EN / MM
An intimate country hideaway affords a view of sugarcane fields and the lush forests of Khaoyai National Park. It sits ensconced in the misty morning mountain landscape that “Pod” Thanachai Ujjin, lead singer/song writer of the Moderndog band, calls home. His favorite hangout is a platform on the outside of the house, where he likes to sit under moonlight at 2 in the morning. Precisely, nature is on his doorstep.
Characteristic of modern tropical architecture, the house is spacious, light and breezy. The homeowner likens it to the calm and peaceful Thai temple pavilion. The brainchild of Nattapak Phatanapromchai of Erix Design Concepts, the minimalist home is aptly named “Villa Sati”, literally “House of Consciousness”, to communicate the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.
Touched by moonlight and the starry sky, it has a roofed platform along the outside of the house that’s perfect for walking meditation, which the artist and his Mom often do together as family. Sharing his little piece of paradise, Pod said: “After moving out here, I feel as if there were more hours in the day. I rise early to go jogging, read, listen to music, and write songs.”
Their country retreat is made for a simple and peaceful life. Here, the artist and his Mom have plenty of time for their favorite pastimes – art making. The house plan is well thought out. Gable roof design proves a perfect complement to the platforms along the outside, while gorgeous open floorplans increase natural light and bring the outdoors into the home.
Come in through the front door, and you find the stand-alone Butterfly Stool, a 1954 icon of Japanese industrial design by Sori Yanagi. The bedroom that looks out over the field is on the right. Straight ahead is the kitchenette that connects to a living area that doubles as multipurpose room. Nearby, a set of stairs with dark clapboard siding leads to the attic that the artist has turned into a bedroom. The farthest end of the house is open to let southeasterly winds enter, a great way to ventilate the entire home. From here, the rolling sugarcane fields and mountains beyond can be seen in full view.
Floating furniture is an easy hack to establish zones in open spaces and create traffic flow in the room. Modular storage cabinets from USM have the most prominent position alongside wall-mounted abstract art by Tae Pavit and a few painted pictures by Pod’s Mom.
Commenting on design details, architect Nattapak Phatanapromchai said the platforms along the outside of the house afford beautiful panoramic views of the lush mountain landscape. Large openings in the walls allow fresh air to enter, creating air flow and bringing down ambient temperature to the point there’s no need for air conditioning.
Meantime, the gable roof with long overhangs protects the platforms along the outside from the elements. The architect did away with the fascia, wooden boards covering the ends of rafters, to highlight the framework supporting the roof as was the case with the Thai style of residential architecture. Roof shingles are reminiscent of ancient tiles made beautiful by special paint for a real custom effect, while cement board deck or sheathing is installed underneath to protect against leaks.
House framing for the most part consists of wood, while framed glass wall systems stand tall from the threshold to the tie beam supporting the roof. The secret to a neat and tidy house plan lies in the side posts of every doorway and glass wall frame aligning with gable-end studs both when the door is open and shut. The result is a beautiful country house with clean design in the midst of scenic surroundings.
The house superstructure is built of Ta-khian timber, scientific name: Hopea odorata, a species of large trees native to Southeast Asia. Elevated 1.80 meters above ground level, the floorboard rests on steel reinforced concrete framing that’s a load-bearing foundation. The stilt house design that’s ubiquitous in tropical climates provides ventilation under the floor, a brilliant way to keep the home cool all year round. By and large, it’s a perfect example of traditional Thai house design, one that’s easy to look at and comfortable to live in.
The homeowner wrapped it up nicely. “I like the relative smallness of the house and surrounding open spaces. They’ve had a significant impact on human minds. For me, it gives vitality and enthusiasm. It fills my life with laughter and inspires exciting new ideas. It just so happens. Once I have an idea that I think has real potential, the rest is easy. Lyrics for a number of songs were written right here in this humble abode. The wide open spaces of the countryside are hugely rewarding for me as an artist.”
Story: Samutcha Viraporn
Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul