer: Suriya Umpansiriratana, Prawit Poolkumlung / Walllasia Ltd.

A Beautifully Renovated 60-year-old Mid-City House

A Beautifully Renovated 60-year-old Mid-City House

/ Bangkok,  Thailand

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

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

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, which 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.

mid-city house

“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.   

mid-city house

As we look in from the front door, the original house is on the right, across an open courtyard with planted walkways, 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 this mid-city house during the 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. 

mid-city house

“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 loves 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, with 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 this mid-city 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.”

mid-city house


Owner: Pauline Soonthornrungsi and Somrit Soonthornrungsi

Designer: Design Com-bini by Pauline Soonthornrungsi and Somrit Soonthornrungsi

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Box-Shaped Steel House Surrounded by Nature

Box-Shaped Steel House Surrounded by Nature

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: W Workspace /

This box-shaped steel house, hidden in shady green woods, has a cool, peaceful resort atmosphere. – hard to believe it’s right in the middle of a congested city!

Steel House
wide eaves, glass windows set 3 meters in for shade and rain protection

Steel House
paved driveway leading into the carport 5 meters from the street

Designing architect Boonlert Hemvijitraphan of Boon Design took up the challenge set by the owner: create a home on the limited plot that is neither cramped nor stuffy.

Boonlert said, “The challenge was to make that work within the urban context. Fortunately, the owner gave us a completely free hand; our job was simply to design a comfortable residence on a 360-square-meter (90-square-wah) property. The starting point was what we saw in the original landscaping here.”

Steel House
[left] The dark of the steel house and bamboo blinds contrasts with the surrounding greenery. [right]: Open space carport leads up into the house.

Steel House
The main door from the carport into the living room

Steel House

The property was not large, and its location right in the center of a capital city was seriously limiting

How to build a comfortable residence here? The garden/orchard greenery was used as a tool to create a sense of spaciousness.

Instead of the house spreading outwards toward the fence, it rose vertically as a 2½-storey home with open space beneath the house used as a carport and multipurpose area, the rest of the property becoming a relaxing, park-like space.

Steel House

High-ceilinged living room, naturally bright and airy, with a great view of outside greenery.

The large garden was set up to the south to get the best breeze and the best shade from plants and trees.

The garden is planted on soil raised 1.2 meters higher than before to be level with the 3-meter height of the living room.

The living room connects with the dining area beneath the mezzanine, with the kitchen behind the glass door

The metal bookshelf reaching almost to the mezzanine also acts as weight-bearing support for the staircase behind it.

The first floor has a high “double volume” ceiling for more natural light and ventilation. A steel staircase rises from the living room to the mezzanine, which holds a workroom and guest bedroom, and up to the second floor, the owner’s private space.

The single staircase up from the carport connects everything from the ground to the top floor.

Mezzanine walkway with banister and protective grating steel is the primary building material, but natural materials such as bamboo are also important.

Bamboo shades cover the house façade, filtering sunlight, protecting against rain, giving privacy from outside view, yet still allowing good ventilation.

“We used steel not because we especially wanted to use steel, but because it was light, and we wanted that quality,” explained Boonlert.

“Each material has its own particular value. Coming up with a principle means coming up with the quality we want. Design is a value in itself.”

The architecture of this house reflects modern times. It’s surrounded by the natural environment people long for, so no matter chaotic and confused the outside world, in this home there’s a mood of relaxation and contentment: it’s just a great place to live.

Elevated porch connecting to the garden.

Architect: Boonlert Hemvijitraphan of Boon Design (

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A Breathtaking Trio of Modern Loft-Style Homes in Bangkok

A Breathtaking Trio of Modern Loft-Style Homes in Bangkok

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Tanakitt Khum-on /

In former times as families outgrew their homes, by tradition Thais would put in more houses on the same property. They shared basic facilities and landscaping fitting together to form a cohesive whole. But this tradition has been disappearing. Nowadays, grown children move away into single-family homes of their own. In this case, though, Manit and Yanrak Manithikhun decided to build a trio of modern loft-style houses as future homes for their children on their piece of land.

The trio of modern steel framed homes are connected by the perfect pathway with a private garden in the middle.

“We knew our sons would want their private space, and we had a sizeable piece of land. We thought it would be a good idea to build three new houses right here for them in the same place,” said Manit.

“The three new buildings include one common house where the whole family can get together. It’s for entertaining guests, too. And I wanted an herb garden. Thinking forward to retirement!”

Steel frames and brick walls: the hip, unfinished “loft” look.

The three new homes were added to the existing principle house of parents that was built after the big floods hit Bangkok in 2011. The expansion plan included a private garden and common space where the family could spend time together.

It was made up of two steel framed loft-style houses for the sons and one building as a common room. By and large, it was designed to serve and filled in many parts that were missing in life, a garden and common room where the family can spend time together.

“The kids wanted the style to be simple and unfinished. The houses all have the same design, but they’ll change and take on the personalities of the families living in them,” Manit explained.

“I added the garden and shady spots. I wanted a resort-like feeling, and we have that now: garden, swimming pool, all in our own home.”

The cantilever deck that’s a part of the common building reaches out above the pool creating an impression of a home floating on water.

Besides a great family home with delightful common space, the architects also designed the house to be eco-friendly. The roofs were set at a 15-degree angle, facing south to prevent full sun exposure. All the houses – even the carports – have solar panels, reducing energy costs of the whole residence by 50%.

Solar cell panels installed on the roof at a 15-degree slant offer 50% savings on energy bills.

“We chose the steel house frame not only for speed in building, but also because there’s less noise pollution during construction than using other materials,” said house architect Piriya Techaratpong.

“Plus it gives a wider choice of forms than traditional concrete or column and beam structures, and is many times cheaper than building a concrete weight-bearing wall.

“The common house has spaced steel columns, with lightweight lines that give the impression the building is floating over the pool below. This is the elegant design we were trying for.”

The result of all this? A design that’s an expression of the unconditional love and aspirations these parents feel for their children.

Owner: Manit and Yanrak Manithikhun

Architect: Mee-D Architect Co., Ltd. ( by Piriya Techaratpong and Pawit Chuankumnerdkarn

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A Brick House Cherished by Two Generations
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Mash-up: Industrial Design and Green Space of Walllasia

Mash-up: Industrial Design and Green Space of Walllasia

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Monosoda / Rewriter: Phattaraphon / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Nantiya, Jirasak /

Cold black steel may not seem an obvious pairing for green plants, but one award-winning architect of Walllasia has matched the two in a unique and impressive way.


“Steel and the natural world present an interesting conflict to me,” said Suriya Umpansirirat, winner of the Silpathorn Architectural Award and owner of the design studio Walllasia.

“My childhood home was a rice mill in Phatthalung. I grew up playing ‘fix this, fix that’ in an industrial plant, but set in the midst of trees my father had planted.”

Adding to his compact two-storey house, he used a unique design based on childhood memories. The rawness of the black steel comes across as part and parcel of nature, meshing easily with the green leaves all about. Structural lines here are simple and straightforward, but full of architectural finesse.



When Suriya needed to expand his 64-square-meter townhouse, he bought and annexed the house directly behind, allowing no more width but creating two times the depth.

Between the two, he created a courtyard where the sun shines in. A metal frame is set like a ring around the courtyard, separating the two structures without physically attaching them to each other.



Every spot in the house has many varieties of plants and trees, looking as though they have sprung up naturally.

There is an automatic drip irrigation system which prevents water waste and also saves a lot of gardening time.


A workshop for artifacts and inventions. A big bike sits, waiting for a ride.
A workshop for artifacts and inventions. A big bike sits, waiting for a ride.

Suriya’s passion for nature’s fine details complements another side of him, which has him creating fine crafts in the workshop. His own artworks and a plethora of inventions and artifacts have become part of the house.

This award-winning architect of Walllasia has also done a lot of work on many religious sites, and this influence keeps his home a “work in progress”, never entirely finished, and saturated with Buddhist concepts and thought.

“Religion is about how to deal with human life,” he spoke about his inspiration.

“Each religion has a philosophy for finding happiness. Architecture grows from that: how can we express our own esthetics without encroaching on others? I tried to design this house to look simple and straightforward, for comfortable living without too many frills. For me, practical considerations are what’s important.”

Perhaps for a person of passion, practical living shouldn’t involve hoarding or accumulating, but reduction, or letting go instead, until what is left is the core essence of a home.

His concept: a house like a vase of flowers that’s also a car repair garage.

Owner/Architect: Suriya Umpansirirat of Walllasia (

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