Blog : Brick House

A Gorgeous White Brick House in Ampang Jaya, Malaysia

A Gorgeous White Brick House in Ampang Jaya, Malaysia

/ Ampang Jaya, Malaysia /

/ Story: Skiixy / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

This beautiful brick house belongs to a family of four in Ampang Jaya, a town to the east of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. The design work and use of materials such as bamboo and old brick taken from a pre-WWII colonial-style house make it special.

Ampang Jaya

Childhood memories are fragments of the past that many of us can bring back to life. In her childhood, Mrs. Liew Jun Keong was entranced by house design. And in conversation with Studio Bikin’s architect Ms. Farah Azizan, her memories bubbled out, creating a happy chemistry of inspiration between the homeowner and the architect, with the end result of this gorgeous white brick house.

The kitchen counter with large pressed bamboo cylinder mortared in place and smoothed with a trowel.

Mrs. Liew said, “At first, I just had the thought I liked houses with a resort atmosphere and the sort of peace and quiet we used to find on holiday to Bali, Bangkok, or Singapore, experiencing nature in a more original state.

“Then I thought of the house we lived in then, in an area with a lot of unfinished concrete surfaces, and so told the designer I’d like a modern-style concrete house, but with plants and trees all around.

“By modern, I didn’t mean perfect, but featuring the natural surfaces of construction materials that have their own types of beauty.”

Ampang Jaya
The reception parlor with dark wood furniture and vintage cloth coverings in muted tones of blue and gray.
Ampang Jaya
[Left] In the back of the house is a place to take a nap. [Right] The kitchen connects back to that nap space. Wood latticework helps with ventilation.
A Chinese devotional altar room
The master bathroom

After a good talk, the architect and the homeowner found their ideas really resonated with each other. Ms. Azizan also had pleasant surprises for Mrs. Liew. She came up with the materials handpicked specifically for this house.

“I was really impressed with Farah’s detailed choice of materials. I tend to think of the normal uses for bamboo, for instance, as for pipes, but she used it as a decorative façade for the house,” said Mrs Liew.

“Next, it was this batch of white brick, which has an extraordinary history, coming from the demolition of a colonial-style residence built before World War II.

“The brick had no coloring when she bought it. We were lucky to get this brick, as it was the first batch. Others looking at this may first notice it has blemishes or that the sizes are irregular, but it’s iconic material for that period, with a great value, and absolutely perfect for our family.”

The entire house is painted white, except for sections of bare cement. There isn’t a lot of interior furnishing and decoration, and furniture is limited to what is necessary.

Mrs. Liew values simplicity and doesn’t care for fancy interior décor. She said that she hadn’t yet found decorative work with the kind of natural beauty she cared for.

The homeowner added enthusiastically: “I’d never dreamed of living in a place where sunlight reached into the center of the house, which is something I now really appreciate.

“And the bricks used in the construction have blemishes, but each imperfection somehow adds to the perfection of the whole.”

Ampang Jaya

 


Owner: Mrs. Liew Jun Keong

Designer: Studio Bikin by Ms. Farah Azizan


You may also like…

Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House: Small Size Not an Obstacle to Decorating with Greenery

Box-Shaped House with the Texture of Memory

Box-Shaped House with the Texture of Memory

Box-Shaped House with the Texture of Memory

/ Petaling Jaya, Malaysia /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

This box-shaped house uses architecture and coordinated interior design to tell stories of the present and the past.

box-shaped house

The house is located in the Petaling Jaya district of Selangor, Malaysia. This is a district of single homes, but with little space to put up a large house.

Still, architect Dr Tan Loke Mun rose to the challenge of house owner Kenneth Koh and tore down the former structure here to build a new 3-storey box-shaped house in its place.

box-shaped house

“Ground space was limited, so we built upward,” the architect told us. Building vertically involved careful division of space. The lower floors hold common areas: parlor/living room, dining area, kitchen, and conference/chat room. The 3rd floor is an attic, holding hidden utility systems next to a small living room.

The designers brought an “outdoors” mood to each part of this box-shaped house: there’s a “double volume” high, open space on the first floor; glass windows open to the garden atmosphere, and potted shade-loving plants bring it inside.

box-shaped house

Gentle sunlight shining into the living space combined with a light breeze from a ceiling fan gives the feeling of sitting in a garden.

An effective play of space combines with the interior décor to bring out a timeless feeling that reflects its Malaccan legacy. The Chinese-style furniture, both traditional and contemporary, was made by Malaccan artisans. Paintings tell of a land that lives on in the memory of the owner.

trc01

For architectural reasons, the stairway is in the middle of the house. The folded steel balusters look light, and the red banister is at once tremendously chic and reminiscent of the row houses of yesteryear.

Significantly, the prominent terra-cotta tile facade is remarkable.

“In tearing down the old house, we discovered that the roof tiles were handcrafted, imported from Calcutta, India, so we set them aside to use this way for privacy and heat insulation,” added the architect.

“Their texture connects nicely with the other materials used here. This original house tile is long-lasting, looks great, has a timeless quality, and is a good choice in combination with the other main structural components of brick, concrete, and steel.”

The decorative outer house wall uses a suspended steel framework to hold the terracotta roof tiles and red brick.
The decorative outer house wall uses a suspended steel framework to hold the terracotta roof tiles and red brick.

The outer surface of this box-shaped house structure shows a wall of terracotta roof tiles that open and close to catch the light. The metal support structures reach out from the main building to form a pleasing pattern of connections between the inside and outside.

trc05

box-shaped house

The look and ambience here remind us of a Malaccan row house, but in a modern context.

Effective combination of old materials and new in textures that suit its owner’s heritage gives this house a sense of being outside of time, and its memories will be passed on to the next generations who live here.

Ultimately, we don’t often find a big-city house that feels so bright, natural, and full of narrative.

box-shaped house


Owner: Kenneth Koh

Architect: Dr Tan Loke Mun


You may also like…

Designers’ Eco-friendly Dream Home in Vietnam

Termitary House: Good Sunshine, Fresh Air, and Brick Walls

A Cozy Brick House the Pride of Two Generations

A Cozy Brick House the Pride of Two Generations

/ Pattaya, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul, Sungwan Phratep /

This old house that’s the pride of two generations has been given a new lease on life. Tastefully renovated, it transformed into a modern brick home that took the beauty of brick masonry to a whole new level.

brick house in pattaya

The heritage building has served as a big family’s rendezvous in Pattaya, a seaside town just two hours’ drive from Bangkok. Those times are gone now. The extended family home is now in the hands of the second generation with a smaller household. That’s reason enough to restore it as a new place of abode ideally suited to a modern lifestyle.

“First, I started out with a building inspection looking to identify parts that needed repairs and whatnot,” said architect Kasin Sornsri.

“I talked with both generations of the family, and I could feel the love they had for this house. So, I decided to go for a renovation instead of a teardown to make room for a new building.”

brick house in pattaya

brick house in pattaya

In the process, the old roof that fell into disrepair was replaced by a moderate-pitch roof with shingles. Beautiful shed roof design was chosen for its ability to provide tall ceilings, which directly benefited the interior living spaces on the upper floor.

Like the architect intended, the new feature added attractive curb appeal to the home and its lively green surroundings when viewed from the street.

brick house in pattaya

bhp05

bhp11

On the first floor, an open-concept dining room is capable of entertaining up to 20 houseguests. The architect has kept the iconic archway design and brick walls on the front façade pretty much intact.

In the meantime, appropriate adaptations are made to best suit the way of living of the second generation family, while the first generation family enjoys plenty of room for privacy complete with a dining space and kitchen.

bhp08

bhp09

Over all, the interior design presents the character and atmosphere resembling that of an antique store. Pieces of vintage furniture and stained glass decorations give off friendly vibes conjuring up the image of a family way of life back in the day.

To make it more inviting, custom mosaic tiles paired with window grills in complementing shades echo the beauty of a fusion of Eastern and Western design. Well put together, they breathe new life into the old brick house that has been home to a big family for two generations.

Built to last, and further improved through renovation, this brick house in Pattaya now stands ready for the future.

bhp15

bhp04

brick house in pattaya

brick house in pattaya

bhp17


Architect: Kasin Sornsri of Volume Matrix Studio (www.facebook.com/volumematrixstudio)


You may also like…

From An Old Home to A Stunning House on StiltsA Minimalist Home in Bangkok Oozing with Charm

Taking a Look inside an Artist’s Studio Home in Chiang Mai

Taking a Look inside an Artist’s Studio Home in Chiang Mai

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /

/ Story: Warapsorn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs:  Sungwan Phratep /

An artist’s house is never just a place to live. It’s a collection of creative spaces. Let us now turn to the studio home of Chamnian Thongma, one of the country’s most famous artists and sculptors. Many prefer to call him just “Thongma.” The artist is widely known for having produced many life-size figurative sculptures. His works are soft and sweet with a little bit of rawness to them, the likes of which aplenty right here at this chic studio home.

Chamnian Thongma Studio Home
His art studio is constructed based on a simple design. The exterior walls are crafted of exposed brickwork. The most charming feature is the door shutter that has a classic antique feel to it.

Not affected by the passage of time, the studio home boasts the simplicity of exposed brickwork on the exteriors. Among other things, the most attractive feature is the door shutter with a classic antique feel.

The place is nestled at the heart of an old housing development just off of a major thoroughfare in Chiang Mai. Thongma came across it while working on a decorating project at the home of a friend of his, which happened to be right next door.

Chamnian Thongma Studio Home
The living space inside the studio is wide open. The interior is calm with a beautiful set of table and chairs. Some of Thongma’s sculptures are on display here.
A human head bust on display inside the studio home has a raw, rugged look to it.
A human head bust on display inside the studio home has a raw, rugged look to it.

When he first bought the place, the one-Rai (1,600 sq.m) land was teeming with long tall grasses. After all the clutter was hacked out, it was a beauty just like it had been when the project was completed many years back. It took him just four months to build this new home from start to finish.

Chamnian Thongma Studio Home
The artist’s residence is a simple one-story home. For the most part the structure is built of reclaimed wood and steel framing.

Thongma started out with simple design with the work studio occupying the front section facing the highway. The residential wing is at the rear looking out over a small stream where the soothing sounds of water flowing in the background can be heard night and day.

The home plan consists of three one-story buildings looking very much alike but serving entirely different functions. They all have simple gable roofs.

Chamnian Thongma Studio Home
The studio exterior wall has a large steel window casing glazed using clear glass. Multiple window panes open to promote natural ventilation.

The studio’s main entryway sports a different kind of appeal with the door shutters showcasing classic antique design. Next to it stands the residential section, which consists two white buildings.

The fasciae covering the ends of roof rafters are made of reclaimed wood boards. Together they add a country rustic charm to the home. The two residential buildings connect to each other via an unpaved courtyard at the center of an L-shaped floor plan.

The living room in one of the residential buildings boasts the simplicity of sloped ceilings crafted of reclaimed timber. Along the wall, potted Cordyline plants thrive beside other interior décor, also in bold shades of red.
The living room in one of the residential buildings boasts the simplicity of sloped ceilings crafted of reclaimed timber. Along the wall, potted Cordyline plants thrive beside other interior décor, also in bold shades of red.

The first residential building houses Thongma’s bedroom, while the second is reserved for guest accommodations. Both of them possess a full array of wall openings to let natural light shine through in all directions.

They double as engine that drives natural ventilation keeping the interior living spaces cool and comfortable all day. Plus, they reduce the harsh appearance and irregular surfaces of the exterior walls.

Chamnian Thongma Studio Home
For an open and airy interior, the living room is not divided into smaller rooms. Décor materials are mostly of European origins. They are placed at random by design.

The house interior is bedecked with décor items from Thongma’s collections. They consist of old furniture from France arranged and utilized in ways that embrace the natural appeal of a European country home.

The L-shaped house plan keeps the bedroom separate from the sitting room without using any kind of solid room divider. The bed itself is an antique item combining intricate woodwork with woven rattan crafts.
The L-shaped house plan keeps the bedroom separate from the sitting room without using any kind of solid room divider. The bed itself is an antique item combining intricate woodwork with woven rattan crafts.

On open-concept interior design, Thongma humbly said he felt more content with a simple way of living. “It’s good enough as a shelter protecting him from the elements. It’s warm, inviting and enjoyable here, thanks to plenty of chic décor ideas.”

The unpaved center court covered in pea gravel provides easy access to all parts of the property. Houseplants, including cactus, thrive on the edge next to the exterior walls.
The unpaved center court covered in pea gravel provides easy access to all parts of the property. Houseplants, including cactus, thrive on the edge next to the exterior walls.

It came as no surprise that Thongma preferred spending time in the open air to being indoors. The natural beauty of the environment was just irresistible. It has all the features to take him straight to nature – the stream, the mellifluous sounds of leaves rustling in the trees, and the lacy canopy of fully grown trees.

[Left] The guest bedroom boasts the beauty of antique French furniture. / [Right] A sundeck with rattan furniture is designed for relaxation at the water’s edge. It is set on a pea gravel patio with retaining walls crafted of brickwork.
[Left] The guest bedroom boasts the beauty of antique French furniture. / [Right] A sundeck with rattan furniture is designed for relaxation at the water’s edge. It is set on a pea gravel patio with retaining walls crafted of brickwork.
The building set aside for guest accommodation has a huge window that lets natural light shine into the interior. It’s made of steel and glass panes. Thongma’s very own residential unit can be seen in full view from here.
The building set aside for guest accommodation has a huge window that lets natural light shine into the interior. It’s made of steel and glass panes. Thongma’s very own residential unit can be seen in full view from here.

Thongma wrapped it up nicely. “Nature and our lives are inextricably linked. It is cool to be able to live in a nature-inspired environment in order to create works of art.”

And that’s exactly what he’s been doing from the start. The studio home best describes who he is and what he is about.

Chamnian Thongma Studio Home


Owner/Designer: Chamnian Thongma


Visit the original Thai version…

บ้านทรงสี่เหลี่ยมหลังคาจั่ว จุดเริ่มต้นของความพอดี


You may also like…

chiang mai vacation homeThe Ironwood: A Chiang Mai Vacation Home Out in NatureFarmhouseA Dreamlike Little Farmhouse Amid Lush Green Fields

S11 House: An Impressive Energy Efficient Home in KL

S11 House: An Impressive Energy Efficient Home in KL

/ Kuala Lumper, Malaysia /

/ Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamrit / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul /

Don’t judge a book by its cover. This modern Tropical home in Kuala Lumpur is more than meets the eye. Precisely, all passive design strategies imaginable are integrated in the house plan, clever hacks to save big time on utility costs. The house is nestled among the trees on a piece of land where an old family home had stood for 60 years. It’s gone now, demolished to make room for a new residence.

Kuala Lumpur
The lacy shades of overhanging trees improve air quality and keep the house cool during the daytime.

Some things are better left unchanged. The relaxed ambience of the land is maintained, thanks to the homeowner and the architect together sparing no effort to preserve all matured trees on the property.

To ensure nothing goes to waste, Tan Loke Mun of ArchiCenter, an architectural practice based in Selangor, managed to incorporate building materials from the old house in the project codenamed, “S11 House” in Kuala Lumpur. Its environmental conscious design has earned the house a platinum award from the Green Building Index (GBI), Malaysia’s industry recognized rating tool for building sustainability.

Kuala Lumpur
The design makes use of stronger frames and larger concrete beams to avoid having too many columns in the interior living space.
Kuala Lumpur
The ground floor boasts high standards of comfort – a light and airy interior living space. The absence of solid room dividers creates visual and spatial continuity between indoor and outdoor rooms.
Kuala Lumpur
A living room looks spacious and bright thanks to the 3-meter-high ceiling. Brick walls in subdued shades of orange paired with gray naked concrete make the home feel warm and welcoming.

There is attention to detail every step of the way. Among other things, pieces of concrete from the old house were recycled and adapted for a new use as walkway pavers along the exterior walls. Old bricks were also given a new lease on life, while steel window grids were reused for their strength and durability. At the same time, recycled timber also found a new purpose as scaffolding during construction due to limitations on steel rods.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur
Naked concrete finishes add natural touches to the interior, while passive cooling systems and intelligent use of materials go to work reducing energy consumption.

Built along the north-south axis, the house stands to allow fresh outdoor air to enter on one side and exit on the other. Hence, large windows and other wall openings are installed to create cross ventilation that reduces heat buildup in the interior. In the meantime, west-facing exterior walls are made of lightweight anti-heat-absorbing materials. All of this translates into big savings in utility costs and improvements in the efficiency of air conditioning systems.

What’s more. In the backyard garden, lush vines and other trailing woody-stemmed plants thrive on trellises. They work in tandem with five full-grown trees to provide buffers against the sun on hot summer days.

To create thermal comfort in the interior, extra thick insulation is applied under metal sheet roofing. Where appropriate, the windows are glazed using low-emissivity glass to protect from the sun’s harsh glare.

Kuala Lumpur
The first floor bedroom features simple design. The entire space is well-ventilated thanks to a high ceiling and large openings in the exterior wall.
Kuala Lumpur
Natural light illuminates the bathroom, creating beautiful visual effects and reducing electricity use.

To keep the heat out and the interior cool, the three-story home (including a basement) has an air duct system that lets hot air dissipate through rooftop vents. With this ingenious design, no air-conditioning machine is needed.

Kuala Lumpur
The second floor boasts a large living space with double height ceilings and transparent glass walls.

For the most part, building materials are used in their true forms. Painting and coating are minimized if ever needed. Otherwise, naked concrete, bare brick walls and timber in its neutral wood tones prevail. Where a layer of paint is needed, the designer chooses Low VOC paints (low volatile organic compounds) to minimize impacts on the environment.

In a nutshell, it’s a design that speaks volumes for architecture of the future – an environmentally conscious place of abode thoughtfully devised to perform in perfect harmony with nature.

The home’s double-swing gate is crafted of steel rods in a lighter shade of gray. Welded wire patterns ensure good visibility and uninterrupted air flow.

Architect: ArchiCentre by Tan Loke Mun


You may also like…

Turning a Cold 20-Year-Old House into a Bright and Airy Tropical Home

From an Old Home to a Stunning House on Stilts

3×9 House: A Compact Row House Renovation in Vietnam

3×9 House: A Compact Row House Renovation in Vietnam

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamrith / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

A lot of work and research was invested in this row house renovation project. The big question is: how to make the compact house look wider?

Home renovation: The project is accomplished without any concrete construction. The new second floor rests on cylindrical steel posts instead of big cement pillars.
Home renovation: The project is accomplished without any concrete construction. The new second floor rests on cylindrical steel posts instead of big cement pillars.

Like most urban residential buildings in Vietnam, “3×9 House” was formerly a shophouse built a long time ago. Only recently it was restored to a good state of repair. Looking back over the years, the old place lacking fresh air and ventilation had only a few windows and lots of solid brick walls, which made the building look dim.

A bold move was needed to rejuvenate it. The result is a modern living space that looks and feels fresher, younger and more lively, plus it helps to lift up the mood of the residents.

Renovated Row House vietnam
The 3-by-9-meter house has become a point of interest by integrating natural features in the design.

As land prices in Vietnam continued to rise rapidly and steeply every year, buying a new house seemed like a formidable task. So the owner thought it wise to invest in renovating his existing home.

He reached out to A21 Studio for their good reputations in the building industry, especially when it came to turning small, stuffy old houses into nice, uncluttered and environment-friendly homes.

Renovated Row House vietnam

Renovated Row House vietnam
Clay tiles are placed inversely on the entire interior walls to create a stripe pattern and unique touch.

Walk in the door, and the first thing that catches our eyes is a tree growing up through an opening in the footbridge set against the wall. It’s a sign of welcome warmly greeting visitors coming into the entryway. The overall effect is bright and airy, thanks in part to a rooftop skylight illuminating the interior living spaces and letting sunlight shine on the tree.

For indoor thermal comfort, openings in the walls let breezy wind enter through the front door and circulate inside the home. As a result of this, the entire interior feels fresh and full of life all the way to the rear section, the second floor and the room under translucent sliding panels on the rooftop.

Flanked by three-story row houses on both sides, “3×9 House” is exposed to direct sunlight only in the middle of the day. For the rest of the time, the home is full of nice cool shade, making it feel very comfortable, warm and cozy, so there’s no need for air-conditioning.

Renovated Row House vietnam
The steel framework supporting the roof is equipped with a sliding skylight. This effectively illuminates interior spaces and allows the tree to keep on thriving.
Renovated Row House vietnam
For the health benefits of a well-lit home, the bedroom space connects to the footbridge with an opening for a tree to thrive under the rooftop skylight.
Renovated Row House vietnam
Loft style ideas paired with earth-tone color make the simple bedroom feel open, airy and uncluttered, thanks in part to the absence of solid room dividers.
A modern kitchen setup gets rid of smoke and smell fast, as a result of a range hood blower and openings in the rooftop.
A modern kitchen setup gets rid of smoke and smell fast, as a result of a range hood blower and openings in the rooftop.

For a bigger, more open vibe in the interior, solid room dividers are avoided, with the exception of the bathroom. The ground floor consists of a living room, dining area and kitchen; all connected.

The bedroom and leisure areas are upstairs. Since the homeowner lives alone, solid room dividers are of no use. In a nutshell, it’s about integrating natural features, openings in the walls and a good ventilation system in the overall design. That’s what makes it a good place to live.

Renovated Row House vietnam

A colorful mix of tiles are reminiscent of vernacular architecture.
A colorful mix of tiles are reminiscent of vernacular architecture.

Architect: A21 Studio (www.a21studio.com.vn)


You may also like…

Nha Be House: A Brick Home Infused with Memories of the Good Old Days

Termitary House: Good Sunshine, Fresh Air, and Brick Walls

A Designer Couple’s Eco-friendly Dream Home in Vietnam

A Designer Couple’s Eco-friendly Dream Home in Vietnam

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

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

/ Photographs: Nantiya Busabong, Damrong Leewairoj /

A designer couple’s dream house stands amidst the idyllic farmlands of Vietnam countryside. Interior designer My An Pham Thi and her husband Michael Charrualt, who is also a 3D graphic designer, built their new home office using natural materials and creative building techniques. Basically, it’s a design that embraces the green building concept aimed at minimizing negative impacts on the environment. By mixing locally sourced materials with imagination and modern methods of construction, they were able to create an eclectic living space with a look that’s uniquely their own.

dream home
The designer couple’s home is built using a mix of real wood, concrete masonry, brickwork and palm-leaf roofing. The vertical pattern of bricklaying makes the fence wall look taller than it really is.

It’s a design choice that came at the right time as sustainable building was catching on in different parts of the country. Green construction provides many benefits, among them reduced waste, reduced cost and better air quality, and the list goes on.

This designer couple’s home out in the country conveys a great deal about that line of thought and the need to go green. They mixed local materials with imagination to create an environment-friendly home that’s cozy and warm without burning a hole in the pocket.

A large table with Windsor chairs and a vintage Chinoiserie daybed adorn the spacious, semi-outdoor dining room. Overhead, cement surfaces in the ceiling are brushed smooth for ease of maintenance and precautions against humidity damage.
A large table with Windsor chairs and a vintage Chinoiserie daybed adorn the spacious, semi-outdoor dining room. Overhead, cement surfaces in the ceiling are brushed smooth for ease of maintenance and precautions against humidity damage.

5

6

Connecting with nature. A part of the house is left unroofed to bring the big blue sky and the sound of leaves rustling in the trees into the room.
Connecting with nature. A part of the house is left unroofed to bring the big blue sky and the sound of leaves rustling in the trees into the room.

The fence wall in front of the house boasts the simplicity of raw concrete finishes with beautiful bamboo detailing. There are two gates made of wood in dark reddish browns that blend with the rural environment, at the same time, protecting the home from the outside.

As a feature that’s a source of pride, the house’s external envelope is crafted of bare brickwork that adds visual interest to the overall design. Where appropriate, perforate brick walls are installed to allow fresh air and natural light into the home, making the interior feel nice and dry.

All of this is achieved by using simple materials readily available in the locality, such as wood, cement, bricks and palm-leaf roofing. Together they give the house in the fields a beautiful indigenous flair.

dream home
Benefits of a perforate shell: Bricks are laid with openings in between for increased light and better ventilation in the interior.
dream home
The absence of solid room dividers makes the interior feel light, airy and spacious. The same applies to the bookshelf without a back panel that’s easy to use and easy to keep clean.

In essence, it’s the love of the outdoors that inspires My An Pham Thi and Michael Charrualt to build their home out in Vietnam countryside. It boils down to the healthy lifestyle they cherish in their heart, a yearning desire to seek reconnections with nature. And this rustic country house in the fields is made for that.

Take a look inside. The ground floor boasts a specious living room with Chinoiserie furniture that connects to the dining room with a large table and Windsor chairs. It has the view of a side yard garden.

Tall windows under vaulted ceilings fill the third-floor master bedroom with natural light.
Tall windows under vaulted ceilings fill the third-floor master bedroom with natural light.

The second floor works as a home office with a snug bedroom tucked away in a quiet, more secluded area.

The master bedroom lies on the third floor that’s characterized by simplicity and a handful of essential elements unique to Minimalist style.

dream home
A small patch of greenery adds life and refreshing change to the relaxed bathroom ambience.

Here, time goes by so slowly, and the designer couple isn’t in a hurry to go anywhere. Their dream home is, in fact, a live-in experiment, in which different materials and various building strategies are being evaluated to determine how they perform in real life.

Should any issue arise, it will be dealt with one by one to arrive at the best solution. But one thing for sure, it’s a home with love and care.

dream home
Multicolor floor tiles and an area rug in complementary shades adorn the spacious living room made comfortable by a white upholstered sofa.

Owner/Architect: My An Pham Thi and Michael Charruault of MM++ Architects (www.mmarchitects.net)


You may also like…

Kampong House: the Allure of Indonesia’s Urban Village Life

A Beautifully Designed Brick House in Ampang Jaya, Malaysia

Sekeping Tenggiri: A Concrete House and Nature Blend Together Beautifully

Sekeping Tenggiri: A Concrete House and Nature Blend Together Beautifully

/ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia /

/ Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamrith / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

There are ways to bring the outdoors in and enjoy the benefits of nature without ever leaving your home. Likewise, a concrete house in Malaysia named Sekeping Tenggiri has embarked on the journey to establish a sanctuary for the mind.

Sekeping Tenggiri
The building has been lovingly restored using steel structures. Leveraging steel technologies offers a fast and convenient alternative in construction.

Located in Jalan Tenggiri, a district of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, the house graces a modest plot of land. Nonetheless, the homeowner adeptly integrates a plethora of natural features into the design for a look that blends seamlessly with the environment.

Plants and natural light work harmoniously to soften the stark surfaces of building materials, creating a warm and well-lit ambiance.

The house belongs to Ng Sek San, who is the founder of Seksan Design, a landscaping and architecture firm in Kuala Lumpur. He told us that the house was a renovation of two adjacent homes skillfully transformed with a clean sweep.

Ng is also an art collector, which is evident in one side of the house dedicated to an enviable art collection that’s open to the public with no admission charge.

Sekeping Tenggiri
For visual continuity, the architect makes use of the same building materials on both the exteriors and interiors.

The two-story home boasts a comprehensive range of functional spaces, including an ample sitting room, dining room and kitchen, complemented by a refreshing swimming pool and seven bedrooms.

An experienced landscape architect, Ng started out with a modest garden while working on this house. Over time, he progressed to larger projects, smoothly integrating exterior and interior spaces so that they become a whole. To him, a garden is a room, and his exterior design spaces resemble extensions of the interiors.

Sekeping Tenggiri
The ground floor showcases a dining room seamlessly connecting to the swimming pool and the garden at the far end. The canopy of tall trees ensures a constant flow of cool breezes throughout the day.
Sekeping Tenggiri
Both the floorboards and concrete roofs maintain a thickness of 10 centimeters in general. Where appropriate, they are reduced to 7 centimeters. Meanwhile, strategic gaps ranging from 5 to 10 centimeters exist between the ceiling and the top edge of the wall to facilitate effective ventilation.

An exemplary illustration of Modern Tropical style, Sekeping Tenggiri is designed to mitigate heat and prevent moisture-related issues. Long overhangs and awnings provide protection against scorching sunlight, while exposed roof sections and plain floors contribute to a clean and simple aesthetic.

Materials such as concrete masonry, bricks, wood, and steel were utilized, with the main structure being steel-reinforced concrete. The thoughtful incorporation of nature into the living space is evident in details like raising the floorboards 40 centimeters from the concrete floors, promoting air circulation that naturally cools the upstairs bedrooms.

Opaque walls are replaced by glass louvre windows that usher in light, creating airy interiors. Transparent materials in parts of the roof facilitate ample sunlight, particularly over the swimming pool.

Sekeping Tenggiri
The master bedroom on the second floor exudes simplicity and raw elegance. Exposed brick walls, unrefined concrete floors, and expansive windows spanning from one corner to the other seamlessly integrate with the natural surroundings, ensuring visual continuity.
Sekeping Tenggiri
Who says the space underneath the window must be an opaque wall? That’s not the case here. Louvre windows are utilized to improve air circulation.
Sekeping Tenggiri
A raised floorboard accommodates new plumbing in the bathroom. The dry section showcases a diverse range of materials, while the wet section opts for easy-care products like tiles—a smart choice for practicality.

As has been demonstrated, Sekeping Tenggiri features numerous passageways that facilitate air movement. They include the spaces between wooden floorboards and along the corridors, plus openings in exterior walls. These design elements not only enhance ventilation, but also contribute to the house’s uncluttered and incredibly relaxed appearance.

Sekeping Tenggiri
[Left] Skylights above the bathroom foster the flourishing of indoor plants. / [Right] The integration of the house with the surrounding vegetation creates a harmonious blend. Undoubtedly, the use of natural building materials contributes to comfortable living conditions.

Architect: Ng Sek San of Seksan Design Landscape Architecture and Planning


You may also like…

The Clever Home Office Restoration of Studio Bikin

Kampong House: the Allure of Indonesia’s Urban Village Life

Wonderful Terraced House Renovation in Singapore

Wonderful Terraced House Renovation in Singapore

/ Singapore /

/ Story: Warapsorn Akkhaneeyut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Terraced houses are ubiquitous throughout Singapore, many of which are well preserved to showcase the country’s rich architectural heritage and history of British Colonial rule. Many of them have changed to better serve commercial and residential needs of the modern world. This handsome terraced house is no exception.

Terraced House
Part of the top floor becomes a small sky garden.

This terraced house belongs to Alan Barr and Phaswan Promphat, both of whom interior designers.

Alan has had experience living in big cities, such as New York, before the job sent him across the globe to settle in Singapore nine years ago. He didn’t arrive empty-handed, but with furniture and other prized possessions.

Over time Alan transformed the old townhouse into a trendy residential unit, incorporating a touch of New York in the prevailing climatic conditions of Singapore.

Terraced House
The spaces between Colonial-style arch windows are filled with bookshelves that stand tall from floor to ceiling.
8
Part of the living room is remodeled into a workplace. The table is custom-made from discarded materials.

The home has a narrow front façade, but the narrow width is compensated by depth, a design feature typical of Sino-Portuguese architecture.

The front part has since been remade to accommodate lattice awnings from floor to ceilings. They serve as privacy curtains while shielding the interior from direct sunlight without limiting air circulation.

From the outside in, it looks like any two-story home. Step in, and you will find it is actually a three-story design.

The ground floor now serves as a carport and storage facility. A set of stairs takes us to the second floor, which is the living room and kitchen with a spacious dining area.

The home office is here, too. From the living room, there is another set of stairs leading to the bedroom on the third floor.

2
An armchair and a round coffee table adorn the relaxed living room in chocolate and cream tones.
4
Antique-inspired décor items line the hallway leading to a relaxed living space in the rear of the building.
6
A room with a corner sofa and a large coffee table has enough space to entertain a circle of friends. The backsplash is covered in ceramic tiles made to look like bricks.
5
[left] The living room floor is covered in a patchwork of carpets crafted of donkey hide that is soft to the touch. [right] A niche under the staircase has enough room for a mini-bar.

Alan said, “This home used to be a design studio. The interior was just about right. It looked like a home, but it was not.

“At the time, it was an office and it had no kitchen. So when we got it, we had to put in one. I like the layout of this home very much. I divide it into two simple zones – general, and privacy.

“The top floor is served by two separate sets of stairs. The attic has since become an office. Space is divided to store decorative works on one side and use as a workstation on the other.”

9
Set in gray and black tones, the kitchen comes fully equipped with stainless steel fixtures. Dark colored backsplash adds a nostalgic vibe to the atmosphere.
11
The stairway leads to the snug bedroom on one side of the upper floor.
12
The staff’s office is located on the opposite side of the upper floor to ensure the residential area is not disturbed.

“The second-floor dining room serves multiple purposes, from eating and entertaining customers, to meetings and project presentations,” he continued.

“Personally, I don’t like an office hemmed in by glass walls supported by steel or other metal frames. Offices in much of Singapore are like that.

“I want a different kind of workplace, in which to impress the customers with different experiences. Most of them like it here, whether it is furniture or decorative items that we have on hand.”

10
The conference table and chairs are placed closer to the wall, lined with storage shelves.

As a whole, the interior spaces are neatly designed and well-appointed.

Décor items from various places are placed in perfect harmony with one another. As he puts it, good furnishings don’t always have to be expensive if you know how.

Alan has given this old terraced house a chic modern makeover with a hint of interest and personality.

3

 


Owner/Interior Designer: Alan Barr and Phaswan Promphat (www.grey-matters.com)


You may also like…

Desa House: The Renovated Artist House in Kuala Lumpur

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

Co-Housing: Harmony Between Two Different Lifestyles

Co-Housing: Harmony Between Two Different Lifestyles

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul, Thamawit Wangkijsoonthorn, Bussakorn Kuankit /

“It’s a co-housing arrangement. Mine is more of a dynamic, full-of-life home. The house next door is my brother’s. It appears to be more private in the midst of a tranquil setting.

2
Between the different spaces, natural radiance is all in the eclectic details. Despite its modern edge, the open seating area rekindles a fresh interest in terrace design of a Thai style home.

The homeowner, Suthiphong Pongpawasuit said I was kind of speechless for a bit when I heard him express his feelings about the co-housing house. It could be that I was expecting the most beautiful replies like always. No offense intended. It was the most honest and unpretentious of feelings.

“I could feel a warm and friendly atmosphere, and appreciate the meaning of “home” as he defined it. I have come to one that reflected the true personality of its owners.” The two houses are surrounded by pleasant grounds made the two brothers happy in their own way.

The two buildings brought out differences in their lifestyles and their preferences.

3
An array of overhead windows let a healthy dose of morning sunshine into the cozy seating area. Wrought iron detailing in the multiple-paned windows creates an interesting light and textural display on the surfaces below.

The first building

The first building belongs to Suthiphong. It is concrete chic based on a straightforward design. The walls are fabricated of unornamented concrete finishes and an interesting mix of textures and materials. Floating systems of electrical conduits conjure up images of an urban industrial loft apartment.

The interior features gorgeous living spaces. During the day, natural light shines through large overhead windows with wrought iron detailing, creating an amazing shadow play. There is a sense of visual continuity that connects seamlessly with the exterior as soon as the large door slides open.

On the outside, peaceful lush landscaping under a tree canopy can be seen in full view. On the inside, different furniture styles add a hint of interest in a subtle way.

1
Awesome overhead opening lets natural light into the relaxed living room and nearby stairway. Well thought-out design makes the area playful and inviting.
14
The layout epitomizes a relationship of mutual benefit between the two brothers. What goes on in one house can be seen from the other.

Obviously, the co-housing house is designed for the local climate. Oftentimes we complain of too much sun, winds, and rain. But since we call this country home, why not make the most of the extreme weather conditions?

They are the natural appeal of this Region. That is why we see all natural elements being incorporated into the design scheme. Here, the sun, the winds, and rain are all taken into account in framing the house within a beautiful botanical border. That makes living in a co-housing house a life fulfilling experience.

4
The working area and nearby kitchen are neatly incorporated into the total living space. The interlinking design takes into consideration personal preferences and lifestyle.

5

6

15
The bedroom, which is supposed to be private and personal, is not exactly cut off from other living spaces. The awesome opening allows the guest area below to be seen in full view from the bedroom.

The second building

The second building belongs to Suthiphong’s brother, Kittiwat Pongpawasuit. Unlike the first house, it comes in a mix of white, cream, and gray tones, which together give it to a strikingly handsome appearance.

The design is light and airy and emphasizes a warm and peaceful atmosphere. Brick walls are painted white to minimize any alteration of natural light and color reflecting on the surfaces. The home, especially its living spaces, is all about enhancing a seamless indoor-outdoor relationship.

Crisp, clean landscaping can be seen all the way to the swimming pool, thanks to large single-paned glass doors that slide open and neatly disappear into the walls. The living room gets nice cool breezes from the swimming pool and is set facing north to avoid the harshest of the afternoon sun.

8
Exterior walls on the north side are open to natural light all day. Downstairs the seating space is made comfortable by nice cool breezes blowing in over the swimming pool.
9
The swimming pool is literally a few steps from seating areas on the terrace. There is an unobstructed, gradual descent from the veranda to the garden.
10
The easy-to-maintain kitchen design features a countertop crafted of unadorned concrete finishes. A red brick wall subtly separates it from the adjacent guest area.
13
The bathroom is inspired by industrial loft design. Details are reduced to just clean, straight lines within the modest style.

Design relationship

The two designs may contrast in personality, but architect Kraipol Jayanetra of Alkhemist Architects found a relationship between them by opting for like materials, textures, and mutual décor ideas.

By this was meant the use of naked, unornamented concrete finishes, industrial-style electrical conduits, wood furniture, and a plenty of accent pieces.

11
The guest area of one of the houses lies fully open to bring in the outdoor atmosphere.

12

“I started out with something small but interesting, and worked my way up until I arrived at a complete unit,” said Kraipol.

That being said, every part of the co-housing buildings, be it vertical or horizontal spaces performs the functions it is intended. Overall, a great mix of patterns and textures makes the two houses appear in perfect harmony with each other. The difference is in the details.

16
[left] Playing with patterns light switches are installed in a way that they playfully mimic the appearance of a naked brick wall.                         [right] Shadow play wrought iron detailing create beautiful works of art at no cost by casting light and shadow patterns on the interior spaces.

This has been a story of two youthful homes in a co-housing house that coexist to complement each other. One is overflowing with life. The other is tranquil and handsome in its own way. They enhance and improve each other’s curb appeal, and set the stage for a simple fulfilling lifestyle.

17
To protect against the intense heat of the sun particularly in Thailand, perhaps it is wise to opt for double-layer roof design. It keeps homes cool by reducing the amount of radiation from reaching the interior living spaces. The vents between each layer allow increased air circulation and keep the heat out.
18
There are so many ways to texture your walls and ceilings. If smooth, fine-grained designs are not your style, you might want to go for coarse-textured, more natural looking surfaces. One alternative is the naked, unornamented concrete that rough to the touch. The design is playful and full of life. Any rough surface, whether concrete or brick. 

 


Architect: Alkhemist Architects


 

X