Blog : stilt house

Baan Lek Villa: A House-Cum-Homestay in Chanthaburi

Baan Lek Villa: A House-Cum-Homestay in Chanthaburi

This is a stilt house design where the contemporary style merges with rural vernacular in Chanthaburi. It’s built on the concept of home with a dual nature – a villa-cum-homestay. The design pays particular attention to the simple life and harmony with the surroundings, plus good positioning in relation to light and wind patterns makes it more comfortable to live.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Wuthikorn Sut // Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul

Baan Lek Villa is the work of “Kaew” Rinrada Nirote, homeowner and architect at GLA DESIGN STUDIO, in collaboration with designer Pitch Nimchinda. It’s intended to accommodate her family, house guests and friends of her mother (“Lek” Kuna Nirote).


Rinrada came to Bangkok to further her studies and has worked there since graduation. Little by little it dawned on her that building a new house in her native Chanthaburi would be a good idea. It would give her a place to stay and a small office away from the city. She wanted a design that looked simple yet attractive, kept within the budget, and blended into the community.


The result is a home that merges with the surrounding countryside. Simple house design offers two distinctly different zones – private and public areas. The living space is raised up on piles, while the ample multi-use area underneath it is meant for dining and receiving guests.


Sharing her slice of paradise, Rinrada says that nowadays more people are yearning for a simple way of living. Advances in technology have made it possible for us live anywhere and still be able to work. What we need is a case for carrying clothes and a few personal belongings, plus a portable computer. Even better if you have a place of your choice that helps you relax in nature. Intended to make our breaks truly refreshing in the countryside, this house was complete only recently. So far it has received many guests and friends of her mother and brother.

“We didn’t intend to make it a family business. I was into hotel designing to begin with. Now that I have a house of my own, Mom has invited her friends over. They loved it and spread the good word. So we thought the time was ripe to provide the accommodation of guests. It’s important that they get to experience the relaxing side of Chantaburi town,” she said.


What makes this house unique is the architectural detail that’s right for the climate of Thailand. The design takes into account seasonal variations, such as sunlight and wind patterns, to create a comfortable environment. Rinrada got the inspiration for the multi-use ground floor from “Have you eaten yet?” a traditional expression of goodwill that Thais say as a sign of welcome. This explains why a dining table set and kitchen counter are there. The area doubles as waiting room for people who drop by for a visit just like old times.

Walk up the stairs and you come to a more private area of the house, which consists of a large balcony and main living quarters. Overall, the building is made of concrete that works well with beautiful wood accents. To make the building appear lightweight, the entire floor of the overhanging balcony is made of steel framework. Taken as a whole, it’s a perfect mix of concrete, steel and clever design that lets the beauty of natural wood stand out.


For an aesthetic appeal, the ground floor is covered to some extent by eggshell pebble pavers that seamlessly connect with the surrounding landscape. The garden sits in the shade for much of the day thanks to the house being positioned on the western side of land. The fact that it’s located in the further reach also leaves plenty of extra room available for future projects. For the time being, Rinrada intends to turn the front yard into an ample garden filled with large trees, shrubs and natural light.


Most importantly, Rinrada says it’s the understanding of the context that sets the main idea about good house design. Appropriate orientation involves more than just the sun’s path or seasonal wind patterns. Every little detail must be taken into account. This modest home is designed to blend with the environment and other key attributes that have made Chanthaburi town famous. It merges with rural vernacular and sprawling fruit orchards. It’s built of material that’s available locally, reclaimed lumber included. All told, it’s one that stands in perfect harmony with the community.

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Modern Thai House Celebrates Traditional Charm

Modern Thai House Celebrates Traditional Charm

Looking anything but traditional, this modern house celebrates the airy ambience emblematic of Thai-style architecture.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Design: Pises Isarangkool Na Ayutthaya, Itirit Hatairatana




Her beloved Thai-style home was damaged by massive flooding that inundated much of Thailand’s Central Plains in 2011. Love never dies. The owner had it torn down to make room for an entirely new home with all the charm and character of Thai-style residential architecture.

“She requested stilt house design with three bedrooms,” said Pises Isarangkool Na Ayutthaya, one of the architects on the team. “Much of the timber was recycled from the old house and put to good use in the new, and she didn’t want air conditioning at all.”




Fulfilling the owner’s needs, the team of architects came up with house-on-stilts design with extended overhangs. It was crafted of a mix of concrete and steel beams for durability. Proper building orientation allowed the new home to reap the full health benefits from cool breezes blowing in all day from a nearby canal. The architects put in large openings, such as sliding doors and windows, along the sidewall facing the waterway. In the meantime, air vents are put in on the opposite side to facilitate natural air circulation in and around the building. In so doing, they were able to eliminate the needs for mechanical air conditioning entirely.

To ensure nothing goes to waste, timber and other leftovers from the old house were adapted for reuse in new purposes, such as ceiling panels, windows, handrails, and benches, even kitchen cupboards. Reclaimed timber with weathered looks not only added classic appeal to the new house, but also served as sentimental reminders of the old building that had been the family home for many years prior.

The new house may look anything but traditional. But like Thai-style homes of the past, this one is designed for the Tropical climate and well positioned to maximize certain aspects of natural surroundings, from street appeal to views of the nearby waterway.

Part of the air vents designed to promote natural air circulation.
Part of the air vents designed to promote natural air circulation.
An array of wood cabinet shutters was adapted from old folding doors before the flood hit in 2011.
An array of wood cabinet shutters was adapted from old folding doors before the flood hit in 2011.




Tropical Stilt House with a Modern Aura

Tropical Stilt House with a Modern Aura

Like a trend that never goes out of style, this Tropical house on stilts perfectly blends tradition with the aura of modernity. Check this out.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamlich /// Photography: Piyawut Srisakul /// Style: Pakawadee Pahulo /// Design: Kyai Nuichan




A handsome new home is starkly juxtaposed with a quaint old house on the same piece of real estate. The agreeable contrast is the brainchild of two longtime friends: Apinan Makchuay, the owner and engineer, and Kayi Nuichan, the architect.

Apinan has always wanted to put in new house here. He felt it was the most comfortable place to live. The two buddies have worked together to satisfy the housing needs of their clients. This time they put their heads together to satisfy their specific lifestyle needs.

Kayi came up with house-on-stilts design to emulate the existing old-fashioned home his friend already had. He wanted Apinan to feel easily adjusted to new conditions that came with new design. The result was a combination of tradition and modern design trends. The new house has a double-layer roof designed for the Tropical climate, while the interior is separated into different modules conveniently linked by a patio. It’s made light and airy in keeping with the main attribute of stilt houses common throughout the Tropics.

Like old times, the owner spends the daytime on the poolside patio and only goes into the rooms at nightfall. As the puts it, that is the traditional way of reaping the full benefits of the Tropical climate.



The new house comes complete with three bedrooms, living room, workspace, dining area and kitchen. To shade it against the sun, the two friends managed to keep many existing trees on the property. Over time nature regained its place adding a soothing tropical ambience the old-meets-new scenario.

The house with a distinctive atmosphere took a long time in the making. It’s clear the two buddies have wanted it to be an enchanting place to live — one that’s perfect beyond words.





Sustainable Living in a Tropical House

Sustainable Living in a Tropical House

No air conditioning, no TV, no problem. Introducing a Tropical house that celebrates green living in ways that are quintessentially Thai.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Ajchara Jeenkram /// Photography: Apilak Suksai, Pratya Chankong




The allure of an enchanting Tropical ambience is reason enough for a couple from far away to call Thailand home. This modest house belongs to Alisa Tang, a journalist with Thomson Reuter, and her other half, photographer/graphic designer Landry Dunand.

Call it serendipity, perhaps? US-born Alisa returned home to the learn more about her Thai roots, but ended up staying after falling in love with Bang Nam Phueng, a Bangkok suburb renowned for a green lifestyle and plenty of smiles. What a difference a location made! It didn’t take long before the couple decided to put in a home and got it ready in time to welcome their baby girl.





The house on stilts blends well with the Tropical climate and ambience of an orchard by the water’s edge. Living spaces are assigned to the upper floor, while the lower level is set aside for Landry’s photo studio and still has plenty of room left.

The absence of mechanical air conditioning or even TV speaks to a strong resolve to contribute in their small ways towards reducing carbon footprint. The signs of sustainable living are evident in a sawdust toilet and the use of solar energy for water heating. Bicycles provide clever alternatives to spending time wasted on long commutes.

The wooden house was crafted by local carpenters, who were expert in building orientation for the hot and humid climate. With a knowledge of wind and sun directions, they were able to align it to reap every health benefit the already serene location had to offer. High ceilings made for a comfy, airy interior, while thermal comfort gave it a warm and inviting appeal. A secret to growing a happy family, this modest home is one that takes sustainable living to the next level.




7 Extraordinary Types of Stilt Houses Found in the ASEAN

7 Extraordinary Types of Stilt Houses Found in the ASEAN

Because of unique landscape and climatic factors, our ancestors in Southeast Asia designed and built stilt houses, and they came in a variety of styles. From houses in Inle Lake to earthquake-resistant structures in Indonesia, from a “bomb village” in Laos to the traditional Thai house, the stilt house is one way people have come to live with nature. Let’s check it out!


Stilt Houses in Inle Lake / Myanmar

The traditional houses in Inle Lake, Shan state, Myanmar was built by local people. There is a population of 70,000 people living in four cities bordering the lake, in numerous small villages along the lake’s shores, and on the lake itself. Housing there provides some good examples of how people live with water.

Stilt Houses in Inle Lake, Myanmar / Photo:
Stilt Houses in Inle Lake, Myanmar / Photo By 3coma14 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Bahnar Rong and Ede Long House / Vietnam

The Bahnar, Giarai, and Ede are 3 ethnic groups who live in the central highlands of Vietnam, and their houses are extraordinary examples of native architecture. In the center of their communities, the Bahnar and Giarai build strikingly tall houses called “Rong,” to show off the status of the village, while the Ede build very long houses which serve extended families. Each type of structure sits on low stilts and is made of wood and bamboo.

Bahnar Rong, Vietnam / Photo by By User:Doron (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Ede Long House, Vietnam / Photo:


Tongkonan, South Sulawesi / Indonesia

The distinctive point of these “stilt houses” is not stilts, but rather their unique roof shape, which originated in an ancient royal Chinese boat design. The wooden construction used to assemble the house with tongue and groove techniques without nails. Most of them have been built more than one century. The Tongkonan custom house has been listed as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site since 2010.

Tongkonan, Indonesia / Photo by 22Kartika (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Nias Traditional House, Bawömataluo / Indonesia

Nias Island has some oval-shaped, steep-roofed wooden houses on stilts. These structures, able to withstand powerful earthquakes, are built without the use of nails.

Nias Traditional House, Indonesia / Photo:
Nias Traditional House, Indonesia / Photo:


Bomb Village / Laos

Unexploded bombs were recycled as many ways in the Hmong village of Phonsavan. You’ll see innovative ideas for how to bring this weapon into everyday use in such items as boats, flower pots, garden decoration, and house stilts. Oh, didn’t you know? Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world. During the Vietnam War 270 million cluster bombs were dropped in Laos, and about 80 million of them did not explode.

Bomb Village, Laos / Photo:

Photo: Mark Watson,
Photo: Mark Watson,
Photo: Mark Watson,

Traditional Thai House / Thailand

Now, back to the past: there are many reasons traditional Thai houses have often built facing out towards rivers, or even over them. Raising a house on stilts provides  semi-outdoor space underneath, which can be used for storage of tools or agricultural equipment, eating meals, social activities, or to avoid being flooded out during the rainy season.

Photo by Rithirong Chanthongsuk
Photo by Aphirux Suksai