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Nong Ho Holiday Home: Tranquility in the Midst of Nature

Nong Ho Holiday Home: Tranquility in the Midst of Nature

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: DOF Sky/Ground, architectural film and photography service /

Nong Ho Holiday Home is a gorgeous tropical home out in the country. An escape from the fast-paced city life, the tranquil abode is intended as a family holiday home during the winter months.

holiday home Chiang Maiholiday home Chiang Mai

The house stands environed by the pleasant mountain base grounds at Nong Ho, only a short drive from downtown Chiang Mai. Strictly speaking, green is the prime color of the surroundings, and the panorama of the mountain landscape is one of breathtaking beauty. Priceless!

Commenting on the design concept, Skarn Chaiyawat, architect and founder of his architectural firm and namesake, said:

“The 300-square-wah, rectangular site on which the house is built is exceptionally good. In the evening, lights blaze in the sky as the sun disappears over Doi Suthep that’s easily seen from a distance. It’s really a beautiful sight to see.”

It’s a piece of land with great potential, so the main idea driving the design isn’t confined to the house alone. Rather it’s a layout that has the beauty of the natural environment at its core.

On the ground floor, open plan ideas come in handy, covering a large area from the sitting room to the dining room and pantry, plus a Thai-style kitchen at the further end of the interior.

“After careful consideration, I chose the I-shaped house plan. The longer side of the rectangle overlooking the backyard lies facing west, thereby opening every room to the scenic beauty of a mountain landscape,” the architect explained.

holiday home Chiang Mai holiday home Chiang Maiholiday home Chiang Mai

The architect and the homeowners agreed that, to avoid looking harsh or too modern in appearance, it makes perfect sense to blend modern building materials with heritage products in the locality.

The result is a modern vernacular home that boasts the richness of natural textures.

It’s built of reclaimed teakwood from old houses in the area and roofed over with clay tiles made the old-fashioned way by local artisans. House floors and parts of the walls are covered in glazed clay tiles made by Mae Rim Ceramics in Chiang Mai.

All told, it’s a beautifully semi-handcrafted home that’s original and unique in its own special way. Plus, it helps reduce impacts on the environment.

holiday home Chiang Mai holiday home Chiang Mai

The more open the house plan, the more exposure it gets to sunlight and moisture.

Here, the problem is corrected by constructing elegantly extended eaves around the house. Where appropriate, several arrays of retro-inspired bamboo louvres protect the house from the elements, meanwhile providing a delicate aperture to the delightful view.

Together they reduce the heat, allow in gentle breezes along the east and west facades, and offer the benefit of adding decorative privacy screens to the home.

holiday home Chiang Mai holiday home Chiang Mai holiday home Chiang Mai holiday home Chiang Mai

Here’s what we found. A good home isn’t made for comfortable living alone. It must also be capable of promoting good physical and mental health.

Although it has a street frontage, the family’s right to privacy is jealously guarded. There’s a backyard swimming pool for exercise. Looking out the window, a spectacular mountain view can be seen from a distance.

There’s plenty of room left to grow a vegetable garden, too. In essence, it’s a way of creating an ecology of nature-human interactions.

holiday home Chiang Mai Nong Ho holiday home Nong Ho holiday home holiday home Chiang Mai Nong Ho holiday homeholiday home Chiang Mai

The architect wrapped it up nicely: “Even while indoors we can hear birds sing and gentle breezes rustle in the trees, plus the sweet smell of plants and rain in the yard.

“No need to turn on air conditioning all the time. It’s a beautiful natural setting that brings peace of mind. For us, it’s a great definition of a holiday home.”


Architect: Skarn Chaiyawat Architects (

Skarn Chaiyawat, Krit Chatikavanij, Phuwadol Khummali, Punika Chaiyawat

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Baan Somjai: Where Time Seems to Stand Still on Pha-Ngan Island

Baan Somjai: Where Time Seems to Stand Still on Pha-Ngan Island

/ Surat Thani, Thailand / 

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Peacefully ensconced in a coconut grove by the sea, “Baan Somjai” is both a vacation destination and private residence located on beautiful Pha-Ngan Island. Everything goes by slowly on this side of the world, so slow it feels like time is standing still.

Pha-ngan Island

Pha-ngan Island
Nature’s A/C system at work. A water pond runs the entire stretch of the building, lowering indoor temperatures as winds carry water vapor into the room.

The seaside resort is the brainchild of Nattawut Piriyaprakob, of the architectural practice NPDA Studio. He’s both the designer and son of landowners Banjob and Somjai Piriyaprakob. The property on Pha-Ngan Island is an inheritance from Nattawut’s grandmother.

Back in the day, it was nothing but a family-owned coconut orchard. Nattawut could still recall traveling back and forth often to tend trees on the property. Nowadays travel to and from Pha-Ngan has become more convenient. That’s reason enough for the family to put in a home here.

Pha-ngan Island
A wide-open hall used for public gatherings has movable furniture for ease of care and flexible uses of space.

As Nattawut put it: “Mom and Dad had worked in other provinces for a period of time. They returned home to Pha-Ngan after retirement and started out with a homestay called Coconut and Noom Resort.

“The hospitality business had welcomed all kinds of tourists, from backpackers attending the famous Full Moon Party, to well-to-do European families looking for peace and quiet on an island paradise. As luck would have it, Mom and Dad decided to put in a permanent home here, and the rest was history. They enjoyed meeting new people every day.”

Pha-ngan Island
Vertical fins and roof lines fixed at a tilted angle work in tandem to protect the porches and guest rooms from the sun.

Pha-ngan Island

Pha-ngan Island

Pha-ngan Island
Diagonal plaster stripes in glossy red contrast with the brick foundation in flat finish, adding visual interest to the exterior wall.

Nattawut said that he designed the buildings on Pha-Ngan Island from experience, memories and knowledge of indigenous building materials. “The homes are built by local builders using local materials and wisdom. Together, they culminate in a unique design that stands out.

“Take for example eco-friendly bamboo items and paneling that are easy to find. The walls are crafted of red brick and flooring is made of polished concrete finishes.”

The designer intentionally added vivid colors into the work. He said: “As you can see, I chose bold colors for the building, such as the bright external envelope. The shadow cast by coconut trees makes the landscape even more interesting.”

The sundeck that is Banjob’s vantage point offers a 360-degree view of the coconut grove and the sea to the further side.

Benefiting from the sea breeze, the rooms are nice and cozy. Solid walls facing west shield them from the afternoon sun, while the cooling pond helps disperse the heat. Together, they go to work creating a light and airy atmosphere even when the weather is hot.

Remembered for its good design, warmth and southern hospitality, Baan Somjai Seaside Resort on Pha-Ngan is welcoming visitors to their home. It’s not only the home to the Piriyaprakob family. It’s also a dream destination for travelers from across the globe


Architect: NPDA Studio (

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