Blog : Modern Tropical

10 Modern Tropical Homes for Inspiration

10 Modern Tropical Homes for Inspiration

Living ASEAN presents 10 modern tropical homes for an inspiration as we celebrate another year ending and a new one beginning. They focus on a beautiful blend of indoor and outdoor spaces that translates into stylish patios, cool verandas and courtyard tropical gardens. Plus, plenty of ideas to make your yard lush!



















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Homework Fabrics with Style; Warm, Relaxing Tropical Elegance

Homework Fabrics with Style; Warm, Relaxing Tropical Elegance

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story & Photograph: Courtesy of Homework /

Modern tropical is one of decorating styles that have become popular across the country. It’s a style that takes into account the warm and humid climate characteristic of the Region. This is abundantly clear in the way tropical décor materials sourced directly from the locality are being put to good use in so many ways. They include wood that promotes relaxing and peaceful feelings, floating furniture crafted of natural materials, home décor accessories, and fabrics for furniture upholstery, throw pillows, and curtains in striking colors and textures. Their simple yet elegant appearances bespeak a cool, contemporary style that’s classic in its own special way, a style that’s quite capable of answering many decorating needs.

Polyester fabrics look their best not only in home furnishings and decorative accessories, but also in business establishments from hotels to retail shops, where not seriousness but a friendly, relaxing and pleasant manner is everything and everlasting. For that, there are polyester fabrics to suit every decorating need. Here are some of the qualities worth considering.


The Modern tropical style is well suited to the warm and humid climate typical of the Region’s highlands and seaside environments. Polyester fabrics come in handy as the material of choice for their ability to resist exposure to a range of weather conditions, from moisture to bacterial and fungal contamination. These unfavorable conditions can have negative effects on consumers. To avoid problems, polyester fabrics are recommended because they are made of plastic fibers that do not absorb moisture. Unlike natural fibers, polyester does not accumulate humidity, which reduces the chance of bacterial and fungal contamination in fabrics.


The tropical decorating style evokes the image of bright sunlight and cool temperatures that accompany every rainfall. That sounds like a first good impression that most people have. To create interior design that will ring the bell, materials that provide a decorative and textured surface are of great significance. That’s not all. Materials for furniture upholstery and curtains in complementing colors and design are important, too. Together, they combine to make the interior living space feel warm and welcoming. There are plenty of ways to match colors. Whether it’s visual harmony or outstanding visual contrast, the choice is yours.


Humidity in the air is among factors contributing to fungal and bacterial growth. Hence, it makes perfect sense to go for polyester when it comes to interior decorating. Polyester is great for curtains, furniture upholstery, blankets and throw pillows. It’s undergone testing to prove its worth. Thanks to its many outstanding attributes, polyester has remained a popular material of choice in a variety of applications. Its benefits are not limited to just interior décor or furniture. Some polyester fabrics are capable of serving multiple purposes. For information about polyester usage, consult the product catalog and label that comes with the fabrics.

Polyester Material of Choice for Modern Tropical Décor

01 Design No. 9554/05: width 110″ (280 cm)

02 Design No. 8072/03: width 54″ (137 cm)

03 Design No. 3151/07: width 60″ (150 cm)

04 Design No. 10056/103: width 55″ (140 cm)

05 Design No. 10051/105: width 55″ (140 cm)

06 Design No. DANE/104: width 54″ (137 cm)


Note: 100% polyester fabrics are material of choice for curtains, throw pillows, and furniture upholstery.

Information and fabrics courtesy of: HOMEWORK FABRICS

 Contact information:
No. 9 Yaek 9 Soi Petchakasem 112, Khwaeng Nong Khang Phloo, Nong Khaem District, Bangkok 10160, Thailand
Tel: +662-119-7888
Fax: +662-810-8091

10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

Living ASEAN has selected our favorite houses in the ASEAN for 2017. Of course, all of them present practical solutions for living in the hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia, including a bamboo house in Thailand, a concrete block house in Thailand and a modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Check them out!


A bamboo house with contemporary appeal sits immersed in its natural surroundings. The home that’s also a medical clinic belongs to Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD, and his wife Kanyapak Silawatanawongse. Without question, his interest in the natural therapeutic concept is expressed in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the home office. The orthopedic doctor provides specialized care for the musculoskeletal system in the comfort of a peaceful country setting.

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Concrete Block House

Intanon Chantip, INchan atelier architect and owner of this HUAMARK 09 building, designed it to test theories he’d arrived at through intense study and experience. He wanted the architecture to tell its own story through the charm of materials that change over time. Intanon and his wife Tharisra Chantip bought this a 30-year-old, 80 square wa (.8 acres) property in the Hua Mark district, demolishing the old house to erect a new four-storey mixed-use building with usable space of 490 square meters and combine office, residence, and art studio.

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The architecture of this modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City is perfectly suited to the hot, humid climate, with an imaginative counterpoint of plants, greenery, and airy openings keeping it shady and pleasant inside and out.

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Waterside Home

This waterside tropical house brings back memories of Thai life as it was along Khlong Samsen in bygone times. From outside it looks straightforward and contemporary, but inside is a fascinating mix of antiques from the owners’ collections.

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Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition

This Lanna Thai house of wood is built based on ancient local traditions. It has a simple, relaxed, and open look. Natural breezes blow all day long through its exquisite form, full of the charm of conservation-friendly Lanna craftsmanship.

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This box-shaped house uses architecture, architectural elements, and coordinated interior design to tell stories of the present and the past. The house is located in the Petalang Jaya district of Selangor, Malaysia. This is a district of single homes, but with little space to put up a large house. Still, architect Dr. Tan Loke Mun rose to the challenge of house owner Kenneth Koh and tore down the former structure here to build a new 3-storey home in its place.

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Living with Cats in a Beautiful House

Ever wonder why this is a dream house for kind pet owners and their feline companions?.

“I live with my wife and our seven cats in this house,” said Chan Mun Inn of Design Collective Architects (DCA). “There used to be only four, but I adopted more cats. So I ended up with seven of them. They were the reason that we left our old apartment and built a new home in the suburb.”

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Brick house For a Tropical Climate

This rectangular brick home in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is designed for “hot and humid,” open to natural light and cool from air currents constantly streaming in and out through the bricks. Mr. Tung Do and Mrs. Lien Dinh, the owners here, are newlyweds who wanted a small house with a straightforward design for pleasant living. They had seen Tropical Space’s “Termitary House,” which won, among others, a 2016 Brick Award, and admired its form and design so much that – even with their limited budget – they engaged the Company to design and build their own home.

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Box-Shaped House with a Tropical Style Garden

Box-shaped design highlights a perfect blend of form and function, plus an exotic Tropical style garden. The result: A lovable livable home with a panoramic view from the bedroom.

“This house was not built to be photogenic,” said Patchara Wongboonsin, architect at POAR, when asked about his outstanding design. The 350-square-meter, modern cube-shaped house took two years in the making.

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Modern House in a Forest Setting

The architect uses clever techniques to make this modern house look like it’s crafted entirely of wood. When her family wanted to build a new house in Thailand’s Northeast, Kanika Ratanapridakul was assigned the task of project architect. It was the first time she had to work directly with local builders and suppliers. Things didn’t go as smooth as planned, but the mission was accomplished – eventually. The key to success lay in being a bit more flexible to ensure things got done right and on schedule.

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10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

Mandalay Beach Villas / A Three-Unit Beachfront Home

Mandalay Beach Villas / A Three-Unit Beachfront Home

A beachfront home is built based on a simple exterior design, yet it is a perfect hideaway to relax in a tranquil environment.

/// Thailand /// 

Story : Atla Otto /// Photos : Sungwan Phratem

The seaside landscape features a wood pergola with white drapes and a canopy. Lush sun-loving shrubs provide a pop of color to the beachfront.

Here is a simple home designed for easy coastal living. It is nestled on the peaceful western shore of Samui Island. The neighborhood is known for envy-inducing outdoor spaces and stunning sea views.

The space between buildings allows for ventilation and abundant natural light, keeping the entire home clean and cool.
Outdoor tiles in complementing tones line the walkway between buildings. Grass growing in between pea gravel tiles help reduce the effects of sun glare on eyes.

The waterfront home sits on a rectangular plot of land large enough for building a good-sized house. But the property owner is not looking for a design that is twice longer than wide. Because a rectangular floor plan may be lacking in variety, he opts for something else more interesting. The result is a neatly planned vacation home comprising three detached units. All of their front rooms are positioned to take advantage of the waterfront’s views and breezes.

The sundeck extends from the multiple function building to connect with the infinity pool.
Because the property ascends slightly from the beach, a retaining wall is built to mark the perimeter. The sun deck featuring a concrete vessel is crafted of pea gravel concrete. Behind it, a set of stairs leads to the beach below.

The three shed-roof buildings sit facing one another and come in different sizes. Their floors are raised 50 cm above the ground. The largest unit features a semi-open design to serve multiple purposes, incorporating a seating area, dining room and pantry. Next to it stands the second building with master bedroom with ocean views. An infinity pool, lush greenery and the beach lie between the two buildings and the open sea. The third building, which is set further back, features two en suite bedrooms. It is the first to be accessible from the street. The three-unit home boasts clean line exterior design with an emphasis on relaxing hues, such as white, gray and beige. Wood accents come in natural color and finish design to never go out of style.

The multiple-purpose unit, which is the largest of the three, features generous seating spaces and a pantry. Open design ensures the rooms get abundant natural light and fresh air.
For a vacation home, the pantry comes in handy for quick meal preparations.
The dining area next to the pantry boasts a set of teakwood table and clear chairs. Rock wall adds texture and an intimate feel to space.
The master bedroom boasts sweeping sea views, thanks to large glass paneling on two sides. Wood flooring adds a pop of color and warmth to the intimate space.
The dual-sink countertop in the master bathroom features polished stone finishes in soft white.
Translucent laminated glass siding separates the bathroom from the master bedroom. Plenty of natural light ensures the bathroom is well lit despite its dark color effects.

Open design allows an abundance of natural light and breezes to flow easily through the three buildings. Genius landscaping ideas help keep the interior spaces cool naturally, while lush foliage provides for comfortable outdoor rooms just steps away from the sparkling blue waters.

The passageway separates the fishpond from the two-bedroom unit in the rear of the property.
The house is accessible from the parking area via a revolving door. Sounds of water circulating in the fishpond communicate a warm welcome.


Baan Muan: A Minimalist Thai-Style Waterfront House

Baan Muan: A Minimalist Thai-Style Waterfront House

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

An old-styled waterfront house was recreated for modern living in Chiang Mai. It is made up of a coffee shop, piano classroom and a private space for the family.

Waterfront House

“I want to emulate the Thai style waterfront home of the past, kind of set on land that slightly descends to the riverbank. Like so, the new home is designed with respect for nature. Meantime, it embraces all features that are up to date, from materials to style to character.” So said the designers when asked to elaborate on the concept behind this home project.

The handsome waterfront house featuring smooth exteriors and eye-catching roof design is affectionately called “Baan Muan,” literally home of baby Muan.

Waterfront House
The Mae Kao, a tributary that flows past the property, inspires the owners to create an old-styled waterfront home. The design celebrates the water feature and pristine foliage that have long been the charm of this suburb of Chiang Mai.

The homeowners, Nathee and Kanokwan Nateniyom inherited this piece of land from their grandma. Their baby was born while the construction project was underway.

So both the home and the baby were given the same name. Ekapab Duangkaew from EKAR and Arthasith Kongmonkhol from Full Scale Studio were responsible for the design.

A well-kept lawn is used as the only access to the house’s main entrance. Walking on grass adds fun and excitement to nature inspired lifestyle.

As Ekapab put it, “We were so fortunate to have received full freedom to conceptualize this project. Arthasith and I then proceeded to develop a waterfront house design with an emphasis on relationships with the surrounding terrain features. Various functions were laid out based on their proximity to the water’s edge or existing patches of greenery.

“The next step was about translating the concept to meet the homeowners’ needs and personality.”

A coffee shop is the first thing visible from afar. It separates semi-public spaces from the private zone without obstructing views of the modern front home. Dark stained wood clad exteriors subtly set the shop apart from the rest of the property.

In so doing, the designers had to identify features that were typical of the waterfront house of the past. They looked into every design from Post-Modern to Minimalist in a bid to arrive at a common ground.

The final design showcased the main hallway as the centerpiece of this new home.

Nature permeates through the landscape that rolls down into the waterfront area below. Meanwhile, it serves as the dividing line between different functions on the property.

“At the time we didn’t have a specific design in mind. We just said that we preferred open spaces. My husband wanted to put Mom’s coffee shop in front. For us, we needed a piano room for practicing and giving music lessons at home. Basically, that was it,” said Kanokwan.

Hence the open interior space was the goal. The plan envisaged the main hallway, the kitchen and seating areas for everyone merging into one big space.

Waterfront House
The coffee shop features a sundeck that looks out over the waterfront area. (An interior makeover project was underway on the day we visited.)
The white exterior walls showcase sharp geometric shapes as the designer intended. Clean line design advocates the uncluttered look typical of the minimalist style and leaves plenty of room for nature to pervade.

“I like sitting here,” said Nathee referring to the big dining table.“The waterfront is on this side. Meantime, the main entrance opens to the front yard. On the other side, Kanokwan and the baby are playing on the sofa. They make for relaxing interior spaces and I like it here.

“If asked to describe this home, I will just make it brief – cozy”

Waterfront House
Like several picture frames coming together on a lush lawn, the home not only looks stylish on the outside but also adds variety to the rolling landscape.

The open plan design of the waterfront house meets the needs of this small family of three. Everyone is aware of everything that goes on inside the vibrant interior spaces. It is the kind of plan that merges all parts of the house into one great room.

The designers reserve the second floor for privacy. The first floor has a playroom for the kid and the piano room for Kanokwan. The rest is open.

Open plan design ensures that all interior spaces are easily accessible. Large windows allow abundant natural light and provide visual continuity to the water’s edge.
The child’s playroom makes way for family activity spaces for the time being. The piano was recently moved in here along with Dad’s guitar.

The property comes in two zones, business and residential. The coffee shop sits in front and is covered in natural wood palettes.

From the outside looking in, the roof design is eye-catching in every respect. As a matter of fact, its unique look is dictated by interior design needs.

The designer puts bedrooms on the second floor, leaving the spacious first floor for seating spaces. Kanokwan plans to give music lessons at home in future.

“It has to do with how we want to view the great outdoors from within the home. For this reason, the main hallway steps aside just a little bit so that the waterfront area can be seen in full view from the bedroom. Likewise, one side of the coffee shop offers a sundeck that overlooks the water’s edge.

“It is never meant to be jazzy. Rather we take into account advantages and disadvantages of every component before arriving at the final design,” Nathee explained.

Waterfront House
The homeowners wanted to leave the existing tree where it was, and the designer got that. So the terrace was built around the tree while the building itself was kept a good distance away.

By now, our readers probably feel they have been mistaken all along about design intentions. A house that looks showy at first sight may not be showy after all. Rather it is designed for easy waterfront living based on existing terrain features and homeowner needs.

All things considered, it strikes the right balance to showcase a new kind of waterfront home, one with an eye-catching minimalist style.

[left] The lacy shade of tall trees casts interesting light patterns on the home’s white exteriors. [right] An artist’s rendition shows relationships between building formations and areas near the water’s edge. The drawing demonstrates how existing trees are preserved while the land is being readied for the home project.

Owner: Nathee and Kanokwan Nateniyom

Architect: EKAR and Full Scale Studio


Co-Housing: Harmony Between Two Different Lifestyles

Co-Housing: Harmony Between Two Different Lifestyles

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul, Thamawit Wangkijsoonthorn, Bussakorn Kuankit /

“It’s a co-housing arrangement. Mine is more of a dynamic, full-of-life home. The house next door is my brother’s. It appears to be more private in the midst of a tranquil setting.

Between the different spaces, natural radiance is all in the eclectic details. Despite its modern edge, the open seating area rekindles a fresh interest in terrace design of a Thai style home.

The homeowner, Suthiphong Pongpawasuit said I was kind of speechless for a bit when I heard him express his feelings about the co-housing house. It could be that I was expecting the most beautiful replies like always. No offense intended. It was the most honest and unpretentious of feelings.

“I could feel a warm and friendly atmosphere, and appreciate the meaning of “home” as he defined it. I have come to one that reflected the true personality of its owners.” The two houses are surrounded by pleasant grounds made the two brothers happy in their own way.

The two buildings brought out differences in their lifestyles and their preferences.

An array of overhead windows let a healthy dose of morning sunshine into the cozy seating area. Wrought iron detailing in the multiple-paned windows creates an interesting light and textural display on the surfaces below.

The first building

The first building belongs to Suthiphong. It is concrete chic based on a straightforward design. The walls are fabricated of unornamented concrete finishes and an interesting mix of textures and materials. Floating systems of electrical conduits conjure up images of an urban industrial loft apartment.

The interior features gorgeous living spaces. During the day, natural light shines through large overhead windows with wrought iron detailing, creating an amazing shadow play. There is a sense of visual continuity that connects seamlessly with the exterior as soon as the large door slides open.

On the outside, peaceful lush landscaping under a tree canopy can be seen in full view. On the inside, different furniture styles add a hint of interest in a subtle way.

Awesome overhead opening lets natural light into the relaxed living room and nearby stairway. Well thought-out design makes the area playful and inviting.
The layout epitomizes a relationship of mutual benefit between the two brothers. What goes on in one house can be seen from the other.

Obviously, the co-housing house is designed for the local climate. Oftentimes we complain of too much sun, winds, and rain. But since we call this country home, why not make the most of the extreme weather conditions?

They are the natural appeal of this Region. That is why we see all natural elements being incorporated into the design scheme. Here, the sun, the winds, and rain are all taken into account in framing the house within a beautiful botanical border. That makes living in a co-housing house a life fulfilling experience.

The working area and nearby kitchen are neatly incorporated into the total living space. The interlinking design takes into consideration personal preferences and lifestyle.



The bedroom, which is supposed to be private and personal, is not exactly cut off from other living spaces. The awesome opening allows the guest area below to be seen in full view from the bedroom.

The second building

The second building belongs to Suthiphong’s brother, Kittiwat Pongpawasuit. Unlike the first house, it comes in a mix of white, cream, and gray tones, which together give it to a strikingly handsome appearance.

The design is light and airy and emphasizes a warm and peaceful atmosphere. Brick walls are painted white to minimize any alteration of natural light and color reflecting on the surfaces. The home, especially its living spaces, is all about enhancing a seamless indoor-outdoor relationship.

Crisp, clean landscaping can be seen all the way to the swimming pool, thanks to large single-paned glass doors that slide open and neatly disappear into the walls. The living room gets nice cool breezes from the swimming pool and is set facing north to avoid the harshest of the afternoon sun.

Exterior walls on the north side are open to natural light all day. Downstairs the seating space is made comfortable by nice cool breezes blowing in over the swimming pool.
The swimming pool is literally a few steps from seating areas on the terrace. There is an unobstructed, gradual descent from the veranda to the garden.
The easy-to-maintain kitchen design features a countertop crafted of unadorned concrete finishes. A red brick wall subtly separates it from the adjacent guest area.
The bathroom is inspired by industrial loft design. Details are reduced to just clean, straight lines within the modest style.

Design relationship

The two designs may contrast in personality, but architect Kraipol Jayanetra of Alkhemist Architects found a relationship between them by opting for like materials, textures, and mutual décor ideas.

By this was meant the use of naked, unornamented concrete finishes, industrial-style electrical conduits, wood furniture, and a plenty of accent pieces.

The guest area of one of the houses lies fully open to bring in the outdoor atmosphere.


“I started out with something small but interesting, and worked my way up until I arrived at a complete unit,” said Kraipol.

That being said, every part of the co-housing buildings, be it vertical or horizontal spaces performs the functions it is intended. Overall, a great mix of patterns and textures makes the two houses appear in perfect harmony with each other. The difference is in the details.

[left] Playing with patterns light switches are installed in a way that they playfully mimic the appearance of a naked brick wall.                         [right] Shadow play wrought iron detailing create beautiful works of art at no cost by casting light and shadow patterns on the interior spaces.

This has been a story of two youthful homes in a co-housing house that coexist to complement each other. One is overflowing with life. The other is tranquil and handsome in its own way. They enhance and improve each other’s curb appeal, and set the stage for a simple fulfilling lifestyle.

To protect against the intense heat of the sun particularly in Thailand, perhaps it is wise to opt for double-layer roof design. It keeps homes cool by reducing the amount of radiation from reaching the interior living spaces. The vents between each layer allow increased air circulation and keep the heat out.
There are so many ways to texture your walls and ceilings. If smooth, fine-grained designs are not your style, you might want to go for coarse-textured, more natural looking surfaces. One alternative is the naked, unornamented concrete that rough to the touch. The design is playful and full of life. Any rough surface, whether concrete or brick. 


Architect: Alkhemist Architects