Blog : Ratchaburi

A Wooden House amid the Enchantment of Lush Coconut Groves

A Wooden House amid the Enchantment of Lush Coconut Groves

/ Ratchaburi, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul / Styling: Worawat /

This wooden house among the trees is literally a breath of fresh air. It’s situated in Damnoen Saduak, a district of Ratchaburi made famous by abundant fruit farms and a vibrant river market. Here, the secrets to peaceful, comfortable living lies in a healthy ecosystem that provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Reclaimed timber adapted for new use gives it a rustic feel. The house is built mostly of old wood recycled from much older homes. It stands canopied by overhanging trees alongside water channels for crop irrigation. Together they act as engine that drives natural ventilation keeping the home nice and cool all year round. With a house like this, who needs air conditioning?

wooden house
A pleasing vista of the quaint wooden house on stilts seen through the lush foliage of thriving coconut trees on the property.

Since its heyday in the mid-1900s, the Damnoen Saduak Canal has served as a major route for water transport in this part of Ratchaburi. Traditionally, wooden homes were built mostly at the water’s edge, while properties lying further inland were used for agriculture.

This 7-Rai piece of land (a little shy of 3 acres) has been home to thriving fruit orchards for several decades. The wooden house now in the hands of the family’s fourth generation was recently restored to all its former glory. In the process, small portions of the water channels were filled in to make room for a new contemporary home.

wooden house

Originally, the family had planned to turn it into a small one-bedroom home. But after a consult with the architectural firm Studio Miti, they were convinced that house-on-stilts design, something slightly bigger, was the only way forward.

The decision in favor of a stilt home was a prudent thing to do since the area has experienced flooding in the past. By using tall timber posts and beams, they were able to create a 112-square-meter home plan with double height ceilings.

The hardwood floor is elevated on concrete poles for stability and good ventilation in the lower space under the house. At the same time, weathered wood adds the rough texture and rustic feel to the overall superstructure.

This is especially true for the external envelope built of a captivating mix of reclaimed timber. The list includes Praduak (scientific name: Pterocarpus soyauxii) which is preferred for its bright reddish orange color, Mai Daeng or Ironwood (Xylia xylocarpa), and Mai Yang (Dipterocarpus alatus), which is light brown in color.

Nothing goes to waste. Where appropriate, shorter wall planks are used to add warmth and charm to interior living spaces.

wooden house

Taken as a whole, it’s an open-concept house plan that’s just right for a small family’s lifestyle needs. The home is parred down and simple with no unnecessary features.

There is no guest reception area in the true sense of Western residential design. Instead, what is lacking is compensated for by a roomy communal space with a good-sized wooden table in the middle of the room. It fulfills multiple functions as a living room, dining room and space for relaxation and interactions within the family.

wooden house wooden house

For practical reasons, the kitchen formerly at the rear of the house has been moved to the open lower floor that’s made suitable for traditional Thai cooking. It’s an easy hack to get rid of food smells fast.

Only a pantry with necessary food, dishes and utensils are kept upstairs, where the focus is more on making light meals, coffee and other beverages. It’s separated from the living area by roll-away partitions that can open to circulate air when needed.

The wooden house has two bedrooms made especially relaxing by a monochromatic color scheme. A nexus between old-world charm and a calm, clutter-free life, each room has a mattress on a wooden platform canopied by a fine net to keep mosquitoes away. They are so well-ventilated that there’s no need for air conditioning.

Wood offers many benefits as a building material. It doesn’t reflect or store heat very well, which results in hardwood floors not getting much hot in summer. This makes it comfortable to spend daylight hours in the shady space on the ground floor.

When evening comes, a gentle wind helps cool the home down even further. Otherwise, simple fans will do the trick. Outside, a canopy of overhanging trees and water channels make the home environment calm and peaceful. Come rain or come shine, roof eaves with extended overhangs protect the interior from the elements.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Bottom line. It’s a design that make economic sense. As timber prices continue on the rise, the cost of building a home also increases at an alarming rate. Here, though, the architect is able to overcome the limited budget and deliver on his promise.

The result is a contemporary design that relates to its intended function and purpose — an intimate little wooden house amid the enchantment of lush coconut groves.

wooden house

Owner: Veerapus and Nuthapak Thamrongrojanabhat

Architect: Studio Miti

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A Beautiful Waterside Home: To Grandpa, with Love

A Beautiful Waterside Home: To Grandpa, with Love

/ Ratchaburi, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

Because memories are made here, Puchong Satirapipatkul of the design firm OTATO Architect built this beautiful waterside home for his grandfather Kumnung Yindeesuk. The new single-story house nestles in a coconut grove overlooking Nong Salid Canal that connects to Damnoen Saduak, a bustling little town famous for its Floating Market.

waterside home ratchaburi

Puchong knew from the get-go that the orchard land was in a clutter of untidiness while his grandpa’s old house was more than 30 years old and impossible to repair. The only way forward was a complete teardown to make room for a new home. The old house provided vintage recycled building materials, which gave Puchong the means to avoid a large cost overrun.

Ensconced in a grove of coconut trees, jackfruits, and tamarinds, the new house plan is well suited to a small 100-tarang-wah (400 sq. m.) plot of land. The orchard offers a peaceful, warm and comfortable environment while minimizing costs. To keep within a tight 700,000-baht budget, the architect used locally sourced building materials and oversaw construction work himself.

waterside home ratchaburi waterside home ratchaburi

To enhance the view, Puchong chose a U-shaped single-story house plan that’s made up of four blocks. Where appropriate, well-positioned tall windows create a stylish look and spacious feel. The overall effect is impressive; the house is pared down to a very simple form for cool minimalist living.

He also picked a low pitch gable roof that blended perfectly with traditional houses in the neighborhood. Walk in the door, and you find open-concept floor plans that maximize the use of space and provide excellent flow from room to room. The front entry and south-facing walls that receive the afternoon sun are built of solid materials to soak up the day’s heat.

For a more comfortable living environment, north-facing walls are open to take in fresh outdoor air and beautiful views of the nearby waterway.

waterside home ratchaburi Single-Storey House

To create a buffer against direct sunlight, the south-facing block contains service areas, such as pantry, workroom and storage closets. For indoor thermal comfort, the north-facing block is cool and dry, thanks to an array of vertical fins that protect the building’s façade and create diffused light in the interior.

Not far away, a viewing platform raised on girders extends from the house all the way to the water’s edge, a nice place for walking exercise.

waterside home ratchaburiwaterside home ratchaburi Single-Storey House

Puchong explained: “The overall house plan is carefully thought out based on how frequently a space is used. Hence, the more private residential areas are put on the right side with less traffic, while semi-outdoor rooms for family socialization and houseguests are on the left.

“By design, it’s a medium-sized house plan with large house functionality. The new home for grandpa has all the conveniences for comfortable living, including a nice living room, dining room, bathroom, and bedroom all neatly integrated in one coherent whole.

Single-Storey House waterside home ratchaburiSingle-Storey House

“All the rooms have undisturbed waterfront views. High ceilings paired with tall windows make the simple house among the trees feel bigger, light and airy.

“To shorten construction time, only standard building materials were used, including the average ceiling panels, roof tiles, and sheets of glass in prefab sizes from 1.20 to 2.40 meters. This made it easy for local builders to build, easy to maintain. Plus, it saved a lot of money, and reduced waste.”

waterside home ratchaburi

Puchong said: “Using vertical louvre fins is a technique that gives the house its character. They are architectural features that blend beautifully into the overall design.

“This is evident in the way every roof rafter is positioned to align with the top end of the vertical fin. Although in different sizes, the vertical fins are placed at regular intervals, resulting in a clean and simple exterior.”

waterside home ratchaburi

All things considered, this waterside home is well planned every step of the way. All elements are arranged in such a way that best accomplishes a particular purpose.

More than anything else, it’s about living in peaceful harmony with the land, the water, the trees, even the fireflies. For Puchong, building this retirement home as a gift is absolutely the right way to say: “Grandpa, I love you.

Single-Storey House

Owner: Kumnung Yindeesuk

Architect: Puchong Satirapipatkul (OTATO Architect)

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The Making of the “Super Ung-Lo,” Ratchaburi’s Fuel-Efficient Cook Stove

The Making of the “Super Ung-Lo,” Ratchaburi’s Fuel-Efficient Cook Stove

The old-fashioned cook stove known as “Ung-Lo” has long been a manifestation of traditional knowledge of the people of Thailand. It’s fair to say that the charcoal stove can make food taste and smell better than can gas-fired cooking ranges. Precisely, nothing can replicate the natural smoky flavor of char. Nowadays, although the ubiquitous influence of gas-fired cooking ranges is felt by everybody, there’s always a demand for the charcoal stove. That said, we believe there’s at least one “Ung-Lo” in practically every household to meet every cooking need, whether it be barbecuing low and slow or cooking with high heat.

Story: Trairat Songpao /// Photography: Kosol Paipoei

Ruam Sukhawattago is owner of “Gold Stoves,” an old manufacturing factory located in Ratchaburi Province. He kindly takes a break from work to show us around and share his experience. No doubt it’s an opportunity to observe traditional knowledge at work and see how the cloning process has evolved over time to fit modern circumstances. In the process, Ruam succeeds in crafting a fuel-efficient cook stove that he calls the “Super Ung-Lo.” The product is made from materials sourced directly from the community, such as clay and rice husk ash. In all, the handcrafted cook stove takes ten days from start to finish.

Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo

How It’s Made

First of all, clay goes through a curing process to become liquefied overnight. Then the soft clay is mixed with soil and rice husk ash. The ratio of soil to ash is 2:1. Work the moistened clay mix into paste with the hands until it’s thick and malleable enough to be molded to its final shape.

Let it cure for 12 hours before attaching three cooking pot supports to the inside wall of the fire chamber. The support points should be raised slightly higher than the mouth of a stove. Rub off the rough edges on the clay surface to give it a nice finish. Cut an opening in the lower part of the wall to make an air inlet. Then, let stand for five days before putting it in a kiln, where the clay stove becomes hardened by heat.

Next is the making of a perforated clay brick or grill that separates the fire box from the ash chamber below. The lower room doubles as air inlet and ash removal port. The round grill prevents the fire from falling into the space underneath. Traditionally, a total of 61 holes are made while the brick is soft and easy to cut. The grill is fired at the same time as is the stove body.

From the kiln, the hardened earthenware is placed inside a metal casing for protection. The void space is filled with rice husk ash for heat insulation. Finally, it’s time to seal the top circumference with cement mix and install the perforated brick to complete the process.

Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo

The “Super Ung-Lo” cook stove is designed to save fuel in line with the policy of the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency. It differs from traditional cook stoves in that:

  1. Shape: It’s perfectly shaped to store thermal energy in material by raising its temperatures.
  2. Stove top circumference: The stove mouth is capable of supporting 9 sizes of cooking pots (sizes 16-32)
  3. Support points: The three support points are raised above the top circumference only slightly to minimize heat loss.
  4. Fire chamber: Relatively speaking, its fire chamber is smaller than that of a traditional cook stove, which translates into less fuel being used.
  5. Grill: The perforated clay brick is made thicker for durability. Its efficiency comes from a forceful current of air that is pulled through many smaller holes using convection.

Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo

Touring the factory, we come across so many cook stoves to the extent it gets us thinking about the future of the age-old industry. Will this occupation continue to have pride of place in modern circumstances? Interestingly enough, Ruam replies:

“At one time, the US Embassy invited me to join my counterparts from Laos and Vietnam for a meeting on Ung-Lo making in Vientiane. I represented Thailand in that event. At the time, many versions of cook stoves were discussed and compared in a bid to identify a design that produced the highest heat, had the least impact on the environment, and the most energy efficient. The Thai Ung-Lo proved to be the case. It started a fire in the least amount of time. By comparison, it produced the highest heat with water reaching the boiling point very quickly. In fact, the kettle boiled twice while the Vietnamese stove had only just started a fire.

“It turned out that theirs was a biofuel stove, which produced a lot of smoke. Experiments showed the Thai stove was made to a high quality standard. I couldn’t help wondering why the Americans were so interested in the Ung-Lo. Their answer was that 20 years from now, humans would have turned around to using traditional cook stoves due to natural gas being used up. Oils derived from petroleum would have been depleted less than 50 years from now, unlike wood which is a renewable product. So, now I understand.”

Super Ung-Lo

We came away feeling good knowing we have formed friendships and understanding with each other. It made us happy to go by the saying, “Whatever you do in life, do it for love.” Ruam Sukhawatago no doubt was of the same opinion.

For a chance to visit the “Gold Stoves” factory, or get yourself something good like a “Super Ung-Lo,” call 08-7977-8677 for information.

Source :


A Hybrid Timber and Concrete Home in the Enchanted Countryside

A Hybrid Timber and Concrete Home in the Enchanted Countryside

/ Ratchaburi, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

A striking trio of wood shingle roofs emerged as we took a turn onto a rustic country road in Ratchaburi, a province an hour’s drive from Bangkok. The hybrid home built of a mix of timber and concrete sits gracefully amid the rice fields.

Ratchaburi Home
An aerial view of the center courtyard with a sundeck that looks as if it were floating in midair. Lush foliage adds natural touches to the home and serves as a privacy screen.

Nantapong Yindeekhun and his family sojourned in this part of Ratchaburi after massive flooding hit Bangkok and the immediate vicinity in 2011. It was the love for the pleasant aspects of the countryside that eventually led to the decision to put in a home here.

To accommodate the needs of every family member, the new house took up a large space. For privacy, all the rooms are quite separate from one another, and yet easily accessible via a system of sheltered corridors.

On the whole, the outdoor living room is cool and comfortable, thanks to a rock garden in the center courtyard canopied by overhanging trees. Viewed from above, lush foliage act as a curtain for privacy adding a calm and peaceful atmosphere to a home office on the ground floor.

Ratchaburi Home

Ratchaburi Home

Ratchaburi Home
The combined workroom and sitting spaces boast clean, uncluttered design with an emphasis on space optimization.

The interior wall has textured concrete finishes in subdued greens.

The mezzanine cabin bedroom comes adequately sized and boasts the rustic feel of an attic-style living space.

One of the upstairs rooms has a bench seat by the balcony. Nearby, a flight of stairs leads to a sleeping room on the mezzanine.

The center courtyard hemmed in by the passage lies within easy reach, while long roof overhangs protect the walkway and exterior walls from the elements.

The sheltered corridor and balcony systems rest firmly on cantilever beams, a rigid body supported at one end and extends out over open space. It’s a cost-effective building strategy and makes good architectural sense.

A peaceful rock garden is accessible via the entry area on the ground floor. Trees planted at a good distance from one another keep the courtyard in shade for much of the day.


The designer explained: “I think cantilever beams are like bonuses that the main structure has to offer. They eliminate the need for extra foundations and save time. Supported by the main structure, the balconies and corridors are 1.50-meters wide. At the same time, the building envelope boasts the beautiful rustic appeal of the rice granary in former times.”

Ratchaburi Home
The front façade has a flight of stairs on the left side leading to a guest reception room on the second floor. Overhead, extended eaves spreading in all directions of hip roof design shelter the home from the harsh sun and rain.

A private library offers plenty of reference materials and tools needed to pursue a career in design and technology. The book collection is protected by a wood shingle roof, while glass walls allow abundant natural light.

According to Nantapong, the house is built for the most part of untreated lumber for the simple reason. It’s less expensive than treated wood, and there’s no exposure to harmful chemicals. Its durability relies on the quality of the wood itself.

Take for example Takhian-thong timber (scientific name: Hopea odorata) that’s mainly used in this project. This kind of timber has stood the test of time. It’s widely used in building boat piers and can tolerate years of rain and sunshine.

The spacious kitchen makes use of a clean design to showcase the natural texture of bare concrete finishes. Floor tiles in shades of black add interest to the well-ventilated space designed to make pungent odor go away quickly.


“For the time being, I am commuting between my home in the city and this country hideaway. One day, should I grow tired of living in the city, this is definitely the place I want to be. It is beautiful living out here. In the cold season, natural daylight is just about right, warm and comfortable. You just have to see it yourself,” said the homeowner/designer.


In the fewest possible words, it is where the modern meets the charm of rustic life, which gives this hybrid timber and concrete home in Ratchaburi a warm and humble feel like no other.

Ratchaburi Home
A small wood bridge leads to the serene backyard and, beyond, a home office area and the library right above it. Plans are afoot to turn this outdoor space into a garden.

Owner/Designer: Nantapong Yindeekhun

Visit the original Thai article…


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