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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.

townhouse

townhouse

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.

townhouse

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.

townhouse

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.

townhouse

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.

townhouse

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: https://www.naiin.com/product/detail/532110
Here’s how to order online. https://www.naiin.com/how-to-buy/read/1125


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MP House: Striking the Right Balance between Jobs and Home

MP House: Striking the Right Balance between Jobs and Home

/ Tangerang, Indonesia /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English Version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Arti Pictures /

A house plan that combines living spaces and a home office could be just what you’re looking for. Here’s the home of a designer couple in Tangerang, a city half-an-hour’s drive from central Jakarta, that illustrates this. Known as MP House, it marries work-from-home essentials with well-planned living spaces that come loaded with personality.

MP House TANGERANG

The secret to a productive daily routine, the house plan combines residential and home office functions into a uniform whole. The workspace occupies the first floor that also includes a split-level lower floor, while the quiet and peaceful residential area is placed on the level above it.

The ample living area in itself is divided into two parts. Semi‐private spaces such as the living room and dining room take up the front part of the house, whereas more secluded places and bedrooms are located at the rear designed for rest and relaxation.

MP House TANGERANG

MP House TANGERANG

The first floor has a dry courtyard garden that separates the home office area from guest and kids’ rooms tucked away at the rear of the house plan. Healthy green foliage in the yard doubles as engine that drives natural ventilation and provides a light and heat barrier. And the result of MP House is a calm and peaceful indoor environment that’s the key to a happy family life in Tangerang.

In a sensitive and practical way, an indoor ramp with handrail is put in as an alternative to a set of stairs to provide access between different levels. The inclined plane is particularly useful for the homeowner’s aging parents. Plus, it’s the split-level house plan that makes the most effective use of available space.

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

MP House TANGERANG
LIVE/WORK DESIGN
MP House TANGERANG

The house boasts a modern envelope and perforated brick façade overlooking a dry garden located just above the carport. The decorative breeze blocks are chosen for their ability to provide sun protection and maintain openness and airflow.

In the meantime, flat masonry textures that are repetitive and earthy in color provide a variety of light refraction that adds aesthetic pleasure to the interior living space.

MP House TANGERANG
A dry courtyard garden separates the home office from kids’ rooms tucked away at the rear.
MP House TANGERANG
The breeze block façade looks out over a dry garden above the carport.

Taking everything into account, the house under a gable roof provides plenty of ample spaces to serve functional and aesthetic purposes. MP House in Tangerang strikes the right balance between office work and home life, creating a perfect combination that feels cozy, comfortable and roomy.


Architect: TIES (www.ties-db.com)

Lead Architects: Sansan & Tritya


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Urban Farming Office: VTN Architects’ Office Gives Back Lush Greenery

Urban Farming Office: VTN Architects’ Office Gives Back Lush Greenery

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

The design studio of VTN Architects (Vo Trong Nghia Architects) sits comfortably ensconced in a plant-covered six-story building in Ho Chi Minh City. The 1,300-square-meter office block is adorned with balconies containing lush green gardens that combine to create a vibrant building shell. It’s a design based on an understanding of the challenges facing big cities and the importance of environmental conservation.

VTN Architects

Far and wide a lack of recreation areas and green spaces, coupled with rapidly worsening air pollution, is causing serious health problems for people in urban areas. It’s for this reason that living trees and shrubs are integrated into the ‘ building’s external envelope.

The result is a green office block that brings fresh air to the design. Here, easy-care trees cool the air, provide shade, and filter out dangerous, fine particulate matter. It transforms ideas into solutions as Vietnam, a developing country, joins a global network of advanced manufacturing hubs.

Precisely, it’s a design rooted in good environmental management practice that aims to minimize human impacts on surrounding ecosystems – a fact that’s easy to overlook when planning a building. Also known as the Urban Farming Office, it communicates a message that failure to do so will have unpredictable and often undesirable consequences.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

The Urban Farming Office isn’t just home to a design studio. It’s also a perfect example of innovative companies driven by a desire to go green in the workplace.

Plus, it gives back healthy lush foliage and a breath of fresh air to the city. That’s not all though. It draws attention to many possibilities of vertical gardening – techniques to grow more in less space.

From the outside looking in, the building façade looks like a botanical laboratory lined with decorative concrete containers where trees and plants grow. They are mostly easy-to-care-for native plants that thrive in local ecosystems. Where appropriate, seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices are grown organically to meet family needs. It’s a way to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

And it’s safe, eco-friendly, and even energy efficient.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

From a distance, thriving vegetation turns the bland building shell into a lushly planted living façade. Overall it’s a straightforward concrete construction with outdoor platforms attached to the side of the building.

These balconies are filled with modular concrete planters designed to be moved easily depending on the height and growth of trees. This ensures that each particular species gets sufficient amounts of sun to grow.

Combine biodiversity in the balcony and rooftop gardening with the surrounding landscape, and you get an expansive urban forest that amounts to 190 percent of the total project area. As the architect puts it, this translates into 1.1 tons of vegetation including native edible plants, vegetables, herbs and fruit trees carefully chosen as being the best and most suitable.

Also, it’s organic farming and the quality of being diverse that give the office building a cheerful and positive personality.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

Walk past the front façade, and you come before an inviting first impression. The window, doorframe and exterior wall are glazed entirely with glass to protect interior rooms from the elements.

On the outside, lush green vegetation doubles as a building envelope that filters out harsh sunlight while allowing plenty of fresh, outdoor air to pass into the interior workspaces. Plant watering is done using rainwater stored in catch basins strategically placed around the building.

The irrigation method that sprays water droplets overhead with sprinklers also keeps the ambient temperature cool, thereby saving money on air conditioning costs.

On every level, the open floor plan boasts clean lines that make the interior workspace look more spacious and well-ventilated all day long. All told, it’s the ingenious double wall design that makes living a whole lot easier and less stressful.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

To give a brief summary, green architecture isn’t the only feature that makes this office building stand out from the rest. Rather, it’s also the image of organizational culture that speaks volumes for the determination of the architects who live and work here.

VTN Architects have demonstrated that humans and the environment can coexist symbiotically. This is achievable by letting nature permeate and be a crucial part of the city and any office design. It’s the way forward in creating a more equitable, sustainable future.

VTN Architects


Owner/Architect: VTN Architects (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)


 

A Box-shaped House in A Mid-City Garden by Vin Varavarn Architects 

A Box-shaped House in A Mid-City Garden by Vin Varavarn Architects 

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

To have more space for his three children, M.L. Varudh Varavarn (Vin) of Vin Varavarn Architects built this modern house amid a garden on a quarter-acre property in the heart of Bangkok’s Chidlom District.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

 

“Children need a place with trees to run and play,” was Vin’s first thought in keeping all the original trees for the garden. Each room looks out on this great play area.

“When we built the place we’d just come back from living abroad in a town house. There wasn’t really enough space for the kids there, so we made this home more about the kids than ourselves,” he told LivingASEAN.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The house, the balcony, and the garden are simple components of a tropical house. Although porous from wood borer beetles, these folding doors are perfectly functional. The decorative garden stones were dug up from the property.

 

One primary building material was 20-year-old teakwood from Vin’s mother’s plantation in Kamphaeng Phet, much of which had been eaten hollow by wood boring beetles and couldn’t be sold to a lumber yard.

“We figured wood like this might give an interesting look. Talking with The Jam Factory contractor Subhashok gave us some ideas.

“We wanted something that didn’t look too slick, but had unique character and was durable. Wood, concrete, and steel were our main building materials.”

With porous teak, it’s best to cut the wood into narrow boards, sort out the more porous ones, then use the different types in different parts of the house.

Wood with no holes is used for flooring. Even though you can see into the sapwood on some, porous wood panels can be used for latticework, folding doors/windows, and ceilings, which are not usually touched by people, and they can be patched where called for.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The wall separating the stairwell from the living room displays a rough concrete surface.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
By the stair to the 2nd floor, natural light shines into the front hall indoor courtyard. The living room is behind the wall on the right.

 

This steel-frame box-shaped house uses cement walls as artifice: for instance, the wall of rough concrete next to the parking area creates a vertical play of light and shadow on garden stone surfaces.

Meantime, the living room’s big brick walls are surfaced with concrete poured in different concentrations, creating gray stripes in gentle contrast to the rough harshness of the concrete itself.

The house plan visually connects interior and outdoor spaces in a number of places: coming in the door, we first encounter an interior court with a tree, then walk around into the living area, dining space, and large open-plan pantry flanked on both sides by gardens, seeming to switch character back and forth between being indoors and outdoors.

By the tree court is a latticed staircase of wood and steel leading to the 2nd floor, where we find a living area, children’s activity room, and all the bedrooms.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The living room with a big sofa for family socializing. To save building expense the steel frame is light as possible, which also gives the house a light, open look.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Folding doors filter light and give security and privacy. Adding to the green, plants grow along the wall by the neighboring house.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Close by the open living area is a dining table where Vin does a little work most mornings. Furthest in is a long, narrow pantry-style kitchen also used for informal eating.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

“The kids have been happy here, and feel more like staying at home, so we’ve achieved a nice level of success,” added M.L. Varudh. Before the evening came we got to see all 3 of Vin’s children as they got back from school to run, play, climb, and have fun, laughing and smiling, sometimes in the children’s activity room.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects


Architect: M.L. Varudh Varavarn of Vin Varavarn Architects


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MODERN TROPICAL HOME IN INDONESIA

A Minimalist Home in Bangkok Oozing with Charm

A Minimalist Home in Bangkok Oozing with Charm

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

A renovation done right turns this 40-year-old house into a minimalist home that oozes charm and character. It’s spacious with all mod cons. The original frame of the house is retained, but important interventions are added to improve structural integrity, enhance indoor comfort and boost curb appeal. Among them, an array of vertical blades provides vital sun shading integrated into the façade.

Before renovation: The old house looks a bit tired and out of date.
Before renovation: The old house looks a bit tired and out of date.
After renovation: The beautifully remodeled façade after a complete transformation. The house’s original structure is preserved while cool, clean lines give it a distinctive character.
After renovation: The beautifully remodeled façade after a complete transformation. The house’s original structure is preserved while cool, clean lines give it a distinctive character.

Condominium living is awesome for young adults and families without kids. But as their family grew, Prem and Wasinee Chatmanop soon found it unfit to answer their lifestyle needs.

That was reason enough to go searching for a house to buy starting from their familiar neighborhood. Call it serendipity. It wasn’t long before the couple found a fixer-upper located on a 40-year-old housing development in Choke Chai 4 area.

The house was in poor condition and had to be completely renovated. A lot had to be demolished, from the floors to walls to ceilings that had fallen into decay. Only the beams, poles and gable roof trusses that were part of the original load-bearing structure were preserved.

The open concept floor plan excludes interior walls and doors, which gives it the feeling of larger, more comfortable space. Off-white walls paired with wood accents add warmth to the living room and create dimension.
The open concept floor plan excludes interior walls and doors, which gives it the feeling of larger, more comfortable space. Off-white walls paired with wood accents add warmth to the living room and create dimension.

Out with the old, in with the new

“I went out and looked at several houses. In the end, I was really pleased that I chose this one.

“The old house sat on nice square shape land 100 square wah in extent that was characteristic of housing estates in the past. I had a team of building engineers do a structural integrity assessment to determine it was good to buy.

“The house’s interior was old and in disrepair. So we left the renovation project in the good hands of architect Sitthichai Chompooh of the Perspective design studio. We specifically chose to have him do it after having seen his work in ‘The Renovation’, a BaanLaeSuan TV program. It happened to be the style that I liked,” said Prem.

At first, the architect was a bit concerned since the old house was built on a slope below the street level. In spite of that, he was attracted by the gable roof that was the popular appeal in the old days. This made it possible to create an open concept floor plan that seamlessly merged with a lush green side garden. The result was a complete transformation that offered 287 square meters of living spaces.

Sharing his experience, Sitthichai said: “The ground floor was further elevated by 30 centimeters to prevent groundwater flooding. Then, the old false ceiling suspended from the structure above was removed to create more headroom. Next, everything that had been added to the existing construction was demolished to make room for a new open floor plan.

“This included taking out the old floors, walls and extensions that were damaged over a long period of time.”

The focal point of the house is the interior that interconnects with the outdoor environment. The side yard offers a relaxing space and brightens up the living room with the glow of natural light.
The focal point of the house is the interior that interconnects with the outdoor environment. The side yard offers a relaxing space and brightens up the living room with the glow of natural light.
 There are plenty of good reasons for floating a sofa in the middle of the room. It makes for a perfectly welcoming multi-use space.
There are plenty of good reasons for floating a sofa in the middle of the room. It makes for a perfectly welcoming multi-use space.
A counter for preparing food and drinks runs parallel to a pantry dedicated to storage. The open floor plan makes it easy to connect with nearby dining room and living room.
A counter for preparing food and drinks runs parallel to a pantry dedicated to storage. The open floor plan makes it easy to connect with nearby dining room and living room.
Combined bathroom and dressing room design
Combined bathroom and dressing room design
Light colored wood proves a perfect complement to white walls with a gray tinge. Wet and dry areas in the bathroom are clearly separated to make cleaning so much easier.
Light colored wood proves a perfect complement to white walls with a gray tinge. Wet and dry areas in the bathroom are clearly separated to make cleaning so much easier.
Off-white walls make the bedroom feel more spacious, while light fine wood floors are perfect for every room.
Off-white walls make the bedroom feel more spacious, while light fine wood floors are perfect for every room.

Higher floor, more windows, and continuous flow

The renovation project started with further elevating the ground floor to put it higher than street level. Then, the entire floor plan was reorganized and the exterior redesigned. This results in bigger windows that allow for natural daylighting and the interconnectedness between spaces.

The highlight of his design is a spacious interior that brings indoor and outdoor rooms together to form a larger whole. Plus, the atmosphere is relaxing, thanks to side garden ideas that bring the benefits of natural light into the interior.

All of this is achieved without making changes to the original framework of the house. Where appropriate, unnecessary details are reduced and important units of construction added to enhance structural integrity. In the meantime, green spaces are integrated in the design for indoor thermal comfort, while simple clean lines create a warm and inviting place to unwind after a long day at work.

Taking everything into account, it’s an amazing house makeover, one that transforms an old-fashioned fixer-upper into a modern minimalist home that reflects the personality of the people living in it.

Properly situated, large windows provide adequate natural illumination while connecting indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Properly situated, large windows provide adequate natural illumination while connecting indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Positioned to catch the sun, a projecting platform creates a canopy for the ground floor and a balcony for the second. It also provides privacy and physical protection.
Vertical solar shading integrated in the façade protects the bedroom from harmful UV rays. The blades are made of lightweight materials, covered with plaster, and painted off-white to enhance the house’s distinctive character.
A vertical wooden fin façade gives the wall a clean and modern look while providing a layer of heat insulation. It’s painted off-white to create color harmony with the solid load bearing wall behind it.
A vertical wooden fin façade gives the wall a clean and modern look while providing a layer of heat insulation. It’s painted off-white to create color harmony with the solid load bearing wall behind it.
Vertical solar shading integrated in the façade protects the bedroom from harmful UV rays. The blades are made of lightweight materials, covered with plaster, and painted off-white to enhance the house’s distinctive character.

A cool and restful home close to nature

Slightly off-white walls go best with wood accents. The gray tinge is a winner with soft, weathered wood trim. It’s a contemporary calming color scheme just right for an open floor plan that extends from the living room to dining room to pantry.

That way a feeling of continuous flow is created, and it makes perfect sense to float a sofa in the middle of a large room. From the inside, the living room is enclosed by glass window walls that look out over a lush green side garden, a visual of the design that makes the homeowner couple very happy.

Sharing her experience, Wasinee said: “We spend the most time here in this area, unlike at the condo where the kitchen was isolated from the rest of the interior. The floor plan layout contains a variety of functions separated from one another by furniture rather than being enclosed by walls.

“It’s an open concept design that promotes social interactions. Prem sits here at his desk. I can see the kid playing on the sofa while preparing a meal in the kitchen nearby. It’s a flexible layout that’s easy to update. For the time being, the more space, the better. The child is growing up fast, and more furniture will be added in future.”

A concrete beam spanning an opening part of the house finds a new purpose as outdoor bench encouraging social interactions.
A concrete beam spanning an opening part of the house finds a new purpose as outdoor bench encouraging social interactions.
A sundeck patio adjoining the dining room affords a private and protected outdoor living area in the garden.
A sundeck patio adjoining the dining room affords a private and protected outdoor living area in the garden. 

The renovation project benefits from large openings in the wall that let natural light stream into the interior living spaces. In the meantime, privacy is very important and needs to be protected. This explains why only the side of the house facing the solid wall of an adjacent townhouse is open for daylighting and connecting seamlessly with a side garden.

Commenting on the renovation plan, the architect said:

“We put in a sundeck patio that’s easily accessible from the dining room. It serves multiple purposes. Where appropriate, vertical fin facades are erected to shield the house from the sun while allowing natural ventilation and daylight. The upright structure also doubles as outdoor privacy wall.”

Family time creates happy memories that will last a lifetime.
Family time creates happy memories that will last a lifetime.

Taken as a whole, the ground floor is very well thought out. To prevent the living room from smelling like food, an enclosed kitchen is built at the rear of the house that’s devoted to Thai cooking.

The back of the house also has a bedroom kept out of sight in one of the quietest locations. The second floor has three bedrooms, the largest of which affords a garden view from above.

In a few words, the renovation project brings new ideas and energy to an old house after it was vacant for many years. Done right, the old-fashioned gable roof house completely transforms into an awesome minimalist home oozing with charm.

Simple, clean lines give the house its character as well as beauty. Above all, it’s a piece of architecture that connects past, present, and future.

 


Owner: Prem and Wasinee Chatmanop

Architect: Perspective by Sitthichai Chompooh (www.perspacetive.com)


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A Naturally Peaceful Single Story Home

Three-Storey Townhouse That Makes Space for Nature

Three-Storey Townhouse That Makes Space for Nature

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham / Styling: Jeedwonder /

Before moving into this three-storey townhouse, architect and university instructor Bhradon Kukiatnun really put his heart into the design and décor to bring about a conversation among people, animals, and things, partly intentional, partly by impulse. Here are imperfections that are either blemishes or beauty marks, depending on our viewpoint.

townhouse Architect Bhradon Kukiatnun

Bhradon’s business is booming, but designing his own house raised a tremendous number of new questions, not the least of which was how the new living space of a three-storey townhouse would accommodate his eleven cats!

“Three years ago, I bought this place new, and it took two years to fix up,” explained Bradon.

“First problem: organize storage space to hold the tremendous amount of personal stuff needed in my life while still keeping the house orderly. Then, I didn’t want a typical townhouse atmosphere, but neither should it be jarringly different.

“Part of the answer is this new façade, using a type of latticework found elsewhere in the project that fits my personal lifestyle.”

three-storey townhouse

As most townhouses add a roofed-over carport in front, Bhradon also applied his design idea to this requirement.

“There’s more than meets the eye in that front view: a lot of the functions are hidden,” said the architect.

“To really express myself, I had to go back and look at fundamentals with flexibility and an open mind.

“The space in front is limited. Would I rather have a carport there, or a garden? OK, garden: so I designed a garden where I could park the car! Quite different from having a carport decorated with plants.”

three-storey townhouse

three-storey townhouse

The design of this three-storey townhouse called for no structural alterations, but space was apportioned differently. The ground floor holds the living room, dining area, and pantry; second floor, a small bedroom and a workroom; third floor, the master bedroom.

“Inside, you might mistake a door for a wall, or vice versa: my overall concept was to focus on highlighting specific points, making them fit in by hiding some element,” Bhradon explained.

“In the living room, the TV wall is highlighted by hiding its functionality in a wall; the use of covering elements gives the feeling of being in a cave.”

three-storey townhouse

During our conversation Ando, Bhradon’s first adopted cat snuggled up as if to join the group.

“I learned a lot from raising cats,” he said blissfully.

“They don’t think like people. Sometimes our human knowledge drowns out our instincts. But a cat! It wants to sit, lie wherever, just does what it wants.

“This allows single things to have more than one function: TV cabinet or sitting place? Or, for us, a storage spot. Think outside the box.”

three-storey townhouse

three-storey townhouse

three-storey townhouse

We urban dwellers all long for nature. Bhradon answered this with a garden area in the rear of this three-storey townhouse, as he put it: “I think gardens nourish the psyche, so I put a little green in the house, along with a small guppy pond, and it’s a perfect spirit-refresher.

“I like the ‘wabi-sabi’ way of design; the beauty of imperfection, of real life,” he implied. “Real life involves rust; it involves injuries. Can’t eliminate these, right?”

As Bhradon’s speaking voice gradually softened, an unspoken conversation brought into focus the future of the house, the man, the cats, and whatever might lie ahead for them.

“Recently, my cat Kuma died, and I miss her every day. But through the sorrow of loss we see the beauty of living. Being natural is to be incomplete, and we have to live with the things that happen.”


Owner/Architect: Bhradon Kukiatnun


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A Beautiful White Cube-Shaped Home Made for the Good Life

A Beautiful White Cube-Shaped Home Made for the Good Life

/ Chonburi, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

It’s everyone’s dreams to have a beautiful home. And it takes a special kind of knowledge, skills and wisdom on the part of the architect to create one that’s both gorgeous and great to live in. This box-shaped house in cool-toned whites belonging to Thanaphong and Thinan Nakaprasit has what is needed for comfortable living.

Initially, construction was delayed for a period of time for Dr. Tonkao Panin, a professor at Silpakorn University, and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita, of the Research Studio Panin to properly develop a plan to build the house around a tree.

White Box-shaped HouseWhite Box-shaped House

“Our old house had a high “tai thun” (the lower open space at ground level) and a tree that’s the focal point on the property,” explained Thanaphong. “We loved this place, but we wanted to change a few things. To put in a carport in the tai thun, the house had to be raised a bit higher to create more headroom. Our first house plan had a half courtyard with the tree only partially surrounded.”

White Box-shaped House

Thanaphong and Thinan had seen the results of Dr. Tonkao’s design work in the past. They grew familiar with her lines of thought that stressed using simple geometric shapes to bring out hidden character and warmth. Especially for Thanaphong, it gave him further insights into the concept of utilizing proportions, a code to unlock the geometric secrets in classic designs, and a sense of security that’s a design challenge in architecture.

White Box-shaped House

Having lived in a house with glass walls, privacy and security were important to Thanaphong and Thinan: they wanted more containment. Creating secure viewpoints for looking both out of and into the house posed a challenge for the architects. Solutions began with placement of a large tree as the focal point of the house plan. The rooms are disposed around the tree in the center courtyard and have views for monitoring the exterior of the house. People inside can hardly be seen from outside, while the addition of steel panels adds more security.

The security steel panels were originally designed to be of Exmet (expanded metal), but Thanaphong consulted with the architects and decided instead on perforated steel, adding a charming polka dot pattern to the latticework blocking off the long walkway behind the house by the canal.

White Box-shaped House

“Environmentally, this is a great location: water and mountains are behind us, so we need practically no gardening of our own,” explained Thanaphong. Instead of being near the road, the house is set deep in the back of the .4-acre property. Besides the tree between buildings, the living room has a beautiful view of the natural forest on the other bank of the canal.

For easy maintenance, the property is landscaped primarily with grass lawn or paved with stones and large rocks, which are used especially for the shady, peaceful “tai thun” space (the lower open space), which gets no direct sunlight.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

For movable furniture, Thanaphong especially wanted to bring some Modernformblack Iceland” items from their old house, which required some expansion of the kitchen. Other furniture is mostly from IKEA, with light color tones and light, simple shapes.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

“The longer we’ve lived here, the more charm we’ve found in this house, its great functionality, and the open areas, the deck and the tai thun. This is a very special design. Completely separate from other benefits, just the view as we drive in lets us see past the buildings to the mountains, water, a panorama of nature. I love it,” the owner wrapped up beautifully.


Visit the original Thai article…

สวยพอเหมาะพอดีใน บ้านทรงกล่องสีขาว

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Renovation Brings Comfort into a Modern Home

Renovation Brings Comfort into a Modern Home

Renovation Brings Comfort into a Modern Home

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

The family’s firstborn son is married and household members have increased. For the past 40 years, the old house located on a residential estate has gone through various stages of repair and expansion. The time for further improvements has come, and the Sattayavinij family thought it wise to renovate the dated, tired-looking home, turning it into a modern home that’s warm, livable, and in sync with the present time.

Woranol Sattayavinij, the firstborn, is an architect at the reputable company Architects 49 Limited. And the responsibility to remake this modern home rested with him.

Earlier on, the family had entertained the idea of tearing down the old house to make room for a new one set on 96 square wahs (384 square meters) of land.

Fully aware of the family’s lifestyle needs, the kind of place they wanted, and the limited budget they had, he had a change of mind and went for a renovation project instead.

Modern Home
Tall aluminum latticework that makes the front façade protects the west-facing home from harsh sunlight. It provides a buffer against solar heat gain building up in the interior. On the street, black iron lattice fencing promotes natural air circulation and doubles as a privacy screen.

“I made a walkway connecting to the courtyard that has become our sitting room.  Using my stock of lumber and wood recycled from the old house, I mixed teak with Makha wood (Afzelia xylocarpa), and gave it a fresh layer of paint,” explained Woranol.

“It was a mix-match since the boards came in different sizes, but nothing serious.  Now mom and her sister seem really pleased  that it’s a nice spot to sit and catch the cool breezes.”

A flight of garden steps leading to the house interior is canopied by overhanging trees thriving along the fence line. The corridor offers enough room to stroll around in the privacy of home.
A flight of garden steps leading to the house interior is canopied by overhanging trees thriving along the fence line. The corridor offers enough room to stroll around in the privacy of home.

The question is: How can I go about it coming up with design that’s open, bright and well-ventilated?” he added.

“First, the land itself isn’t oriented in a direction that can avoid getting direct sunlight or minimize solar heat gain. Besides, it’s a modest home. There isn’t much room for the long roof overhangs needed to protect it from the elements.

“So I solve the problem by putting a courtyard at the center of the home plan to make the interior light, airy and very comfortable.”

The unroofed area between the buildings becomes a small courtyard garden. At the further end, the architect puts in a long seat for people to relax under the shade.
The unroofed area between the buildings becomes a small courtyard garden. At the further end, the architect puts in a long seat for people to relax under the shade.
An empty space between buildings looks stunning from the architectural perspective.
An empty space between buildings looks stunning from the architectural perspective.

That said, Woranol chose box-shaped design featuring twin rectangular buildings that run parallel to each other with a courtyard in between.

The little oasis that’s open to the sky contains a small garden with a wood deck made for sitting and catching some fresh air. It serves as engine that drives natural air circulation all day. This creates a comfortable atmosphere in the entrance hall.

As for the A/C, who needs it anyway?

Modern Home
While lattice screens go to work protecting the home from the outside world, large opening glass walls connect the interior room to a lush courtyard garden thrown in between buildings. Diffused light and winds passing through the permeable shell keep the entrance hall cool all day without the A/C. No wonder it’s the family’s favorite hangout.

The forward part of this modern home has a carport that’s separated from the street by wrought iron fencing. The black on the fence contrasts with the silver on aluminum latticework protecting the building.

From the outside looking in, it’s clear that privacy protection is high on the list of priorities. It’s achievable without sacrificing the desire to live in close touch with nature.

Modern Home
Adjacent to the sofa set, the dining room is well lit and made comfortable by fresh air blowing in from the nearby courtyard garden.
The raised passageway around the courtyard is built of old wood worn by long exposure to the weather. Concrete steps provide easy access to the garden floor. It’s a place to sit with your legs hanging down, enjoy a patch of greenery, and shoot the breeze on a lazy afternoon.
The raised passageway around the courtyard is built of old wood worn by long exposure to the weather. Concrete steps provide easy access to the garden floor. It’s a place to sit with your legs hanging down, enjoy a patch of greenery, and shoot the breeze on a lazy afternoon.

Evergreen Korean banyan trees (Ficus annulata) lining the fence and the house exterior reduce the harshness of concrete construction and make the home appear more environmentally friendly.

The modern home with 450 square meters of usable space boasts a bright and airy interior, thanks to open floor plans that emphasize interconnectedness throughout.

Modern glass room dividers promote visibility and warm social interactions within the family. Steel construction saves time and makes the interior living space appear spacious and lightweight.

In the end it’s all about feeling good and living better.

An Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis), the courtyard’s main attraction, develops a healthy crown near the studio and the bedroom on the upper floor.
An Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis), the courtyard’s main attraction, develops a healthy crown near the studio and the bedroom on the upper floor.
While they allow natural light and fresh air to pass into the courtyard, metal lattice panels also double as privacy screens and safety precautions against intruders.
While they allow natural light and fresh air to pass into the courtyard, metal lattice panels also double as privacy screens and safety precautions against intruders.

Woranol further explained, “I made a walkway connecting to the courtyard that has become our sitting room.”

“Using my stock of lumber and wood recycled from the old house, I mixed teak with Makha wood (Afzelia xylocarpa), and gave it a fresh layer of paint.

“It was a mix-match since the boards came in different sizes, but nothing serious. Now mom and her sister seem really pleased that it’s a nice spot to sit and catch the cool breezes.”

Modern Home
The room upstairs can be used for work or pleasure. Open the door to see what happens below, and take in the view of the lush courtyard garden. Some fresh air really will do you good. After all, it’s about bringing nature into the home.

“For security purposes, iron latticework is preferred over solid walls. To keep the sun out, the perforate shell is lined with trees. There is an Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis) that has grown tall to shade the interior and give sweet-smelling white flower,” added Woranol.

“We also put in a Common Tembusa tree (Fagraea fragrans) which grows slowly, and a Brazilian rosewood (Jacaranda obtusifolia) which is loved for its beautiful purple flowers.

“The courtyard floor is covered by a container garden intended to make cleaning easy after seasonal heavy rains. It’s OK to get wet sometimes, but it’s better than being enclosed by solid walls.”

Modern Home
Rustling leaves in the Indian cork tree make a sound that has a relaxing effect, especially for the home office and the bedroom located across the yard.

His choice of furniture speaks to the minimalist style of interior design. The idea of less-is-more translates into an interior living space that’s open, easy on the eye, and conducive to natural ventilation.

It’s easy to get why everyone likes to hang out together in the hallway downstairs that connects to the lush courtyard garden. The natural environment helps them feel relaxed all day every day in this modern home.


Owner/Architect: Woranol Sattayavinij


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Surrounded by Warmth and Happiness
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A Large White House with a Modern Oriental Flavor

A Large White House with a Modern Oriental Flavor

 / Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs:  Sitthisak Namkham, Nantiya Busabong /

This beautiful place is home to a large, multigenerational family. With family members from 8 to 84 years old, what stories it tells! Here belongings passed down across nearly a century give a sense of modern oriental flavor to every corner of its design.

Modern House
Patama Roonrakwit, the architect and the owner (second from the right), and her family

Long-time community worker Patama Roonrakwit, CASE Studio architect who designed and owns the house, created it from her knowledge of the ways and tastes of all its residents in their old home.

In a unique adaptation and fundamental design difference here, she preserved an old wooden house Pong’s grandfather had built, hiring Chinese craftsmen to raise it up to the second floor of the central building so family members could continue to experience its warmth.

Besides this, the home contains the offices of CASE Studio, Ed The Builder/Contractor, her brother’s tour company, sister’s music school, and guest rooms where friends can stay.

 

All this had to fit in a space of 1 Rai (1600 sq.m.), a narrow, long north-to-south lot.  The building divides into seven sections, some of which are open, verandah-like corridors that give an angular definition to the space, trapping the wind and making for good air circulation throughout.

Modern House
Wooden slats guard against the sun and wind and create visual harmony.
Modern House
The lower floor is a multipurpose area, adapting the Thai traditional “tai thun” space below a house to fit modern lifestyles.
Modern House
A nearly hundred-year-old wooden house is set as the very center of the main home, and contains a shrine holding Buddha images.

Bedrooms are intentionally not large, so as to encourage residents to come out and socialize in common spaces. Throughout the home, doors open onto walkways sloping down to the swimming pool.

Modern House
The swimming pool parallels the central verandah on the west side, which is set back a bit to reduce heat entering the central building.

 

The charm of the wooden house and the heirloom furniture gives the three generations of the Roonrakwit family and their regular guests the sense of a home that has opened its doors to welcome change while incorporating the experiences of them all at this important time.

 

An elderly person’s room, with special adaptations: bathrooms with no steps, support railings, and adjustable wash basins.
An elderly person’s room, with special adaptations: bathrooms with no steps, support railings, and adjustable wash basins.


Owner: Roonrakwit family

Architect: CASE Studio


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Huamark 09: A Concrete Block House Stands the Test of Time

Huamark 09: A Concrete Block House Stands the Test of Time

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: foryeah! / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs:  Nantiya /

Codenamed Huamark 09, this four-story home wrapped inside the concrete block envelope belongs to architect Intanon Chantip, aka “Non” of the INchan Atelier, a Bangkok-based architectural practice. It’s a design experiment aimed at testing several theories that he’d arrived at through intense study and experience. The architect wanted his concrete block home to tell its own story through changes in the looks of construction materials. Precisely, all the years that pass by will leave their trace of time as the house ages. It will be interesting to see how the building materials perform in the course of time.

Concrete Block House
The concrete block home resembles four big boxes stacked one on top of the other. The fence that protects the first floor of the house is painted a cool-toned white that contrasts with bare walls on Levels 2, 3 and 4 intentionally left exposed to blend with other houses in the neighborhood.

Not that long ago, Non and his wife Tharisra Chantip, aka Ploy, bought this 80-square-wah property (320 square meters) in Hua Mark District on the outskirts of Bangkok. They had the old 30-year-old house demolished to make room for a new four-story concrete home integrating office, art studio and residential spaces to form a coherent whole.

The building external envelope is built of concrete blocks without plaster. It’s left uncovered on purpose so as to blend with everything else in the neighborhood. All together the usable space comes to 490 square meters.

Concrete Block House
Like everything else, the principal face of the house is intentionally of cement blocks, which collect dust and dirt as they change color with the seasons. Outer metal grating lets climbing vines grow naturally reaching for sunlight.

The homeowner couple divided the property into northern and southern sections. They raised the property slightly higher from ground level to put in a garden to the north, then a rectangular building to the south.

The building’s long side runs east-west to block prevailing winds and allow openings to control sunlight and breeze streaming into the home.

The house’s four-meter width is comparable to most row houses in the area. Each side has double walls that work simultaneously for ventilation and heat insulation. Door and window openings reinforce the concrete block house’s primary relationship to weather conditions, wind, and sun.

On the south side are fewer openings because of a staircase, while north and east sides have balconies and various service areas reaching around to the west side, which also has the double walls characteristic of the building’s overall design.

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

The four levels are divided according to function. The architects’ offices are primarily in two first floor rooms: a larger one with a long work table for working in teams and a smaller one that serves as meeting room and library.

The second floor is a private residential area, with a living room connecting to kitchen and dining area.

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

The third floor contains one bedroom for Non and Ploy and another for Non’s mother. The two are connected with a shared bathroom.

The fourth floor is a studio for creative work and enjoyment. It’s designed with a view to high flexibility of function in expectation of anticipated future changes as little members of the household gradually grow up.

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House

Concrete Block House


Architect: INchan atelier


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