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Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Traditional Cluster Homes

Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Traditional Cluster Homes

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Sarayut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham / Styling: Worawat /

Like a journey back in time, here’s a modern tropical house with the charm of yesteryear. It’s a complete renovation project inspired by the cluster homes characteristic of traditional Thai ways of life. Built with the future in mind, the old family home is lovingly restored to answer the lifestyle needs of the three generations who live here. Plus, it blends a beautiful lush green garden and innovative building materials.

Extended families have long been a pillar of Thai culture. Back in the day, when a couple joined in matrimony, traditionally it was the groom who moved into the home of the bride. As the family grew, it was time to build a new home nearby, usually on the same property.

In the same way, this add-on unit is well suited to the purpose. The result is an extended family home based on cluster homes design that’s the heart of family life.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

Prior to being renovated, the two-story home had stood on this 200-sq-wah (800 sq.m.) lot for about 20 years.

Rated structurally sound, it was capable of accomplishing further improvements. Hence, a complete remodeling project was undertaken so that three generations could live together and yet enjoy the privacy and comfort of home.

Extended family living offers several advantages, among them a close support structure and care for the wellbeing of all family members.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House DesignA Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

The redesigned home plan boasts a peaceful courtyard with swimming pool enclosed by the walls of a large L-shaped building. There’s a passageway that allows access between the two residential units on either side, while parts of the upper floors are reserved for future use.

The connected wings are interactive communities. In fact, they physically exist as two separate houses ready to change hands at some future time, which explains an empty space lying in between.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

The ground floor of what was once the family home now houses a reception area with a gym, dining room and small kitchen. The second floor is a private residential home with Mom and Dad’s bedroom and a sitting area conveniently linked with the other building.

The newly added extension comprises three all-inclusive residential units. Clearly separated from one another, they are accessible by a roofed platform along the outside of the house.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House DesignA Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

Although the homeowners like traditional Thai cluster homes, it makes perfect sense to opt for new construction materials that are long-lasting and suitable for modern applications.

They include building walls with aluminum stud framing and faux wood siding panels, which are more appropriate than real wood for air conditioning.

To protect the home from the dangers of extreme heat, exterior brick walls are decorated with engineered wood cladding products.

And for a more natural look, clear protective finishes are preferred over paints, while aluminum trim provides additional decoration along the edges.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

Doors and windows are made of aluminum that looks and feels like wood. Together they bring a beautiful design element to the project. Plus, aluminum is more durable and functional than real wood.

Overall, a hybrid of steel frames, timber and concrete construction enhances the home’s contemporary appeal, while the finishing and decoration is typical of Thai residential architecture.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House DesignA Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

While the children enjoy privacy in the comfort of their home, they have time to hang out together, shoot the breeze, exercise and share family meals with Mom and Dad.

Here, open concept floor plans offer many benefits. They keep the house well ventilated, help beat daily stress, and eliminate the need for air conditioning.

To get rid of food smells fast, the kitchen is at the furthest end, where Mom prepares both international dishes and authentic Thai recipes, especially the southern kind that only Mom knows best.

All things considered, it’s about mealtime socialization that’s the center of family life. It’s something they do together to stay connected.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

Architect: Pipol Likanapaisal and Apichart Rojthoranin (Space Story Studio)

Quiet Interaction of Landscape Design and Architecture

Quiet Interaction of Landscape Design and Architecture

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn, Nantiya /

Attaporn Kobkongsanti, his wife Romanee, and their young son Phumi have moved into their new house with the charming landscape design, which took six years to design and build. Now it shows a perfect picture, lofty white walls rising above its inspired design and meticulous construction.

“As an architect myself, I imagined a courtyard here. Having worked with Boonlert, I felt our styles were really in sync, and after a few iterations we settled on our fourth design, which is what you see here” Attaporn, who is the owner not only of the house, but also TROP : Terrains + Open Space, is referring to Boonlert Hemvijitraphan of Boondesign Co., Ltd., his co-designer.


Boonlert adds, The relationship between the house and nature is always at the core of our design work. The owner’s imagination is what makes this one unique.

“We began with a set of high walls with the separate spaces between them assigned to different uses. We call this concept “series of wall.”

TROP Landscape Architects,

To the architects, “series of wall” is expressed with four very tall walls set in parallel that establish the frame of this 3-storey house.

The walls are set between 2.5 and 5 meters apart, protruding out beyond the main body of the house, with varied height and length according to functionality of the spaces between.

Floor 1 holds living room, dining area, and kitchen. Husband and wife have a workroom on the 2nd floor, and bedrooms are on the 3rd.

The personalities of the in-house landscape design differ according to position. At the east entrance we see a mixture of kitchen vegetable and decorative garden they call the “moon garden,” since a moonrise is especially gorgeous from there.

Special attention was paid to its beauty, as it is the first garden we see when getting out of the car and the last before leaving.

Next we encounter a triangular courtyard, inserted in the living room! This is an architectural artifice to bring light into a darker area. It opens the living room right out on the swimming pool and at the same time welcomes us into the room, creating an intriguing space facing both inward and outward.

Closing off areas between walls before assigning them functions as rooms gave the look of, as the architects put it, “putting people in the in-between spaces.”

Areas of use are rectangular, enclosed lengthwise between the walls. The front and rear of the house are all floor-to-ceiling clear glass, for a free, airy feeling everywhere, the natural world outside shining through into the home. The walls are thick, blocking the sun’s heat from the north and south.

The glass sides bring in the sun’s natural light as it moves from east to west, keeping the house bright and cheerful all day.

TROP Landscape Architects, TROP Landscape Architects,

The walls also facilitate inner courtyards that are part and parcel of the livable space and bring the outside garden in, using the owner’s unique talents and experience to incorporate landscape architecture into the building itself.

“This wasn’t easy,” said Attaporn. “We wanted it all, here, there, everywhere, but when you do it you always worry it might be too much! We went back and forth, and in end we chose the most orderly form.”

Attaporn Kobkongsanti Attaporn KobkongsantiAttaporn Kobkongsanti

In the kitchen there’s yet another large courtyard. This one helps draw light and clean air into the various rooms from the topmost down to the ground floor, and connects with a forest garden behind the house to the west.

Between house and fence is a copse of trees that filters the afternoon sun, a space used just to relax, or perhaps for a party.

The L-shaped swimming pool is landscaped in with a neat wooden porch that fits perfectly with the tall trees Attaporn has freely planted all about. The landscape design also connects to the living room through a large clear glass door, creating even more unity between indoors and outdoors.

Attaporn KobkongsantiAttaporn Kobkongsanti Attaporn Kobkongsanti

The house glass reflects the darker forested area in a wavy green. Our landscape architect compares it to an abstract painting by nature itself, saying it took away any need for hanging pictures on the walls, which are bare, like a white canvas, waiting for nature as the single artist to brush it with light.

Architect: Boondesign Co., Ltd.

Landscape Architect: TROP : Terrains + Open Space

A Modern Home Where Traditions Make Comfortable

A Modern Home Where Traditions Make Comfortable

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Anupong Chaisukkasem /

This contemporary Thai house is hemmed in by factories, but its clever design leaves one feeling unconfined, almost as if outdoors, with landscaping inserted right into the house interior and its sporty swimming pool. Mitigation of unpleasant outside sounds and scents is an even higher priority than the outward appearance of the house.

Advanced ideas and innovations from the West work best in Asian countries when adapted to localities and geographic conditions, so those innovations take on unique personalities of their own.

Vernacular architecture usually speaks directly to comfort and realities of local ways of life. In a traditional Thai house, for instance, one central concept is to have an open interior space, often with a high-ceilinged open thai thun area below the house that blocks the sun and catches the seasonal breeze.

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Speaking to architect Surat Pongsupan of Greenbox Design, Ms. Aim, the owner of this house said:

“I want comfortable living Thai-style, with an open tai thun and such good ventilation that air conditioning is hardly needed.”

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

The owner’s close connection to the factory business and her desire for a short commute resulted in this closed-in location, where the architect’s ingenuity resulted in a truly striking design.

To counter the closed-in feeling, the house has entryways on two sides, one the drive into the front from the factory buildings, the second a walkway across the canal in back.

Just strolling through the house is pleasant. The architect explained:

“I designed a semi-open space where the landscaping actually reaches into the pool and the house itself. Bedrooms, closets, and service areas, generally not use in the middle of the day, are positioned to block the house’s common areas from the factory environment.

“This was a first priority, and the appearance of the house followed from that.”

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

House orientation takes into consideration the directions and force of sun and wind in the humid tropical climate.

Walls to the west and south are opaque; There are two levels of roofing with a gap between facilitating heat insulation and ventilation. The four-sided, gable-free roof is lighter, slighter, and more open than usual, and skylights are used to bring morning light into bedrooms, a nod to the early-rise lifestyle of the owner.

“The general house plan puts the living room in front, with a high ceiling. I placed the living room next to the garden and pool, with a full sliding glass wall opening up a horizontal view and drawing fresh air in,” the architect continued.

“Ceilings in the kitchen and dining room are high and open, giving the feeling of the traditional tai thun, as these rooms are used for every meal and common family activities. These rooms also open out onto the garden and swimming pool.”

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Upstairs, a clear glass wall offers a view all around the house. The corridor connecting bedrooms shades the pool below, making for comfortable midday swimming.

There is an overall impression of harmony. Primary colors are gray-white and a soft, warm natural wood color. Indoors get a lot of sunlight, but trees give it a fresh green tint, especially the brush cherry tree planted in the middle of the house.

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition


The owner concluded, “We like being contemporary, but also being Thai. The openness of kitchen and pool is great. The soft sound of running water is sweet.

“My husband likes to listen to songs, and has speakers all over the house, making for a relaxing atmosphere. It’s good for the kids to become accustomed to living with nature, which is why we emphasize the value of these common areas so much .”

We call our home “Viva House,” with the hope that all living here will have long and happy lives.

Architect: Surat Pongsupan of Greenbox Design (

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Modern Thai House Adapts to the New EraModern Thai House Adapts to the New Era

In Nature’s Peaceful EmbraceIn Nature’s Peaceful Embrace

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era

/ Lopburi, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun, Sarayut Sreetip-ard / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul / Styling: Jeedwonder /

Deep study of local architectural lore and analysis of locale-specific environmental and climatic conditions combined to create this house of fluid chic modern lines mixed into a look that clearly suggests the traditional Thai house.

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era
Thick walls around the house match the design of the building itself. Note the fine interplay of diagonals between the wall and roof.

The owner wanted to provide his parents with a home where they could enjoy the ways of life of a new era. His first thought was to create a modern-style house with all customary functionality.

Combining the good points of old and new, the result is a single-story resort-style house with a contemporary look and a relaxed atmosphere reinforced by a swimming pool.

With a usable area of 700 square meters, the house takes the shape of the letter “U,” filling a wide space the architect tightened up for the sake of intimacy: family members feel in closer touch with each other.

The openness makes for good air circulation, yet acts as a divider between common areas of the living and dining room and a more private side. The roof reminds us of a traditional gabled Thai house, but the gable is clearly steeper and higher.

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era

“Thai gabled roofs come in many forms,” said the architect, “but if the gable faced any way but front it wouldn’t be pretty, since it would make roof look unbalanced. From the side the sharply-sloping “lean-to roof” offers a rectangle.

“The house faces south to catch the wind, but also gets sun there, so the gable has to provide shade, and the eaves extend further out. Especially at the end the roof rises even higher, providing more welcoming open space in front of the house, an eye-catching feature with a contemporary look that also provides needed functionality.”

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era

The high gables not only help protect against southern exposure to sun, but also build a characteristic aesthetic of this home continuous with interior building design elements.

The “U” shape leaves a space in the middle used as an open courtyard that holds the swimming pool and a gorgeous tree. Every point in the house looks out on it through the surrounding glass walls, connecting everyone with the courtyard and with each other.

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era
A pattern on the glass door with black laser-cut MDF paneling that helps filter light adds an air of mystery to the house interior.

From the exterior, the architectural design flows inside into the interior in a play of shapes and lines.

The interior ceiling opens up into the gable-shaped steel frame where the hardness of the steel is reduced with the use of wood, again reminding us that this is a Thai home.

The furniture blends right in, shapes with modern simplicity and a lot of wood in the mix adding a sense of relaxation to this Modern Thai House.

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era
Dining corner and pantry with sliding walls that close or open wide to make the space one with the porch and swimming pool
Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era
Open, airy walls framed with black aluminum and clear glass rising up to the ceiling, showcasing the continuity between the internal and external roof structure
Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era
On the bedroom-side, rooms open to the east, onto the pool, nice catching the morning light. A walkway edging the pool shortcuts from the bedroom porch directly into the common area.

Modern Thai House Adapts to the New Era


Landscape Architect: Lana Studio

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In Nature’s Peaceful Embrace
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Surrounded by Warmth and Happiness
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Retirement Home Perfectly Serves a New Life in Ratchaburi

Retirement Home Perfectly Serves a New Life in Ratchaburi

/ Ratchaburi, Thailand /

/ Story: Nathanich Chaidee / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Sittisak Namkham / Styling: Tippaya Tarichkul /

Their retirement home epitomizes the “new life” many dreams of. One such is Lisa Thomas, former manager of a famous hotel chain in Thailand who retired and moved with her mother to Ratchaburi.

“It was love at first sight. Our first arrival in Ratchaburi was, like this, in the rice growing season. I love the inexplicable green of rice paddies: somehow it always brings me a peaceful feeling.”

Lisa’s first impressions resulted in her choice of Ratchaburi Province as the site of this family home, but there were other reasons: convenience of being only two hours from Bangkok, good public utilities, and, importantly “the green horizon, without the view of skyscrapers from our old condo.”

Helping to bring Lisa’s dreams to reality were Research Studio Panin Architects Assistant Professor Dr Tonkao Panin and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita. Their design began with their listening intently and paying attention.

“We’re satisfied if we can manage to translate the everyday morning-to-evening life of a homeowner into each angle and corner of our house plan.

“Houses spring up gradually, resulting from our conversations with the owner. Solutions come from knowing how to step back and fully understand what we are listening to.”

retirement home

This design answered fundamental home needs including functionality of use; features gradually added to support the owner’s natural habits, and principles of comfortable living such as “cross ventilation,” which allows air to move freely through the building.

A half-outdoor deck set in the middle of the house greets entering visitors, also capturing breezes from all directions as they transit from outside to inside.

More than simply a stop on the way in, it’s a comfortable space for the owners to relax.

retirement home

The building of this retirement home is laid out to follow the contour of the property, along a natural irrigation canal. To echo this locational context, a swimming pool is set parallel to the canal.

The house faces west, but the problem of day-long heat is addressed with a basic structure of steel-reinforced concrete and an extended deck that widens to match the reach of the sun.

Eaves and verandahs have a steel framework that nicely frames the surrounding scenery.

retirement home

retirement home

retirement home

“Without Lisa’s daily life here, the house would have no meaning,” the architect added.

“It awoke different levels in this space both from the perspective of form and in the actual space itself.”

The location of this retirement home is in harmony with the nature of her life. In the everyday living areas – kitchen, dining room, living room – a high ceiling is called for.

Louvers are set in narrow dividing panels between doors and windows for good ventilation throughout the day, bringing air into the central entrance hall and on into Lisa and her mother’s bedrooms in back, upstairs and downstairs.

retirement home

retirement home

“Time is the important thing now,” added Lisa.

“I just want to use my time in the right way, doing what makes me happy, and part of that is returning to live with my mother, bringing back the feeling of life as a kid. The house is a safe space, recalling things that are engraved in my heart forever.”

And it also memorializes the friendship felt by architects for the homeowner in a house that has created lasting happiness.

Owner: Lisa Thomas

Architect: Reserch Studio Panin by Associate Professor Dr Tonkao Panin & Thanakarn Mokkhasamit

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A Large White House with a Modern Oriental Flavor

A Large White House with a Modern Oriental Flavor

 / Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs:  Sitthisak Namkham, Nantiya Busabong /

This beautiful place is home to a large, multigenerational family. With family members from 8 to 84 years old, what stories it tells! Here belongings passed down across nearly a century give a sense of modern oriental flavor to every corner of its design.

Modern House
Patama Roonrakwit, the architect and the owner (second from the right), and her family

Long-time community worker Patama Roonrakwit, CASE Studio architect who designed and owns the house, created it from her knowledge of the ways and tastes of all its residents in their old home.

In a unique adaptation and fundamental design difference here, she preserved an old wooden house Pong’s grandfather had built, hiring Chinese craftsmen to raise it up to the second floor of the central building so family members could continue to experience its warmth.

Besides this, the home contains the offices of CASE Studio, Ed The Builder/Contractor, her brother’s tour company, sister’s music school, and guest rooms where friends can stay.


All this had to fit in a space of 1 Rai (1600 sq.m.), a narrow, long north-to-south lot.  The building divides into seven sections, some of which are open, verandah-like corridors that give an angular definition to the space, trapping the wind and making for good air circulation throughout.

Modern House
Wooden slats guard against the sun and wind and create visual harmony.
Modern House
The lower floor is a multipurpose area, adapting the Thai traditional “tai thun” space below a house to fit modern lifestyles.
Modern House
A nearly hundred-year-old wooden house is set as the very center of the main home, and contains a shrine holding Buddha images.

Bedrooms are intentionally not large, so as to encourage residents to come out and socialize in common spaces. Throughout the home, doors open onto walkways sloping down to the swimming pool.

Modern House
The swimming pool parallels the central verandah on the west side, which is set back a bit to reduce heat entering the central building.


The charm of the wooden house and the heirloom furniture gives the three generations of the Roonrakwit family and their regular guests the sense of a home that has opened its doors to welcome change while incorporating the experiences of them all at this important time.


An elderly person’s room, with special adaptations: bathrooms with no steps, support railings, and adjustable wash basins.
An elderly person’s room, with special adaptations: bathrooms with no steps, support railings, and adjustable wash basins.

Owner: Roonrakwit family

Architect: CASE Studio

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ReGEN House: Modern Home, Thai Concept, Great for Family Members of All Ages

ReGEN House: Modern Home, Thai Concept, Great for Family Members of All Ages

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: foryeah! / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Chalermwat Wongchompoo /

ReGEN House,” Pankwan Hudthagosol’s home, was designed as a modern residence for a multigenerational family. Built on the same property as his father’s house, its concept echoes his father’s belief that the gift of warmth and closeness can show us how to think and live, and both welcomes and provides a foundation in life for young Mena, the newest family member. It began with a great design from EKAR Architects.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects
The four-storey building on about ¼ acre of land has an interior space of 1600 meters. Its L-shaped layout opens on a green courtyard facing the forest-like garden at “Grandpa’s” house, connecting views for the people of three generations.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

The first floor holds a carport, maid’s bedroom, and rooms for swimming pool equipment and other services.

The heart of the house is the second storey, where a wide balcony/deck taking up a full half of the floor space is used for family recreational activities.

This floor is designed to give the sense of being at ground level, as it reaches out to a “green roof” planted with ground cover seemingly floating atop a gazebo rising from the garden below, and with a swimming pool right there giving the feeling of an old-time streamside home.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

The third floor includes a bedroom and workroom with large glass windows offering a panoramic view of Grandpa’s house and the big garden. The fourth floor is all about young Mena and her bright future.

The 4-storey height of the building gave the designers the opportunity to show differing siding materials on each floor, which they did using synthetic wood, stone, tile with stone designs, and glass.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

If we look from the outside at the way the floors overlap, we get the impression of being a moderately sized house set inside a large one. Each floor has a self-contained design similar to a penthouse, including bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen of its own, so the whole house is a bit like a four-storey apartment building.

To give a sense of spaciousness, doors and windows were put in only where necessary, but they can be conveniently opened and shut to give privacy.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

This house shows how modern design can be used to catch the spirit of the traditional Thai family residence of earlier days where many generations lived together, as modern architecture directly inserted into an urban environment manages to beautifully preserve a truly Thai way of life.

Owner: Pankwan Hudthagosol

Architect: EKAR

Interior Architect: Define Studio

Landscape Architect: Grounds play Studio

Structural Engineer: Sommuek Apiraksa

Visit the original Thai version.

REGEN HOUSE บ้านดีไซน์โมเดิร์น แต่แนวคิดไทย อยู่ได้ทุกวัยในครอบครัว

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An Enchanting Rural Lodge in Prachin Buri

An Enchanting Rural Lodge in Prachin Buri

/ Prachin Buri, Thailand /

/ Story: Panalee / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

This rural lodge, nestled in a verdant oasis, is more like a weekend home. Its nature-inspired design is so charming it’s hard not to fall in love.

The Khanti house was crafted of recycled timber from an old home in the vicinity. The first floor features a common room that doubles as lobby seating area and reading corner. The owner’s residential units are on the second floor.

Ten years back, “Art” (M.L. Apichit Vudhijaya) said that he wanted a modest, relaxed home with a seaside atmosphere.

He kept searching until he came across this piece of land on the bank of the Bangpakong in Prachin Buri Province. Needless to say, the location was as peaceful as it was pristine.

Soon he started building the dream rural lodge largely of reclaimed timber because the material wasn’t too difficult to find. The weathered look of old wood combined with other imperfections to give the building gorgeous curb appeal.

“I wanted to try living the local way and experience life the way locals see it. No air conditioning, no glass windows. The first building on the property was made of materials recycled from what used to be a schoolhouse.

“Windows came from recycling warehouses on Canals 2, 4 and 16. A local master builder named “Oy” undertook to build it from scratch,” he said.

He moved in after the first building was completed, and loved every minute of it. Impressed by the peaceful environment and unhurried, bucolic lifestyle, he decided to put in a second building two years later.

The Jakha house offers seven rooms for guest lodging on the first floor by the swimming pool. On the second floor is a spacious suite.

“Dad got rid of a Jacuzzi tub from our Bangkok home. The antique-style tub was bought new from Italy. There was no place for it after a home remodeling project, so I had it shipped here and set it up in the center of the yard.

“Wanting to keep it, I put in a canopy to protect it from dead and dried leaves. After a while, it became a familiar sight, and the weather was nice. So I had the second house put in where the tub was.

“The children came and stayed there, and the rest is history. Friends dropping in on us said it turned out to be a very romantic place,” he recalled.

Soon the two little lodges became ill-prepared to meet increasing demands. Art decided it was time he put in a third building. The new rural lodge would have two stories with a rooftop deck to take in panoramic views of the Khao Yai Mountains.

One day he came across an old home on the riverbank that was up for sale. He bought it and, had it taken apart and shipped out. The 70-year-old wooden home was given a new lease on life at a new address, this time with new roofing. Old-fashioned corrugated sheets made way for new terra cotta roof tiles.

Where appropriate, new wooden wall panels were added.


The three houses of this rural lodge represented a turning point in Art’s perspective towards property development. He sought advice from a close friend, “GobApasiri Devahastin Na Ayudhya. The two friends shared a background in the hospitality industry.

“Now I wanted four houses on the property and they would be given Buddhist names. Creative designers came up with the term “Kharawasa dharma 4”, a set of living principles based on four disciplines, namely Sajja (truth), Thamma (freedom from greed), Khanti (patience) and Jakha (generosity).

“Hence the four buildings would be named in that order. At the time, the fourth house hadn’t been built yet, as I was contemplating putting in a swimming pool. I designed the fourth building with the knowledge that I had, or lack there of. It was a terraced house design with 8 residential units,” Art said.

On completion, the latest addition named Jakha, became the first building visible from the street next to a swimming pool.

The lure of a laid-back home in the countryside can be irresistible. Nature-inspired design is so charming, it’s hard not to fall in love with it. No wonder many come away impressed by the hospitality they have experienced for during their visit. The property contributes to the local economy, as workforce is hired from within the community and local products are used.

But it’s the warmth and homey feelings of this rural lodge that have kept many coming back.



Owner: M.L. Apichit Vudhijaya

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/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Jeadwonder / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham, Piyawuth /

Young married people these days tend to move away to have children and live separately, but Chang (Somprasong Sawat) and Bua (Buachomphu Ford) have brought their families back home. Everyone living together in a warm communal atmosphere makes this big wooden house a true family home.

Mother and her younger sister live in the left wing. Behind is the parking area. Spaces are separated with drapes that can be rolled up and put away to create a common space for big family dinners.
Teak wall and outdoor connection of mother and younger sister’s house.

“We’re all one big family, Mom, my sister, and my family, which right now is me, Bua, and our three young sons. It’s comforting to have relatives nearby. Grandma and Auntie help with the grandchildren,” Chang says with a smile.

Kanika Rattanapreedakul of Spacetime Architects Co.,Ltd. designed the house: Chang had learned about her work from a magazine article about house design in New York’s Soho district, where Kanika was the single Thai woman featured among a number of Westerners.

Her design resulted in this unique 1,000 square meters big wooden house, divided into three main sections. The first part, in the center, holds the swimming pool and central area of the house: living room, dining area, and Western-style kitchen. This is everyone’s common area.

Dining area and light-use kitchen.
Chang and Bua’s parlor, used for a meeting room or just to socialize.
Fresh red tones enliven Chang and Bua’s living room.
Left: Chang’s sister’s private kingdom. Right: A glass corridor on the second floor connects Chang’s house to the central area.

A section of the lower floor is designed for parking. The mother’s bedroom on the second floor has a classic décor. A vertical garden adds a feeling of warmth. The third floor is Chang’s sister’s domain. The right wing is surfaced with aluminum paneling, for a modern, fashionable “industrial” look: the family calls it the “tin house.”

“I collect paintings, so we have a room for them; in fact the room is designed around them. I favor surrealism and expressionism. You don’t have to understand everything to appreciate the art: it’s enough for it just to have an emotional impact.”


Chang and Bua’s art-gallery bedroom connects to a spacious white bath.

The ground floor next to the pool has a reception area for guests, decorated with Chang’s art collection and next to a glass room where Bua practices yoga or sons play with friends, neighbors, and relatives their age.

The second floor is a mezzanine, with young Matt’s bedroom and a small pantry. Finally, on the third floor is Chang and Bua’s bedroom and two more small rooms for the children as they get bigger.

The design takes everyone’s needs into account in creating not only a beautifully designed and fully functional living space, but more than that, a place that brings together the love and warmth in the family, something that can’t be found anywhere else but here, their “home sweet home.”



Owner: Somprasong Sawat and Buachomphu Ford

Architect: Spacetime Architects Co.,Ltd.


Sekeping Kong Heng: A Boutique Hotel Treasures the Charm of Ipoh

Sekeping Kong Heng: A Boutique Hotel Treasures the Charm of Ipoh

/ Ipoh,  Malaysia /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

In the old town of Ipoh, a stylish boutique hotel named Sekeping Kong Heng not only blends into its historical surroundings, but also contributes to restoring all its former glory.

boutique hotel

boutique hotel


The history of Ipoh dates back to 1880 when Hakka immigrants arrived for work in tin mines and made a permanent home here. As mining industries continued on the decline, the once exuberant town was losing its luster.

A pleasant twist of fate, the waning days of Ipoh attracted the attention of many designers, who banded together to keep the old-world charm from disappearing. Giving it their best shot, they succeeded in bringing Ipoh back in the limelight.

Among the projects aimed at restoring glory to Ipoh was Sekeping Kong Heng, a small boutique hotel designed by Ng Sek San, an internationally renowned Ipoh-born architect.

The charming small hotel is tucked away on the upper floors of a three-story Colonial-era shop-house complex in the old town. The first floor is reserved for a famous local coffee shop known for a variety of Chinese-style coffees and Ipoh’s favorite dishes.

Its food menu includes the noodle dish called Hokkien Mee, satay, and spring rolls. Its existence guarantees that hotel guests will never run short of delicious foods and beverages.


boutique hotel

boutique hotel

boutique hotel

To check-in, know that the entrance to the hotel lobby is located on a small alleyway. Sekeping Kong Heng offers three types of accommodation — standard rooms, a family room and glass boxes.

With its location, hotel guests can expect the authentic Ipoh experience. They wake up each morning to the heavenly smell of coffee being brewed fresh in the shop below. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The same applies here. Come breakfast time, expect to eat with locals and like locals do. Time well spent is time spent exploring this and other alleyways a stone’s throw away.

The boutique hotel’s time-honored appeal blends seamlessly with Ipoh’s old-world ambience. It’s obvious the Ipoh-born architect has intended to keep this part of town like it has always been.

In the process, the hotel’s existing structure is left intact. A loft-style twist adds contemporary feel to the hotel’s interior, while patches of greenery adorn the exterior walls keeping the building cool.

The open-concept design provides easy access connecting the café to retail shops and a flea market nearby. The architect’s thorough understanding of Ipoh’s lifestyle is manifested in the way the boutique hotel is neatly restored. Sekeping Kong Heng now contributes in its small way to breathing new life into the old city.

boutique hotel

boutique hotel


boutique hotel



Architect: Ng Sek San of Seksan Design Landscape Architecture and Planning

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