Blog : Compact House

Maison T: A Tiny Home Perfectly in Tune with a Vibrant City Ambience

Maison T: A Tiny Home Perfectly in Tune with a Vibrant City Ambience

/ Hanoi, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kanamon Najaroen / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Tuan Nghia Nguyen /

Like a journey through time, a narrow side street in Hanoi is bustled with people talking and going about their business. The sounds of passing vehicles can be heard rising to a deafening crescendo, among others. Together they are the qualities distinctive to the character of this city neighborhood. Amid excited activity and movement stands a tiny house named Maison T. It’s a humble abode that’s home to a young couple who just returned to their birthplace from an extended stay overseas. It’s small, yet it provides a sense of belonging and a place to relax and unwind after a long day at work.

Maison T small house Vietnam

What a pleasant surprise! The little house on a crowded street is enjoyable, quiet and free from interruption. It’s thoughtfully devised to reach out and connect with others in the community.

Small space? Not a problem! The friendly and happy homeowners show care and concern for their next door neighbors. Even their pet dog is well-liked and gets along just fine with others, thanks in part to a small well-lighted front yard made for warm greetings and bringing joy to the family.

Maison T small house Vietnam
The front yard with a tree and verdant climbing vines adds a relaxing atmosphere to the nice little house in the big city

Needless to say the overall effect is impressive. The design team at Nghia-Architect has succeeded in transforming a house that felt stuffy sandwiched between taller buildings into a light and airy living space.

As the architects put it, being located in a prime urban neighborhood, every square inch counts and every square inch amounts to an ounze of gold, to put it mildly. Hence, it’s a good idea to make the most of it and, with innovative design, turn it into a refreshing haven.

In response to a difficult situation, they put in a front yard with climbing vines on both sides the wall. Upfront, a perforate brick fence wall separates the home from the street below. Notwithstanding the limited space, the area of ground surrounded by tall buildings becomes their pride and joy, thanks to the newly added lush greenery.

The brick fence wall in dark vintage brown looks like a house facade from a distance. It serves multiple purposes. Holes in the perforate shell allow air to pass through, provide a warm and inviting atmosphere and, at the same time, protect the privacy of the family living within.

A charcoal drawing on white gives a vivid representation of the tiny home in relation to other houses in the community. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect


A drawing illustrates a linear impression of depth and cross flow ventilation allowing fresh outdoor air to enter through the front of the home and out at the back. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
A space utilization diagram of the ground floor shows the living room with a double height ceiling upfront. Further in lies a kitchen and bathroom at the rear that opens to a side yard. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
A space utilization diagram of the mezzanine holding a bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
In cross section, a side-elevation drawing illustrates space utilization on both levels of the house plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect

Walk in the door, and you find two levels of usable space; the ground floor with a double height ceiling, and a mezzanine holding the bedroom. Each level measures just 40 square meters.

Maison T small house Vietnam

As the design team intended, the tiny house perfectly balances space and maneuverability. Thanks to open-concept design, all the rooms and service areas are easily accessed.

There are no solid dividers separating the interior into different rooms, a clever hack to get rid of stale air in stuffy rooms. Plus, the double height ceiling makes the interior feel easy on the eyes, and it gives a sense of space.

A stepladder rising up to a small mezzanine on the front facade adds some fun to home decor.

Downstairs, the living room under a high ceiling is separated from the kitchen by an L-shaped concrete countertop at waist height. The kitchen space serves a dual purpose; as food preparation area, and as washing and laundry room.

The counter itself is slanted slightly inward to create extra space along the wall for a side yard illuminated by rooftop skylights. This in turn makes the home feel bright without the help of light shining in through the front facade, a nice strategy to banish stale air in stuffy rooms.

Maison T small house Vietnam
An L-shaped countertop with a distinct curvature in the middle separates the living room from the kitchen.
The ground-floor bathroom has a view of the side yard illuminated by a skylight.

Maison T small house Vietnam

To the left side, a set of stairs made of steel provides access to the mezzanine holding the bedroom under a high pitched gable roof. There are no solid dividers separating the interior into different rooms. Instead, to control the amount of light shining in, the bedroom is hung with a privacy curtain suspended from a curved railing system.

The architects chose brickwork and naked concrete finishes for the walls for an appearance that’s easy to care for and pleasant to look at.

Maison T small house Vietnam
There are no solid walls separating the interior into different rooms. Rather, the bedroom on the mezzanine is hung with a curtain to control the amount of light shining in through a rooftop skylight.
No home is too small to incorporate a natural feature in the design. Here, a cavity in the concrete slab roof provides space for a skylight illuminating the interior.
Maison T small house Vietnam
The second-floor bathroom has a treetop view of the side yard that acts as a flow acceleration channel designed to improve ventilation.
A cavity between soft and hard walls provides space for a side yard illuminated by rooftop skylights.

In a tourist destination full of people doing things and moving about like Hanoi, using every available space effectively is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life. Amid all the excitement, noises and traffic passing by, a tiny house named Maison T rises above the challenges.

For the young couple who lives here, it is warm, cozy and comfortable. Although small, it is a calm and peaceful place to rest the eye, relax and escape from the fast pace of city life. Plus, it is good to add greenery to the neighborhood.

Maison T small house Vietnam

Architect: Nghia-Architect

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Dien Khanh House: Where Modern Lifestyle and the Rural Way Intermix

Dien Khanh House: Where Modern Lifestyle and the Rural Way Intermix

/ Khanh Hoa, Vietnam /

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

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

A small white house overlooking river views merges into the countryside vernacular of Dien Khanh, a district of Khanh Hoa Province on the southeast coast of Vietnam. Built on an elongated rectangle, it has a narrow frontage to the street like other houses in the neighborhood. Yet, it’s different from the others for its ultramodern appearance. It all started with the architect trying to create a home that’s up to date and, at the same time, capable of blending into the surroundings. Ideally, it should agree with the historical and cultural setting of the place. And it has to be comfortable to live in.

Dien Khanh House

The result is a two-story home with public spaces in the downstairs layout. The front of the house plan holds the sitting room and dining room. High ceilings make the overall interior space feel light, airy and cool.

Dien Khanh House
Small green spaces on both sides of the front yard pathway add a natural touch to the main entry area.
Dien Khanh House
The living room is light, airy and cool thanks to a double-height ceiling that brings an element surprise to the interior. It’s strikingly different from the entry area where the ceiling is lower.
Dien Khanh House
A triangular rooftop skylight adds an element of playfulness to design. It illuminates a part of the interior during daylight hours.

Half way into the house plan, a spiral staircase that’s the focal point of design winds up to the second floor. Further inside, a more personal room contains small kitchen space that’s clearly separated from the bedroom for aging Mom and Dad located at the rear.

Climb a flight of stairs, and you come to two more bedrooms with an ancestral hall at the far end.

Dien Khanh House
The spiral staircase acts as a focal point for creativity in interior design.

A drawing shows the house location in the riverside neighborhood. / Courtesy of 6717 Studio
A diagram shows spatial relationships between Floors 1 and 2, plus the roof. / Courtesy of 6717 Studio
The side elevation illustrates spatial relationships between functional spaces in the home. / Courtesy of 6717 Studio

Despite it being long and narrow, the architect had no difficulty finding ways to make the interior room well-lit and well ventilated. The problem of confined spaces is resolved simply by growing a small garden in the main entry area, a natural way to create passive cooling effects in the home.

At the rear, a small backyard serves as engine that drives natural air circulation. That’s not all. At the center of the house plan, a small square courtyard adds a little bit of greenery to the interior. Together, these little green spaces go to work bringing fresh outdoor air into the home all day long.

Dien Khanh House
A corridor connects the living room in the middle to a quiet, more private living spaces at the rear.
Dien Khanh House
A square courtyard opens to admit light and fresh outdoor air into the interior.
The downstairs bedroom opens to the interior courtyard.
Dien Khanh House
The kitchen opens to the courtyard to admit light and get rid of cooking smells in the interior.

Taken as a whole, these are the key attributes that give the new home character. Plus, the roof with a high pitch is designed to perform in severe storms. It’s painted a bright shade of orange to add a new feature to the community landscape.

Combine that with simple clean lines and white walls, and it conjures up the image of a small cozy home that blends perfectly with the charm of rustic rural life.

Dien Khanh House

For privacy, the two upstairs bedrooms are separated by the center courtyard.

Dien Khanh House

Architect: 6717 Studio (

Lead Architect: Le Viet Hoi

This house appears in the Special Bilingual Edition (English and Thai) of Baan Lae Suan and Living Asean, titled “Tropical Suburban and Country Homes”. It focuses on designs for cozy living in harmony with nature.

We have handpicked ten houses for this special edition that serve as the perfect example of design innovations in sync with the natural world. Front and center, it’s about the pursuit of ways to live more sustainably and create a better future for all. Looking for inspiration? Perhaps a glimpse into nature-inspired “Tropical Suburban and Country Homes” is a good place to start.

Delve into the new book today. It’s hitting Thailand shelves now. For more details, visit

For bulk ordering, contact

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Baan Noi Doi Hang: Little House on the Hill Boasts the Beauty of Work-from-Home Design

Baan Noi Doi Hang: Little House on the Hill Boasts the Beauty of Work-from-Home Design

/ Chiang Rai, Thailand /

/ Story: Nattawat Klysuban / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rungkit Charoenwat /

It’s amazing how a small space can make a big difference. Here’s a little house on the hill located at Tambon Doi Hang in Chiang Rai’s Muang District. It’s only 35 square meters, which is no bigger than an average condominium unit in the city. But it’s location, location and location that makes it a stunning place to live. The homeowner couple wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and live somewhere out there in the countryside. Like a stroke of serendipity, their wish came true.

Little House on the hill

Theirs is a tiny home built into nature. It sits beautifully ensconced in the misty morning air and, beyond, forested mountains can be seen from miles around. It’s a calm living space designed for a remote work-from-home job and hence no time is wasted in daily rush-hour commutes.

Plus, they get to choose a way of life tailored to their needs. It’s a lifestyle pared down to the essentials thanks in part to a simple house plan, in which every square inch serves a purpose for which it’s intended.

Little House on the hill

The homeowner couple are natives of Bangkok. They had lived in other places before moving out to this northernmost corner of the country. So they pretty much had a clear picture of what they wanted in a new home plus the functionality and the size that would be right for them. They tossed the ideas around with a team of architects. And the overall result was impressive.

Little House on the hill

It’s a small house designed for two people to fit in comfortably, with a bedroom, workspace, bathroom and a kitchenette with coffee bar. It even has a closet and outdoor rooms for relaxation and al fresco cooking and dining.

Basically, it’s a small living space with many advantages. To begin with, it’s a way to avoid expensive cost overruns. It’s easy to keep clean and maintain in good condition, which translates into more time being devoted to something else more important.

Little House on the hill

A large countertop made out of hardwood is perfect for preparing favorite meals and beverages.
The closet with shelves attached to a wall has a wash basin nearby for extra convenience.

The house on a hill is positioned along the east west axis with the view of a lush landscape. The north and south sides have long eaves overhanging the walls that shield the bedroom from exposure to intense afternoon sun.

For health benefits, the architect puts in a front porch under the gable to create room to sit sipping coffee in the morning and to cook stakes in the late afternoon. The house plan is made in this way for good reason; the outdoors can impact human wellbeing. So it’s a good idea to step outside and connect with nature to reduce stress or just lean back and chill.

A floor plan illustrates relationships between spaces. / Courtesy of IS Architects
A drawing illustrates front and side elevations of the house built on sloped ground. / Courtesy of IS Architects

Little House on the hill

Little House on the hill
Multiple swing door systems are glazed using clear glass to soak up the views of lush countryside.

Like a good neighbor who cares about the community, the house was built using locally sourced materials by local builders and artisans highly skilled in woodworking and masonry.

The ingredients obtained from the locality included roofing materials, reclaimed hardwood, and cement for textured plaster walls. The builders were tasked with work according to their specialized skills so as to add countryside flair to the home.

A steel bracket connecting the house post with concrete footing helps protect against moisture damage.

Like everything else, the Northern Region is not without its challenges. It’s no stranger to air pollution caused by seasonal agricultural burning. To be prepared for all eventualities, the architect makes sure the doors and windows are impervious to dust and dirt when that happens.

Well-made swing door systems and awning windows are chosen for their effectiveness in keeping dust out. At the same time, attention to detail ensures there are no gaps between the window pane and the frame when shut.

A teakwood post supports the roof truss consisting of beams and common rafters, a collaboration between the project architect and experienced local builders.

On the whole, the little house on the hill is designed to blend perfectly with the circumstances that form the setting of the area. It’s a product of thoughtful planning by the project architect and the homeowners. And the result is a humble abode that syncs with the rhythm of life in the highlands region of Chiang Rai. Priceless!

Little House on the hill
A bird’s-eye view of the little house on the hill in relation to lush greenery in the surroundings.

Architect: IS Architects (

Lead Architect: Pawin Tharatjai

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Small Houses in Cambodia: Lack of Space Is Nicely Compensated for by a Cozy Garden Ambience

Small Houses in Cambodia: Lack of Space Is Nicely Compensated for by a Cozy Garden Ambience

/ Phnom Penh, Cambodia /

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

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

Like a dream turning into a vibrant reality, a trio of small houses sits beautifully ensconced in a cul-de-sac away from the noise and traffic on the main thoroughfare in central Phnom Penh. Together they occupy the full extent of a tiny piece of property, with leafy vines growing luxuriantly covering much of the front façade in subdued earthy reds.

small houses cambodia

The lush covering conveys a great deal about the architect’s firm determination to overcome space constraints and create enjoyable homes against all odds. The result is a trio of thoughtfully devised living spaces made cozy and comfortable by allowing fresh, outdoor air and natural light into the home.

Plus, dense green trailing plants add privacy to the inside, a clever hack to let nature permeate and protect the home from the glare of the midday sun.

small houses cambodia

Albeit small, the three houses have four levels of usable space and functions, including a sky garden on the rooftop deck. The building façades crafted of concrete breeze blocks in dark shades of reds blend with the vertical garden growing luxuriantly on the balconies, creating a pleasing combination clearly visible from a distance.

Together they form a double-layer thermal envelope that’s the first line of defense against the harsh sun and rain. For neat appearances, the three entrance doors at street level blend into the shimmering perforate façades adorned with climbing plants.

Flashback: Old photographs show the physical appearance of the subsidiary street neighborhood prior to construction. / Courtesy of Bloom Architecture
A diagrammatic representation of the subsidiary street neighborhood where the trio of small houses islocated. / Courtesy of Bloom Architecture
First-floor house plan / Courtesy of Bloom Architecture
Second-floor house plan / Courtesy of Bloom Architecture
Third-floor house plan / Courtesy of Bloom Architecture
A simplified drawing shows space utilization on the rooftop decks of the three houses. / Courtesy of Bloom Architecture
Concrete breeze blocks with a concave outline designed and manufactured for outer shell construction. / Courtesy of Bloom Architecture
small houses cambodia
Concrete breeze blocks in subdued earthy reds blend perfectly with the dense green foliage on the building façade.

Being of the right size and shape, the three homes fit perfectly into a square-shaped piece of land. The first two houses are relatively small, with similar square-shaped plans built side by side facing the same way. The third house is rectangular shaped and slightly larger. It’s situated at the rear of the property facing a different direction.

small houses cambodia

small houses cambodia
Double height ceiling design makes the small living space fell larger and more comfortable.

small houses cambodia

With regard to interior design, the first floor holds a spacious, uncluttered living room with a kitchenette for entertaining houseguests, while the more secluded second and third levels contain bedrooms.

The fourth floor is a rooftop deck with semi-outdoor sitting rooms for relaxation and leafy plants thriving in containers placed along the edges. The same interior layout applies to all three, except for the rooftop decks of the two front units that are connected to create a bigger shared space.

small houses cambodia

Quite the contrary to what might be expected, it’s a trio of small homes with larger house functionality, plus roomy, uncluttered design made for cozy, comfortable living.

What is lacking in terms of space is nicely compensated for by well-thought-out design, plus plenty of refreshing greenery all around. Like a pleasant surprise, they make perfect escapes, a trio of quiet and secluded family homes despite their proximity to the hustle and bustle of downtown Phnom Penh.

Here, the secrets to a happy home lies in the perforate shells adorned with leafy vines keeping the snug interior nice and warm all year round.

small houses cambodia
Green leafy plants growing luxuriantly on the balcony provide refreshing coolness and privacy protection for the bedroom.
Semi-outdoor room on the rooftop deck is decorated with plants thriving in containers along the side of the building.

small houses cambodia

small houses cambodia
The perforate shell covered in lush greenery provides a focal point and sense of space in the neighborhood.

By design, the perforate facades made of concrete breeze blocks serve as engine that drive natural ventilation keeping the home cool in summer. They also allow just the right amounts of daylight streaming into the interior turning it into an oasis of calm during the daytime.

On the outside, they add an extra layer of protection from sun and rain, creating a double-layer outer shell that allows air to pass through the intermediate gap in between.

More so than anything else, they provide a visual combination showcasing the beauty of simplicity, the power of nature and human ingenuity in providing solutions to problems and overcoming challenges. It’s as simple as that!

small houses cambodia
A slab of concrete at the bottom of the window frame affords a good view of the neighborhood below.

Architect: Antoine Meinnel of Bloom Architecture (

Design Team: Antoine Meinnel, Kong Lim, Ny Kechseang, Heng Thanak

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

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

/ Can Tho, Vietnam/

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

/ Photographs: MinQBui /

This narrow lot house is located in Can Tho, a modern city in the South of Vietnam. It lies on the south bank of the Hau River, one of several estuaries through which the Mekong River empties into the South China Sea. Like any busy city, it’s no stranger to incessant activity and overcrowded streets. That’s a practical difficulty for the design team at Da Vang Studio, a homegrown architectural practice based in Ho Chi Minh City. And they rise to the challenge by integrating as much green foliage as possible in the house plan. The result is impressive. The gardens house with a narrow frontage to the street transforms into an oasis of calm, one that offers plenty of comfortable living spaces in close touch with nature.

gardens house
The solid external envelope keeps the house interior safe and secure.

The elongated house plan occupies the full extent of the land that measures 4.5 meters wide and a whopping 23 meters long. As may be expected, the external envelope of the house also doubles as the perimeter of the garden.

The exterior walls are built tall and unable to be seen through for privacy reasons. Yet, the design team has found a way to provide physical ease and relaxation. They called their design approach “Fitting”, meaning everything has to be kept in proportion, nothing more or nothing less than what’s necessary.

Albeit small, it’s a light and airy, well-thought-out house plan.

The Floor Plans of Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House courtesy of DA VÀNG Studio.
In cross section, the elongated house plan illustrates linear arrangements of rooms, functionality, and greenery spaces. Correct building orientation paired with solid exterior walls protects the home from the sun’s harmful rays. Picture by Courtesy of DA VÀNG Studio.
Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House
Healthy green foliage lining the walls and the face of the building keeps the front yard light and breezy.

Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House
The kitchen and dining room combo lies at the front of the house plan illuminated by a full array of rooftop skylights.

The two-story house on a narrow lot offers plenty of usable spaces arranged in order of priority. Go in the front door, and you come into the hallway that connects to a dining room and kitchen.

The living room is halfway down the passage with a flight of stairs set against the wall leading to the second floor that holds two bedrooms.

The light and airy living room lies halfway down the passage decorated with small patches of greenery.
Adding visual interest to design, arched structures separate the living room from the stairway connecting to the second floor.

The quiet, more secluded master bedroom lies at the very end of the first floor that opens to a small sun-kissed courtyard. It’s protected by a lattice patio cover that lets the sun shine through and drives natural air circulation.

The light and airy master bedroom on the first floor opens to a small backyard garden.
The master bedroom has a view of the bright and breezy backyard that lies protected by a lattice patio cover.

Gardens House

Calming color and texture add a relaxing effect to one of the bedrooms on the second-floor.
The glass-brick wall admits natural daylight into the second-floor bathroom decorated with plants.

What makes this tiny house unique is the fact that all the indoor and outdoor rooms are enclosed behind solid walls. The feeling of being boxed in is nicely compensated by small interior courtyards and patches of greenery designed for comfort and relaxation.

Of the seven green spaces incorporated in the house plan, the front yard and the backyard are the biggest and the greenest. Adding a touch of nature to the interior, low-light and easy houseplants are positioned at intervals along the walls. Even the bathrooms have small patches of greenery that’s easy on the eyes.

Although small in size, this gardens house comes complete with comfortable living spaces and modern conveniences for healthy living.

Architect: DA VÀNG studio (

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Bao Long Office: An Old Shophouse Beautifully Renovated

Bao Long Office: An Old Shophouse Beautifully Renovated

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

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

/ Photographs: Quang Dam /

Major renovations have given a drafty old shophouse a new lease on life. Thanks to great remodeling ideas, the tired-looking two-unit shophouse on Su Van Hanh Street, Ho Chi Minh City, transformed into a beautiful place that struck the right balance between a business and a private residence. Designed by the architecture firm H.a + NQN, the completely refurbished premises are home to a private enterprise named Bao Long Office.

Bao Long Office

As is often the case with shophouses in Vietnam, each of the two units has a frontage of 3 meters. It’s in the shape of an elongated rectangle with a whopping 20-meter length sandwiched between adjacent units.

To create ample, well-ventilated interior space, the wall separating the two units was torn down and replaced with a newer, more modern version.

Bao Long Office’s plan was redesigned to accommodate new business concepts as well as residential and lifestyle needs. To protect the building’s structural integrity, the internal framework remained intact.

The same applied to the ground floor that housed a business selling stainless steel products. For a neat appearance, the entire front façade was glazed in, giving it charms and good looks that set it apart from others in the neighborhood. By night the face of the building is aglow under the lights.

Bao Long Office
Second-floor workspace and private living quarters are clearly separated from each other.

Bao Long Office

Decorated with healthy green foliage, the second-floor balcony provides a relaxed outdoor room and protects the home from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Located in a commercial zone, the store at ground level is understandably busy and the crowded street bustling with activity.

Climb a flight of stairs to the second floor, and you come to an impressive office space. The area on this level of Bao Long Office is divided into two parts. There’s a warm and welcoming workspace at the office on one side that’s clearly separated from private living quarters on the other.

Both parts are conveniently accessible via the balcony connected to the front façade. The second-floor outdoor platform is decorated with an oasis of calm that’s very pleasant to look at.

Ground Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a
First Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a
Second Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a


Bao Long Office
Double-height ceiling design offers open and pleasing tranquility to a long and narrow living room.

Bao Long Office

Section Drawing Courtesy of H.a

The office consists of a workroom and meeting room with simple interior décor. The walls are painted white symbolizing a new beginning and the floors covered in terrazzo.

There’s a custom work table with drafting stools that runs parallel to the wall and stretches the entire length of the room.

The atmosphere is strikingly different from the calming space of nearby private living quarters. To create a homely atmosphere, the living room has a small beverage bar with pantries customized to the homeowner’s hosting style.

At the farthest end lies a peaceful sitting area decorated with deep colors that match the dark surfaces of terrazzo floors, concrete walls, and rustic walnut furniture.

Softened by the dim light, it’s a relaxation technique to create warmth and reduce stress in the home.

Bao Long Office
The homeowner’s sitting room on the third floor is quiet and secluded.

At the same time, a section of the upper floor was taken out to make room for an entrance hall with double-height ceiling design. Not far away, a set of stairs was installed to connect to the homeowner’s secluded living quarters on the top floor.

The private residential zone comes complete with a bedroom with en suite bath, sitting room, and dressing room.

Bao Long Office

A staircase painted orange creates an unexpected playful contrast with the calmness of a small interior space.

Painted a shade of orange color, the steel staircase leads from the ground level, where the retail store is located, all the way to the private residential zone on the top floor of Bao Long Office. Its playful design is intended to express pleasure and joy in everyday life.

You got that right! It’s part of a home improvement project designed to make life more fun. It serves the primary purpose of getting house occupants from one floor to the next, and it’s done in a unique, stylish way.

Architect: H.a ( + NQN. (

The article is an excerpt from “Home Office / Home Studio,” a book that compiles ideas on integrating “home” with “workspace” to create a comfortable and suitable environment for small companies, startups, and creative individuals.

You can find it at leading bookstores throughout Thailand or order it through various online channels.


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An Awesome Steel Home in Binh Thuan

An Awesome Steel Home in Binh Thuan

/ Phan Thiet, Vietnam /

/ Story: Lily J. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Trieu Chien /

Speaking of unconventional houses, here’s a truly awesome steel home located in Phan Thiet, the capital of Binh Thuan Province in the Southeast of Vietnam. It’s a small house that makes a big difference in terms of value, form, color and texture. A well-thought-out home plan, it’s where the heart is for a family of four who live here. Built in a way that steel frames and other elements fit in well with modern furniture, it looks the epitome of good design that speaks volumes for the family’s present lifestyle and their preparations for the future.

steel home in vietnam

steel home in vietnam

Meeting Basic Needs Despite Limitations

For the young family, a small shed roof house on 150 square meters of land makes perfect sense.

It fits nicely within their budget. To get things done, they left it in the good hands of the architects at MIA Design Studio to develop a good plan with all the required components and qualities.

The plan included all beautifully organized functional spaces suitable for the needs of everyone in the family. The initial design phase was completed during an outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the limitations in the ensuing days, the architects and the contractors relied on long-distance communication to finish the project on schedule.

steel home in vietnam

steel home in vietnam

Nurtured by Nature

The most important part of the design is natural daylight and ventilation. They are two key factors that contribute to a simple but cozy and comfortable atmosphere.

It’s for this reason that plain openings in the wall and the most common ventilation method are used to admit just enough amounts of light and fresh outdoor air to enter and circulate inside.

Where appropriate, curtains are suspended from the top to complement interior décor, separate living spaces, as well as control light, privacy and indoor temperatures.

Overall, it’s a balanced interior design that’s clean and fit for occupant behavior and lifestyle at present.

Steel Home in vietnam

Steel Home in vietnam

Steel Structure Home Takes Less Time to Build

From a distance, the house seems small, supported by steel framing and enveloped in corrugated steel siding that’s relatively inexpensive and ubiquitous in rural areas.

On the whole, it’s built strong thanks to the main load-bearing structural elements that combine with load-bearing walls to convey the weight of the entire house to a solid foundation.

Components that are usually considered separately, such as sliding door frames, furniture, curtain track hanging systems, even wardrobe hanger rails are integrated so that they become a whole — a smart way to cut costs.

Steel Home in vietnam

To save even more on construction, the house is made of easy-to-find materials sourced from the neighborhood, usually within a one-kilometer radius. This ensures that no money or energy is wasted on long-distance transportation.

That’s one useful hack to promote eco-friendly green building. Plus, modular design makes it easy to add extra units of construction to meet family needs in the future. All these things can be added without a significant impact on the existing modules.

Steel Home

Steel Home

By design, the even distribution of weight enables the building to remain strong and wear-resistant. This is achieved by taking into account every heavy and bulky thing, such as furniture, during the design process.

As the architects intended, it’s a home where the young couple and their little children reconnect with nature and experience greater joy in their lives. It’s a modest house plan conducive to a relaxed atmosphere and promoting socialization processes in the family.

In essence, it’s about creating a flexible, forward-looking modular design that’s the signature of the architects at MIA Design Studio.

Axonometric Drawing Showing House’s Structure / Courtesy of MIA Design Studio
Axonometric Drawing Showing Spatial Orientation / Courtesy of MIA Design Studio
Floor Plan / Courtesy of MIA Design Studio
Section / Courtesy of MIA Design Studio
Section / Courtesy of MIA Design Studio

Architect: MIA Design Studio (

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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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A Beautiful Waterside Home: To Grandpa, with Love

A Beautiful Waterside Home: To Grandpa, with Love

/ Ratchaburi, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

Because memories are made here, Puchong Satirapipatkul of the design firm OTATO Architect built this beautiful waterside home for his grandfather Kumnung Yindeesuk. The new single-story house nestles in a coconut grove overlooking Nong Salid Canal that connects to Damnoen Saduak, a bustling little town famous for its Floating Market.

waterside home ratchaburi

Puchong knew from the get-go that the orchard land was in a clutter of untidiness while his grandpa’s old house was more than 30 years old and impossible to repair. The only way forward was a complete teardown to make room for a new home. The old house provided vintage recycled building materials, which gave Puchong the means to avoid a large cost overrun.

Ensconced in a grove of coconut trees, jackfruits, and tamarinds, the new house plan is well suited to a small 100-tarang-wah (400 sq. m.) plot of land. The orchard offers a peaceful, warm and comfortable environment while minimizing costs. To keep within a tight 700,000-baht budget, the architect used locally sourced building materials and oversaw construction work himself.

waterside home ratchaburi waterside home ratchaburi

To enhance the view, Puchong chose a U-shaped single-story house plan that’s made up of four blocks. Where appropriate, well-positioned tall windows create a stylish look and spacious feel. The overall effect is impressive; the house is pared down to a very simple form for cool minimalist living.

He also picked a low pitch gable roof that blended perfectly with traditional houses in the neighborhood. Walk in the door, and you find open-concept floor plans that maximize the use of space and provide excellent flow from room to room. The front entry and south-facing walls that receive the afternoon sun are built of solid materials to soak up the day’s heat.

For a more comfortable living environment, north-facing walls are open to take in fresh outdoor air and beautiful views of the nearby waterway.

waterside home ratchaburi Single-Storey House

To create a buffer against direct sunlight, the south-facing block contains service areas, such as pantry, workroom and storage closets. For indoor thermal comfort, the north-facing block is cool and dry, thanks to an array of vertical fins that protect the building’s façade and create diffused light in the interior.

Not far away, a viewing platform raised on girders extends from the house all the way to the water’s edge, a nice place for walking exercise.

waterside home ratchaburiwaterside home ratchaburi Single-Storey House

Puchong explained: “The overall house plan is carefully thought out based on how frequently a space is used. Hence, the more private residential areas are put on the right side with less traffic, while semi-outdoor rooms for family socialization and houseguests are on the left.

“By design, it’s a medium-sized house plan with large house functionality. The new home for grandpa has all the conveniences for comfortable living, including a nice living room, dining room, bathroom, and bedroom all neatly integrated in one coherent whole.

Single-Storey House waterside home ratchaburiSingle-Storey House

“All the rooms have undisturbed waterfront views. High ceilings paired with tall windows make the simple house among the trees feel bigger, light and airy.

“To shorten construction time, only standard building materials were used, including the average ceiling panels, roof tiles, and sheets of glass in prefab sizes from 1.20 to 2.40 meters. This made it easy for local builders to build, easy to maintain. Plus, it saved a lot of money, and reduced waste.”

waterside home ratchaburi

Puchong said: “Using vertical louvre fins is a technique that gives the house its character. They are architectural features that blend beautifully into the overall design.

“This is evident in the way every roof rafter is positioned to align with the top end of the vertical fin. Although in different sizes, the vertical fins are placed at regular intervals, resulting in a clean and simple exterior.”

waterside home ratchaburi

All things considered, this waterside home is well planned every step of the way. All elements are arranged in such a way that best accomplishes a particular purpose.

More than anything else, it’s about living in peaceful harmony with the land, the water, the trees, even the fireflies. For Puchong, building this retirement home as a gift is absolutely the right way to say: “Grandpa, I love you.

Single-Storey House

Owner: Kumnung Yindeesuk

Architect: Puchong Satirapipatkul (OTATO Architect)

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303 House: A Narrow Townhome Inspired by Aircraft Interior

303 House: A Narrow Townhome Inspired by Aircraft Interior

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Nawapat Dusdul / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Tran /

An architectural practice called “Sawadeesign Studio” has applied innovative aircraft cabin ideas to give this narrow townhome a complete makeover. The small family home sits sandwiched between two low-rise buildings in the heart of Tan Binh, an urban district of Ho Chi Minh City. They named the project “303 House.”

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

Narrow townhomes are a typical housing type omnipresent throughout central Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. By law, places of residence with a narrow frontage to the street (smaller than 3 meters across, to be exact) are not permitted to have more than one level.

In this particular case, the only way to build is arrange all the usable spaces and functions on the same horizontal plane. And the result is a renovation done right in every sense of the word.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

From the outside looking in, the entire width of the house is only 2.9 meters. With the exterior walls installed, the inside space comes to just 2.7 meters wide.

Interestingly enough, well-thought-out design turns an awkward narrow plot into a single-story home that’s simple with all useable spaces giving off good vibes. The bright and airy home occupies less than 90 square meters of land.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The design duo, Doan Si Nguyen and Vo Thanh Phat, decided against the most commonly used construction technique. They proposed an alternative method aimed at reducing the amount of concrete used, an option that risked being rejected by investors from the get-go.

For indoor thermal comfort, the ceilings are made of Rockwool tole about 150 mm thick. The coated sheet metal is widely used in the storage industry and large warehouses for its excellent thermal insulation. Here, it’s used to make the interior living spaces comfortable day and night.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The contemporary home interior features mixed materials. Among them, grey plaster on the wall proves a perfect complement to gray epoxy paint on the floor. Together, they provide desirable elements for a calm, peaceful home. Everywhere, furniture made of plywood is a great way to add natural touches to the interior.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

As the architects put it, the secret to creating a healthy indoor environment lies in putting multiple layers of functional spaces in neat order to shield the home from the busy street outside. This is especially true in HCMC, where many homes are prone to suffer from the negative effects of outside noise and unrestricted growth of housing areas and commercial development.

Fascinatingly, aircraft cabin ideas came in handy for the townhome built on an extremely long and narrow plot of land. It’s reminiscent to walking along an aisle between rows of seats on an aircraft.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

There’s a paved outdoor area in front of the house entrance that provides a place to socialize. Step inside, and you come into a corridor connecting to a living area, kitchen, and laundry room. Wall-mounted storage cabinets line one side of the aisle, with beautifully organized functional spaces on the other.

There are two bedrooms with a bathroom attached tucked away in a quiet place half way down, plus a third bedroom at the rear of the house accessible by a small corridor. Where appropriate, clear roofing materials provide light for houseplants, while openings in the rooftop drive air circulation keeping the interior cool and comfortable without air conditioning.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh CityModern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The house plan is not only tailored to the specific needs of a family of three, but it’s also a well-thought-out place of abode amid the hustle and bustle of the city.

As is often the case with most urban areas, for homeowners there’s a tendency to rent out the space in front of their houses to small retailers and businesses. But the family living at 303 House doesn’t need that kind of income. They prefer to keep the door closed and enjoy privacy in the comfort of their home. Albeit small, it’s an oasis of calm — a home sweet home no doubt.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

Architect: Sawadeesign Studio (

Lead Architects: Doan Si Nguyen and Vo Thanh Phat

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