Blog : Makeover

Renovation Adds Sunny Personality to “Nobita House”

Renovation Adds Sunny Personality to “Nobita House”

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul / Styling: Suanpuk Stylist /

Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character known as “Nobita House.”

Sharing his renovation ideas, Jun Sekino said: “After having talked with the homeowners, we were determined to keep the front-gable house plan very much intact. Several inspection visits in the ensuing days also gave me some ideas to do it right. It was like a journey back in time to preserve all its 1940’s splendor.”

Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.
The old house before renovation.

The 80-year-old house soon transformed into a new home that’s more warm and inviting. It’s aptly named “Nobita House” after the much-loved, fictional boy character in the 1970’s cartoon series “Doraemon”. In the fewest possible words, it’s about rebuilding for a better future.

Restoring the old house to a good state of repair, the architect made sure the original framework was not damaged or impaired in any way. Thanks to collaboration with a team of structural engineers, the carport was reinforced to make it capable of accommodating two vehicles side by side. The front façade was built of reclaimed timber from the old house installed vertically with protective finishes over the top to protect it from the elements.

The gable roof was improved using new material and sloping at an angle that’s proper under the circumstances. To make room for a higher ceiling, the second floor was built 1.50 meters taller than the original plan. On the ground floor, suspended panels were removed to reveal awesome ceilings with exposed wood beams. At the same time, wood windows and extra units of construction were added on to increase the floor space from 100 to 300 square meters.

Where appropriate, a system of micropiles was erected to carry an additional load. The covered shelter in front of the entrance was enlarged, while the side of the house reserved for shoe storage connected conveniently to the carport. Meantime, fully open layouts translate into better natural light and ample space for social cohesiveness. On one side, the exterior glass wall looks out over a backyard garden. On another lies a corridor leading to a small courtyard at the rear.

Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character. Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character. Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.

Thanks to open floor plans, the interior  living spaces are easy on the eye. White walls with stained wood trim paired with natural light streaming in through the overhead transom create the illusion of a larger space. Nearby, white screens and Terrazzo floors combine to add vintage touches to home décor. Meanwhile, structural components made of steel, if any, are painted white to blend harmoniously with light backgrounds.

Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character. Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.

The second floor contains workspace with wood windows that evoke memories of years past. Wall paneling is flush with adjoining post and beam construction. The door frame with overhead transom is glazed using patterned glass. Not far away lies the restful master bedroom that’s furnished in a simple style. The old living quarters for house workers accessible by a mosaic walkway remain intact. It’s separated from a nearby outdoor laundry room by steel railing along the edge.

Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.

There are tall buildings nearby, while the house ground level is lower than the street. To effectively drain rainwater from the yard, decorative landscaping gravel is used. This is where garden designer Premrudee Cheewakoseth comes into play and where possible turns the ground into beautiful Japanese rock gardens.

Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.

Trees that are planted for shade include Jackfruit and bamboo, while Mini Mondo Grass or Sneak Beard provides a lush ground covering. To avoid looking too Japanese, small terraces with garden path are put in. Overall, the house boasts certain appeal similar to that of the house of “Nobita”, the much-loved, fictional boy character in the famous cartoon series “Doraemon”.

Here’s the story of a home renovation done right. Cherishing memories of the good old days, Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul recently had grandma and grandpa’s house restored to its former glory. They sought advice from Jun Sekino of Jun Sekino A+D, who turned it into a beautifully crafted home with added personality and character.


Owner: Chatchawan and Punjama Lertbutsayanukul

Architect: Jun Sekino A+D

Landscape Designer: D.garden design by Premrudee Cheewakoseth


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 (www.sawadeesign.net)

Lead Architects: Doan Si Nguyen and Vo Thanh Phat


You may also like…

Mash-up: Industrial Design and Green Space of Walllasia

3 x 9 House: A Compact Renovated Row House in HCMC

X