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Distracted House: Unique Roof Style Merges Javanese Tradition with Urban Modern Living

Distracted House: Unique Roof Style Merges Javanese Tradition with Urban Modern Living

/ Jakarta, Indonesia /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Andhy Prayitno, of Mario Wibowo Photography ( /

Nestled on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, an urban modern home aptly named “Distracted House” looks completely different from everything else. The densely populated neighborhood shares a common characteristic. It’s chock-full of one- and two-story homes closely packed in a way that it feels uncomfortable. To deflect attention away from the humdrum existence of a crowded space, a team of talented engineers at Ismail Solehudin Architecture came up with a clever idea for a craftsman-style home unlike anything else.

Distracted House

Distracted House

The result is a work of outstanding artistry made clearly noticeable by irregular polygons with unequal sides and unequal angles. But what makes Distracted House even more interesting lies in its irresistible power of storytelling.

Beautifully done, it looks the epitome of Javanese culture designed to showcase the ways of life, religious beliefs and traditional vernacular style unique to the Indonesian archipelago.

That’s what gives this home its timeless appeal that blends perfectly with the surrounding landscape.

Distracted House

Distracted House

The two-story, 420-square-meter building is home to an extended family with seven resident members on a normal day. On special occasions and holidays the number can increase to more than 10. That’s precisely a challenge that the architects had to overcome by creating enough usable spaces and functions to satisfy demands.

To fit in with the existing built environment, the only way to go was up. The architects relied on two building methods to solve the problem.

First, the roof was raised slightly higher than normal to create enough room for a mezzanine on the second floor, thereby giving the house extra living spaces, plus well thought out details make the interior feel warm and welcoming. This was achieved in a way that’s compatible with the mostly two-story homes neighborhood.

The second method involved putting in a courtyard with swimming pool at the rear, plus adding plants and greenery inside the home.

The pool that’s the focal point of the courtyard can be seen in full view from inside the dining room and sitting room. To bring the outdoors into the home, small rock gardens with lovely low-maintenance plants are integrated in the design, while skylights set into the roofline keep the interior well-lit during daytime hours.

Distracted House

Overall, the interior living spaces are invitingly comfortable thanks to a well-designed stairwell that opens to admit fresh outdoor air into the room.

Despite the limitations, attention to detail makes the home a special place to be and prevents it from becoming a stuffy, overcrowded space.

Distracted House

Apart from a bright and airy atmosphere, it’s the house’s outer appearance that’s getting the most attention. Plus, family traditions, lifestyle and religious beliefs play a part in determining the location of, and interaction between functional spaces in the home.

This is manifested in building orientation, by which the new home design axis is aligned with Qibla, or the direction towards the Kaaba (the stone building at the center of Islam’s holiest site in Mecca). Hence the Musalla, or room set aside for prayer in Islam, is located at the farthest end in this direction.

A place to quietly reflect inward and connect with Allah, it’s also used for religious ceremonies in the family.

Distracted House

Conceptual Diagram Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
House Orientation Concept Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
First Floor Plan House Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
Second Floor Plan House Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
Rooftop Plan House Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture

Like so, the main communal space of Distracted House is set oblique in relation to the rectangular yard landscape, an unusual layout that sets it apart from the rest. To synchronize modern living with traditional Javanese style and taste, the team of architects added Joglo house architecture to the design.

The term Joglo refers to a steep pitch roof at the center that was associated with Javanese aristocrats in olden times. The center of the floor plan is filled with smaller rooms and functional spaces, creating a conducive environment for a harmonious family life.

Meantime, areas on the periphery are roofed over to keep them in shade.

Distracted House

Distracted House

Overall, the building envelope is made of wood and concrete masonry construction painted white. Where appropriate, air bricks are used as part of the house’s ventilation system.

Except for its unusual shape, the entire roof is covered in terra cotta tiles in a dark shade of orange that’s consistent with other houses in the neighborhood.

Distracted House

Distracted House

In summary, it’s a well-thought-out design that speaks volumes for lifestyle, a strict adherence to religion, and cultural heritage passed down through generations of a family.

A new home made with skill, creativity and imagination, it’s a look that conveys a great deal about the residents through interior and exterior design.

Who would have thought that a home with absolutely unique physical features would ease into beautiful suburban vibes? Interesting, to say the least.

Distracted House

Architects: Ismail Solehudin Architecture (
Lead Architect: Ismail Solehudin
Design team: Radhian Dwiadhyasa
Building contractor: Wani Build
Structural Engineer: Pt. Desain putra persada (new building) Andi Dzikril (building structure)

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Never Too Small: Renovation Gives a Townhouse the Atmosphere of Home

Never Too Small: Renovation Gives a Townhouse the Atmosphere of Home

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Nattakit Jeerapatmitee /

An old townhouse in the heart of Bangkok’s downtown has been lovingly restored in ways that adapt to changing lifestyle needs. No longer is it a stuffy, overcrowded space lacking fresh air and ventilation. A redesigned open floor plan has given it the feeling of home, a sense of belonging and purpose. Incredibly light and airy, it feels like anything but a townhouse, so to speak.

Inheriting the townhouse from his parents, the new owner has made a firm decision to renovate it to a good state of repair.

It’s the place where he lives when traveling to the city for business. Or it can be available to be rented if need be.

The task of refurbishment was given to a team of architects from the design firm OAAS. Central to their work was the creation of an open concept home plan that’s flexible for multiple uses.



Accordingly, the old second-floor balcony was knocked down and replaced by steel framing for a light and spacious façade.

Upstairs, the entire floor plan was revised, while the ground floor platform was raised slightly to keep it above the edge of the water during a flood.


Never too small to make a difference, the newly refurbished townhouse stands out from the rest in that its building shell is made of air bricks that are great for natural ventilation.

The perforated bricks double as a decorative privacy screen that protects the home from prying eyes. It’s a surefire way to improve air circulation and get rid of stuffy smells, a common problem of townhouse living.


The wooden door opens into a surprisingly peaceful semi-outdoor room aptly named “Sala”, which is Thai for garden pavilion. Albeit situated at the front of the house, it’s a private living space that conveniently connects to the sitting room and dining area lying further inside.

Beautifully designed, it calls to mind an image of a garden sitting area with a side passage for walking along.


The overall effect is impressive. The side passage sets this townhouse apart from the others.

Since it’s often impossible to build a walkway around a townhouse, it makes perfect sense to build one on the inside that connects the garden pavilion at the front with the living room and other functions at the rear.


There is a challenge to overcome. Because the side passage takes away a large chunk of the square footage of the house, the designers have to make a choice from a range of possibilities.

Among them, an open concept floor plan is useful in making the home feel more spacious. There’s no need for room dividers for a home theater or TV lounge since it’s never a desirable lifestyle here.

Plus, by floating furniture, the owner is free to create a more intimate atmosphere and a layout that’s capable of multiple uses.

Owner: Jiramate Chanaturakarnnon

Architect: OAAS

Design team: Sineenart Suptanon, Sirakit Charoenkitpisut, Nattakit Jeerapatmitee, Jiramate Chanaturakarnnon

The article is an excerpt from “Shophouse & Townhome”, a proudly presented publication from the “Best Home Series” under “room Books Publishing.
Available in paperback (Thai Edition) at:
Here’s how to order online.

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MP House: A New State-of-the-Art Live/Work Design

MP House: A New State-of-the-Art Live/Work Design

/ Tangerang, Indonesia /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English Version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Arti Pictures /

A live/work design solution could be just what you’re looking for. Here’s a home developed for a designer couple in Tangerang, Indonesia. Known as MP House, it marries work-from-home essentials with well-planned living spaces that come loaded with personality.

live/work design

The secret to a productive daily routine, it combines both residential and home office functions. The workspace lies on the first floor, that also includes a semi-basement, while the more private residential area is placed on the level above it.

The ample residential space is divided into two parts. Semi‐private facilities such as the living room and dining room take up the front of the house, whereas more private spaces and bedrooms are located at the rear that are designed for peace and seclusion.


On the first floor, only a dry garden separates the home office from the guest and kids’ bedrooms at the rear. By design, healthy green foliage in the center courtyard serves as an engine that drives natural ventilation and provides a light and heat barrier. The result is a tranquil indoor environment that’s the key to a happy family life.

In a sensitive and practical way, indoor ramps with handrails are chosen as an alternative to a set of stairs to provide access between different levels. The sloped pathways are particularly useful for the homeowner’s elderly parents. Plus, it’s the split-level design that makes the most effective use of available space.

There is a real sense of achievement in the way the living room and dining room merge into one large lounge with comforting earth tones and double-height ceiling design. It’s a place to eat home-cooked meals and enjoy family conversations that help keep everyone together. Semi-private by design, the ample social interaction space is well-lit and well-ventilated.


The house has a modern exterior. Filled with cement breeze blocks, aka screen blocks, the front façade looks onto another dry garden located just above the carport.

The decorative breeze blocks are chosen for their ability to provide sun protection and maintain openness and airflow. Meantime, flat masonry textures that are repetitive and earthy in color provide a variety of light refraction that adds aesthetic pleasure to the interior living space.



The building is roofed over with a gable design that offers many benefits. Besides strength and durability, it allows the architects to create all kinds of space underneath.

The result is a hybrid live/work design of the home office and the place of residence that feels pleasantly comfortable and capacious.

Architect: TIES (

Lead Architects: Sansan & Tritya

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A Stunning Breeze Block House for Avid Dog Lovers

A Stunning Breeze Block House for Avid Dog Lovers

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

This impressive small contemporary breeze block 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.


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 breeze block 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 breeze block 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 breeze block 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 of this breeze block house 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.”


Owner: Roung Jobby Wuttinawin and Whan Paktranon

Architect: REUN Home Design


The Beauty of Simplicity in a Single-Story Home

The Beauty of Simplicity in a Single-Story Home

/ Ang Thong, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri Chot / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul / Styling: Somboon Kringkrai /

Right in the middle of a field in Ang Thong Province stands a single-story house that has become a community point of interest.

Single-Storey House

Owner Chamnan Chatchawalyangkul says, “At my age, I really needed to make this happen while I was still strong enough to get around.

“I don’t want to be a burden on my kids when I’m not so capable anymore, living in a cramped room with them worrying about me all the time.

“I needed to plan in advance to have a house where I can take care of myself. And the house will eventually belong to the kids anyhow.” 


Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

Chamnan’s design is spare and open, with excellent ventilation. With everything on the same level, each room is accessible by wheelchair.

One special place is a karaoke room for him and his friends. Architect Jim (Teerachai) Leesuraplanon tells us:

“Chamnan said he’d always lived in a rowhouse, a limited, safe space. Some people might want a house in the middle of an open lot to be open all around, but I think about safety, too.

“This is why we put the brick wall in front, and the iron bars, barriers that still allow light and air to pass through. I’d summarize the design I had in mind with the three words ‘balance,’ ‘blend,’ and ‘believe,’ expressing a balanced life, cause and effect, and faith.”

Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

Standing in a rural field with a road in front, the house opens out on a rubber tree orchard in the rear.

Simplicity is the foundation of the design: a balance between vertical and horizontal lines and surfaces, no nooks or ridges to collect dust, and elemental materials such as concrete, wood, metal, brick, and gravel.

Single-Storey House

Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

A metal frame lifts the roof at an angle to break the force of the wind. The floor is raised above the ground, facilitating maintenance work on utility systems beneath.

The front wall is a striking display of BPK brick, a local Ang Thong material, laid in a unique arrangement to create beautiful patterns of light and shade, with an additional layer of sliding glass windows for safety.

Around the house is laid a path of river gravel, so someone in the house can easily hear a person walking outside.

Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

The big central living room is a great place to relax, but the real heart of this single-story house is the big porch.

When the folding doors are opened, the room opens up, and it’s much like an old-time Thai house, with the added benefit of a great view of the gorgeous rubber forest, just as the original design envisioned.

Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

Owner: Chamnan Chatchawalyangkul

Architect: Teerachai Leesuraplanon

Visit the original Thai version of the article…


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A Modern Breeze Blocks Tropical House in Ho Chi Minh City

A Modern Breeze Blocks Tropical House in Ho Chi Minh City

      / Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa/ English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Tanakitt Khum-on /

 The architecture of this modern breeze blocks tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City is perfectly suited to the hot, humid climate, with an imaginative counterpoint of plants, greenery, and airy openings keeping it shady and pleasant inside and out.

Sun diversion screens: the design comes from the hollow brick concept, but uses larger units, so the breeze enters more deeply and freely while keeping intense sun and rain from indoor areas.
A spiral staircase rises to the second floor.
The Nishizawa Architects office area

Shunri Nishizawa, architect and owner of this 5-story row house, designed the Nishizawa Architects office into the basement. Floors 1-3 are rented to a Vietnamese family with bedroom and dining room on the first floor, living room on the second, and more bedrooms on floor three. The Nishizawa family itself has its living room on the fourth floor and bedrooms on the fifth.

Levels from basement up to the fifth floor alternate between open and closed design, according to their use. Catching sunshine and natural breezes, the second- and fourth-story balconies are edged with small gardens.

This makes the tall building less constricted while allowing for easy air circulation from the front through to the back. Alternating levels extend out from the building’s frame, floors above shading the ones below.


The small gardens also make residents feel relaxed, filter out intense light, and cool the breezes blowing through. Floors two and four feature concrete ceilings sculpted with curves rather than the harsh lines often found in concrete buildings, softening reflected light and creating the sensation of being in natural stone caves.

Shunri says, “This house shows a true combination of ‘tropical’ and ‘modern’ architectural design coming from understanding traditional living patterns in this hot, humid Vietnamese climate as well as how to set things up perfectly for contemporary life.

“It’s safe and secure living with modern comforts such as air conditioning, yet still answers our need to be close to nature, with sunlight, breezes, and open spaces connecting to garden and plants right here in the house.”

For versatility in design, Shunri draws on his experience growing up with multipurpose spaces common in Japanese homes. Areas such as the living room are strategically partitioned to block direct light and view, simultaneously giving privacy and an open feeling.

Hollow blocks, a popular Vietnamese building material, inspired the design of larger outside openings for efficient sun and rainstorm protection.

More than just comfortable living, this house offers a charming blend of nature and architecture, snuggled up to natural phenomena right in the middle of  Ho Chi Minh City.

This breeze blocks tropical house is actually much better described as a “house and garden” than simply a “building.”


Architect: Nishizawa Architects

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/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

This tropical waterside house brings back memories of Thai life as it was along Khlong Samsen (Samsen canal) in bygone times. From the outside, it looks straightforward and contemporary, but inside is a fascinating mix of antiques from the owners’ collections.

Outer stair, up from the pool to the second-floor balcony
Perforated fence with wind baffles for good air circulation within the property
Blocks with 1-inch spaces to control fresh air coming into the house
Work room with a library design

To match the Thai climate, Associate Professor Dr Tonkao Panin designed this house in a tropical style.

Although it has a contemporary look, the tropical waterside house contains a mix of antiques and collectibles belonging to owners Kajorn Tanaphaet and Eugene Kroon. A major design challenge for Dr Tonkao was to make old and new fit well together.

Swimming pool, designed as to appear continuous with the khlong (canal) outside



“My requirements are simply stated: 1. I don’t want luxury. 2. I want high ceilings, and 3. Air conditioning should be minimal. Tonkhao’s proportional design successfully connects the entire property: balcony, reception parlor, reading room, down through the kitchen and out to the swimming pool and pier.

“There are a lot of reasons I’m pleased with this location: it’s at the end of the soi, quiet and peaceful, one side opens onto Khlong Samsen, and there’s space in front for a nice garden.

“I bought the place some time before I ran across a house designed by Tonkao in a book I was reading and managed to get him to come design this one.

“As you can see, the end result is a good-sized house with a great style,” says Kajorn.



The design of this tropical waterside house took 8 months, and construction an additional year.

“We did it little by little, along the way discovering things we liked in the detail suggested by the word ‘house.’ Here is a mixture of many things: some sections come from Eugene and me, some from Tonkao, and there are things the craftsmen suggested as we chatted during construction.”

Aside from the remarkable style and the great number of owner-collected antiques and collected artifacts, another point of interest is the unusual transverse placement of the house, set crosswise on the property.

“Kajorn wanted to have the house right on the water,” explains Professor Tonkhao, “and orienting the house this way lets it catch the constant breeze from the lawn out to the khlong.”

So this tropical waterside house has permanent natural ventilation. “Even though the design is straightforward, we want it to create a feeling somewhere between being inside and outside, a tropical feeling.

“The house is designed so it can fully open up to the air from terrace and doorways, that all can be left open. At the same time, balconies and doors block the direct sun from entering the building, creating different levels of sunshine and shade inside and out.”


Even in the late afternoon, it’s still shady and cool. The patio has a long porch deck reminiscent of an “arcade,” the façade of a Sino-Portuguese-style house.

There’s a balcony door which can be opened vertically as a sunshade, a similar design to a Thai-style “baan krathung” pop-up window.

Features such as this help create an amazing sense of comfort for a Bangkok house.



Owner: Kajorn Tanaphaet and Eugene Kroon

Architect: Reserch Studio Panin by Associate Professor Dr Tonkao Panin & Thanakarn Mokkhasamit


Tanah Teduh: Modern Complex House in the Woods

Tanah Teduh: Modern Complex House in the Woods

/ Jakarta, Indonesia /

/ Story: Ajchara Jeenkram / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

A modern complex house sits on an area of land where calming fruit orchards once grew. It is comforting to know the developers have made every effort at preserving as many trees as they possibly could. Like so, the houses are built around mature trees that have long been there. Here’s one of them. 

The cube-shaped façade looks out over the front yard. Large glass windows in wood casings stretch across the entire face of the building. To let nature permeate, patches of greenery occupy every open space including the rooftop deck.

This modern complex house is based on open plan design to allow abundant natural light. The positioning of windows and other features ensures minimum consumption of electricity, which saves a great deal on power bills. More importantly, it provides the opportunity to live with nature.

Tanah Teduh ” is the name of the housing estate. No doubt it reminds us of co-housing space design or clustered housing in which everybody knows everybody. Residential units have access to common areas in the front and back. Well-thought out plans ensure security is achievable without sacrificing privacy. The housing project sits on a 21-rai plot of land that once upon a time was a fruit orchard.

Exterior walls covered in coat-button vines help cool down the interior living spaces.

Inspired by the need for conservation, the project offers 20 modern complex houses with views of the lush landscape and without compromising on privacy. Instead of security fencing, the homes are kept separated by hedges and smart architectural hacks. It takes a team of top ten Indonesian designers to make this housing estate the way it is. The front façade varies from one unit to the next, and each unit is a signature of an individual designer.

The relaxing area inside the multi-use room in the front part of the house. The glass wall and sliding door keep views open and bring in abundant natural light.

A house owner in this estate is Oranat Pernquist. A Thai woman who has lived in Jakarta for over three years now. She welcomed our team to take a look around. Overall the home was beautiful, well-designed, and nicely decorated.

Andra, the designer and estate director, did a good job at it. He put in a small center court to allow nature to pervade through the living spaces. Natural light and orientation were taken into account, resulting in well-connected, warm, and inviting interior spaces. The exterior showcased the charm of modern design, the kind made famous by world-renowned architect Le Corbusier, but with Asian views.

The dining room capable of seating 6 to 8 guests features large wood table and chairs made to order from Jakarta. Glass-front armories in the backdrop are imported from Thailand.

The ground floor of the first building offers good-sized seating spaces, a dining area, and a kitchen. Glass siding fills the entire exterior wall on one side, making the center court clearly visible from within. The second floor features a home office, while the third is a sundeck converted into a sky garden.

The kitchen is connected to the dining room. A utility table on wheels compensates for the absence of a kitchen island. The courtyard can be seen in full view from here, thanks to glass siding that stretches across the exterior walls.

The second building has two stories, with multi-use spaces on the first floor. The second floor is reserved for seating spaces with access to the garden.


The second floor of the annex features seating spaces with a sofa in soft hues and a set of table and chairs. There is a park bench made of concrete for relaxation in the outdoors. 

The designer is passionate about Thai-modern style. Then they use a kind of simple materials for designing such as real wood, exposed concrete walls in lighter shades and hollow concrete blocks. Every space is designed for specific use, looks uncluttered, and opens to let nature permeate.

The perimeter wall crafted of hollow cement blocks not only blocks the sun’s harsh glare but also allows air circulation. Hollow block design adds modern curb appeal to the home.

Overall, home décor and furniture show off Oriental appeal, paired with architectural features that are characteristic of modern design. Oranat says that her other half, Anders Pernquist, often travels on business and brings home beautiful objects from Italy, Taiwan, and India. As she puts it, Anders is responsible for purchasing, while Oranat for installation. No wonder the interior is so full of life.

The master bedroom on the third floor features floor-to-ceiling windows and wood flooring in glossy finishes. Different materials serve as boundary markers among the internal spaces. The en suite bathroom showcases fine-stone terrazzo flooring and come complete with a dressing room and walk-in closet.

“Anders likes Asian objects of handicraft. Works produced in this region are beautifully crafted. We have glass front armories with superb wood carving imported from Thailand, area rugs from India, and other pieces that are made to order in Jakarta. Our collections come from various parts of the world. They remind us of our long journey,” said Oranat.

The bedroom overlooking the courtyard boasts a wooden bed with area rugs and bed cover in complementing hues from India. A birch veneer IKEA chair adds Scandinavian vies to the room. 
Wall openings keep the interior spaces well lit without electricity. The architect puts this one in the kitchen to bring in views of the front yard.

Believe it or not! We fell in love with this modern complex house after having seen its brochure. We came this time to do a piece on one house, but by sheer coincidence ended up doing a story on another.

We appreciated the opportunity of an interview with a delightful and kind host and came away impressed with the hospitality we received on that hot summer day.


Architect: Andra Matin