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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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Retirement Home Perfectly Serves a New Life in Ratchaburi

Retirement Home Perfectly Serves a New Life in Ratchaburi

/ Ratchaburi, Thailand /

/ Story: Nathanich Chaidee / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Sittisak Namkham / Styling: Tippaya Tarichkul /

Their retirement home epitomizes the “new life” many dreams of. One such is Lisa Thomas, former manager of a famous hotel chain in Thailand who retired and moved with her mother to Ratchaburi.

“It was love at first sight. Our first arrival in Ratchaburi was, like this, in the rice growing season. I love the inexplicable green of rice paddies: somehow it always brings me a peaceful feeling.”

Lisa’s first impressions resulted in her choice of Ratchaburi Province as the site of this family home, but there were other reasons: convenience of being only two hours from Bangkok, good public utilities, and, importantly “the green horizon, without the view of skyscrapers from our old condo.”

Helping to bring Lisa’s dreams to reality were Research Studio Panin Architects Assistant Professor Dr Tonkao Panin and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita. Their design began with their listening intently and paying attention.

“We’re satisfied if we can manage to translate the everyday morning-to-evening life of a homeowner into each angle and corner of our house plan.

“Houses spring up gradually, resulting from our conversations with the owner. Solutions come from knowing how to step back and fully understand what we are listening to.”

retirement home

This design answered fundamental home needs including functionality of use; features gradually added to support the owner’s natural habits, and principles of comfortable living such as “cross ventilation,” which allows air to move freely through the building.

A half-outdoor deck set in the middle of the house greets entering visitors, also capturing breezes from all directions as they transit from outside to inside.

More than simply a stop on the way in, it’s a comfortable space for the owners to relax.

retirement home

The building of this retirement home is laid out to follow the contour of the property, along a natural irrigation canal. To echo this locational context, a swimming pool is set parallel to the canal.

The house faces west, but the problem of day-long heat is addressed with a basic structure of steel-reinforced concrete and an extended deck that widens to match the reach of the sun.

Eaves and verandahs have a steel framework that nicely frames the surrounding scenery.

retirement home

retirement home

retirement home

“Without Lisa’s daily life here, the house would have no meaning,” the architect added.

“It awoke different levels in this space both from the perspective of form and in the actual space itself.”

The location of this retirement home is in harmony with the nature of her life. In the everyday living areas – kitchen, dining room, living room – a high ceiling is called for.

Louvers are set in narrow dividing panels between doors and windows for good ventilation throughout the day, bringing air into the central entrance hall and on into Lisa and her mother’s bedrooms in back, upstairs and downstairs.

retirement home

retirement home

“Time is the important thing now,” added Lisa.

“I just want to use my time in the right way, doing what makes me happy, and part of that is returning to live with my mother, bringing back the feeling of life as a kid. The house is a safe space, recalling things that are engraved in my heart forever.”

And it also memorializes the friendship felt by architects for the homeowner in a house that has created lasting happiness.

Owner: Lisa Thomas

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

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A Hybrid Timber and Concrete Home in the Enchanted Countryside

A Hybrid Timber and Concrete Home in the Enchanted Countryside

/ Ratchaburi, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

A striking trio of wood shingle roofs emerged as we took a turn onto a rustic country road in Ratchaburi, a province an hour’s drive from Bangkok. The hybrid home built of a mix of timber and concrete sits gracefully amid the rice fields.

Ratchaburi Home
An aerial view of the center courtyard with a sundeck that looks as if it were floating in midair. Lush foliage adds natural touches to the home and serves as a privacy screen.

Nantapong Yindeekhun and his family sojourned in this part of Ratchaburi after massive flooding hit Bangkok and the immediate vicinity in 2011. It was the love for the pleasant aspects of the countryside that eventually led to the decision to put in a home here.

To accommodate the needs of every family member, the new house took up a large space. For privacy, all the rooms are quite separate from one another, and yet easily accessible via a system of sheltered corridors.

On the whole, the outdoor living room is cool and comfortable, thanks to a rock garden in the center courtyard canopied by overhanging trees. Viewed from above, lush foliage act as a curtain for privacy adding a calm and peaceful atmosphere to a home office on the ground floor.

Ratchaburi Home

Ratchaburi Home

Ratchaburi Home
The combined workroom and sitting spaces boast clean, uncluttered design with an emphasis on space optimization.

The interior wall has textured concrete finishes in subdued greens.

The mezzanine cabin bedroom comes adequately sized and boasts the rustic feel of an attic-style living space.

One of the upstairs rooms has a bench seat by the balcony. Nearby, a flight of stairs leads to a sleeping room on the mezzanine.

The center courtyard hemmed in by the passage lies within easy reach, while long roof overhangs protect the walkway and exterior walls from the elements.

The sheltered corridor and balcony systems rest firmly on cantilever beams, a rigid body supported at one end and extends out over open space. It’s a cost-effective building strategy and makes good architectural sense.

A peaceful rock garden is accessible via the entry area on the ground floor. Trees planted at a good distance from one another keep the courtyard in shade for much of the day.


The designer explained: “I think cantilever beams are like bonuses that the main structure has to offer. They eliminate the need for extra foundations and save time. Supported by the main structure, the balconies and corridors are 1.50-meters wide. At the same time, the building envelope boasts the beautiful rustic appeal of the rice granary in former times.”

Ratchaburi Home
The front façade has a flight of stairs on the left side leading to a guest reception room on the second floor. Overhead, extended eaves spreading in all directions of hip roof design shelter the home from the harsh sun and rain.

A private library offers plenty of reference materials and tools needed to pursue a career in design and technology. The book collection is protected by a wood shingle roof, while glass walls allow abundant natural light.

According to Nantapong, the house is built for the most part of untreated lumber for the simple reason. It’s less expensive than treated wood, and there’s no exposure to harmful chemicals. Its durability relies on the quality of the wood itself.

Take for example Takhian-thong timber (scientific name: Hopea odorata) that’s mainly used in this project. This kind of timber has stood the test of time. It’s widely used in building boat piers and can tolerate years of rain and sunshine.

The spacious kitchen makes use of a clean design to showcase the natural texture of bare concrete finishes. Floor tiles in shades of black add interest to the well-ventilated space designed to make pungent odor go away quickly.


“For the time being, I am commuting between my home in the city and this country hideaway. One day, should I grow tired of living in the city, this is definitely the place I want to be. It is beautiful living out here. In the cold season, natural daylight is just about right, warm and comfortable. You just have to see it yourself,” said the homeowner/designer.


In the fewest possible words, it is where the modern meets the charm of rustic life, which gives this hybrid timber and concrete home in Ratchaburi a warm and humble feel like no other.

Ratchaburi Home
A small wood bridge leads to the serene backyard and, beyond, a home office area and the library right above it. Plans are afoot to turn this outdoor space into a garden.

Owner/Designer: Nantapong Yindeekhun

Visit the original Thai article…


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