These twin houses are a kind of an in-between space that separates them physically. In a subtle way, the center court serves to perpetuate the spiritual bond between the two households. It makes for cordial relations and passion in the form of a shared space that gets used every day. It is obvious they have found the right balance.
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Story : /// Photo : /// Designer: Natasas Jeenphund and Yupayong Chaikachorntat
The owner of appealing twin house are two sisters, Chutima Bunnumkitsawat and Chutimon Siriwithayarat. Now married, They live in separate households that share the same compound. As anyone would expect, the twin residences look amazingly alike. But they are two distinctive entities. So we asked, and they answered.
“Originally They had planned on developing the property, on which we now live, to accommodate an extended family lifestyle. By chance, my husband came across one of the designs by Nat and contacted him right away before the big flood hit. We got down to the business of planning in earnest while the city was inundated in 2011,” Chutima said.
She said that the family has lived on this plot of land for three generations now, meaning those of Mom and Dad, the twin sisters themselves, and now the little ones.
Asked about design inspirations, Chutima said: “We both have kids roughly the same age. So family living spaces have got to be clearly defined. Simply put, we are two separate households now. Nonetheless, the two houses are set in the same compound. Mom and Dad can be with the kids here or there. Bottom line, our children will get to grow up together.”
Chutimon said that despite being two separate entities, the twin houses are subtly tied to each other in so many ways.
Behind the perceived sameness there exist a fair amount of differences. By permission, we take a look around only to find, as is often said, plenty of different details in the find print. First, their lifestyles subtly differ. Chutima’s home features a design with an emphasis on vertical treatments that embrace the value of the family’s intimate living spaces. Patches of greenery in the vertical garden protect the privacy of the living room and nearby patio. Lush foliage makes for comfortable interior living spaces. Now let’s move over to the other side of the center court. Chutimon’s home boasts open and light interior design featuring ample horizontal spaces. Reminiscent of the traditional Thai-style home, the family interior living spaces look out over and connect to the center court. The bedroom comes with an open, spacious balcony that is the family’s favorite hangout spot.
The awesome twin houses complex is the brainchild of designers Natasas Jeenphund and Yupayong Chaikachorntat of Poetic Space Studio. As they put it, “The two homes highlight simple, clean line design. I want them to appear as two distinctive entities. It is like two well-pruned trees thriving side by side. Meantime, it is not about being totally separated. Basically, the plan is based on a design principle that aims to keep the two families very much together.” In a nutshell, the twin houses find the right balance not only in terms of land use but also in architectural style. More importantly, they bear testimony to passion and longing to be together and cherish the relationship made in heaven.
“Its simple Thai style home-on-stilts design allows ample spaces underneath. The second floor features a wood balcony large enough for multiple functions. Long eaves protect exterior walls from the elements. Opaque walls are put in place where the sun’s harsh glare is too much to bear. None of the interior living spaces are exposed to direct sunlight, resulting in comfortable living conditions.”
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Story: Supachart Boontang /// Photo: Sitthisak Namkham/// Architect: Arsom Silp Institute of the Arts
Homes based on simple design are oftentimes the most comfortable to live in. That has a lot to do with finding the right balance between functionality and the house’s overall dimensions – or how big it is. Easy living can be achieved without spending a fortune on sophisticated decorative details. There is plenty of evidence in a suburban home that I am about to show you right now.
Our crew visited this home in a Rama 2 neighborhood known for its simple lifestyle. We witnessed people go about their business in ways that are distinctive to a riparian community. We also noticed that change was just around the corner. The home’s design and build quality represent a confluence of ideas between traditional wisdom and modern technology. Equally interesting is the home’s journey through time. Let’s hear it from the owners, Charatsri Sribumrungkiat.
“I acquired this piece of land thanks to assistance from Arsom Silp Institute of the Arts. It was part of an effort to provide affordable housing for the institute’s instructors. The program has aided teachers in buying real estate at cost price. This one is known as Baan Bang-gru, which means teacher’s home,” the owner explained.
Nanthapong Lertmaneethaweesap, of Arsom Silp Institute of the Arts, designed the three-story home. As he put it:
“In my opinion, this piece of land has great potential. It has good views both of the lake and the canal. The front façade sits facing south and the house is oriented along the east-west axis. This enables it to get full benefits of southerly winds. The home fits in well with a typical riparian setting. It’s simple house-on-stilts design allows ample spaces underneath. The second floor features a wood balcony large enough for multiple functions. Long eaves protect exterior walls from the elements. Opaque walls are put in place where the sun’s harsh glare is too much to bear. None of the interior living spaces are exposed to direct sunlight, resulting in comfortable living conditions.”
The home sat on a 120-square-wah piece of land and was built on a budget some 20 percent less than the average home of the same size. This was possible because as much as 90 percent of lumber supplies came from reclaimed wood and other recyclables. New lumber accounted for only about 10 percent. His sister was good at finding recyclable ideas and putting them to good use around the house. That not only saved a lot of money, but it also filled the home with cool pieces of furniture.
The house raised on concrete piles provides ample multi-use spaces underneath. The open ground floor means everything is easily accessible from here, be it the little lake in front of the property or the peaceful waterway behind it. It is the area that is used all day every day for relaxing, dining, watering and pruning plants. Correct orientation ensures the home receives full benefits from natural ventilation that keeps it cool even during summer months.
Originally the owners had intended to build a two-story home but later decided to raise it on concrete piling. The makeover resulted in the first floor becoming second, and the old second becoming third. There are good-sized seating spaces on the second floor along with dining area and kitchen that will be used if there is flooding. The main kitchen is on the ground floor. The third floor is reserved for three bedrooms and a Buddha room.
The exterior walls are inspired by rice storage buildings, in which vertical studs are installed on the outside and horizontal wood palettes on the inside. The edge joint technique that has existed for a long time ensures the wall is water impermeable during rains.
In a nutshell, this has been a home designed to fit in well with nature. The interior spaces are uncluttered in keeping with the minimalist style, while the exteriors showcase the architecture and waterfront living that are quintessentially Thai.
An old-styled waterfront house was recreated for modern living in Chiang Mai. This cozy waterfront house is composed of a coffee shop, piano classroom and a private space for the family.
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Story : Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photos : Sitthisak Namkham /// Architecture : EKAR and Full Scale
“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 abode featuring smooth exteriors and eye-catching roof design is affectionately called “Baan Muan,” literally home of baby Muan.
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 were responsible for the design.
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 home 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.”
In so doing, the designers had to identify features that were typical of the waterfront home 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.
“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.
“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”
The open plan design 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.
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.
“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.
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 eye-catching minimalist style.
The homeowner, Suthiphong Pongpawasuit said I was kind of speechless for a bit when I heard him express his feelings about the 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.
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.
Obviously, the 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 here a life fulfilling experience.
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.
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.
“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 the buildings, be it vertical or horizontal spaces performs the functions it is intended. Overall, a great mix of patterns and textures make the two houses appear in perfect harmony with each other. The difference is in the details.
This has been a story of two youthful homes that coexist to complement each other. One is overflowing with life. The other is tranquil and handsome it its own way. They enhance and improve each other’s curb appeal, and set the stage for a simple fulfilling lifestyle.