Blog : Townhouse

Never Too Small: Renovation Gives a Townhouse the Atmosphere of Home

Never Too Small: Renovation Gives a Townhouse the Atmosphere of Home

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Nattakit Jeerapatmitee /

An old townhouse in the heart of Bangkok’s downtown has been lovingly restored in ways that adapt to changing lifestyle needs. No longer is it a stuffy, overcrowded space lacking fresh air and ventilation. A redesigned open floor plan has given it the feeling of home, a sense of belonging and purpose. Incredibly light and airy, it feels like anything but a townhouse, so to speak.

Inheriting the townhouse from his parents, the new owner has made a firm decision to renovate it to a good state of repair.

It’s the place where he lives when traveling to the city for business. Or it can be available to be rented if need be.

The task of refurbishment was given to a team of architects from the design firm OAAS. Central to their work was the creation of an open concept home plan that’s flexible for multiple uses.

townhouse

townhouse

Accordingly, the old second-floor balcony was knocked down and replaced by steel framing for a light and spacious façade.

Upstairs, the entire floor plan was revised, while the ground floor platform was raised slightly to keep it above the edge of the water during a flood.

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Never too small to make a difference, the newly refurbished townhouse stands out from the rest in that its building shell is made of air bricks that are great for natural ventilation.

The perforated bricks double as a decorative privacy screen that protects the home from prying eyes. It’s a surefire way to improve air circulation and get rid of stuffy smells, a common problem of townhouse living.

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The wooden door opens into a surprisingly peaceful semi-outdoor room aptly named “Sala”, which is Thai for garden pavilion. Albeit situated at the front of the house, it’s a private living space that conveniently connects to the sitting room and dining area lying further inside.

Beautifully designed, it calls to mind an image of a garden sitting area with a side passage for walking along.

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The overall effect is impressive. The side passage sets this townhouse apart from the others.

Since it’s often impossible to build a walkway around a townhouse, it makes perfect sense to build one on the inside that connects the garden pavilion at the front with the living room and other functions at the rear.

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There is a challenge to overcome. Because the side passage takes away a large chunk of the square footage of the house, the designers have to make a choice from a range of possibilities.

Among them, an open concept floor plan is useful in making the home feel more spacious. There’s no need for room dividers for a home theater or TV lounge since it’s never a desirable lifestyle here.

Plus, by floating furniture, the owner is free to create a more intimate atmosphere and a layout that’s capable of multiple uses.


Owner: Jiramate Chanaturakarnnon

Architect: OAAS

Design team: Sineenart Suptanon, Sirakit Charoenkitpisut, Nattakit Jeerapatmitee, Jiramate Chanaturakarnnon


The article is an excerpt from “Shophouse & Townhome”, a proudly presented publication from the “Best Home Series” under “room Books Publishing.
Available in paperback (Thai Edition) at: https://www.naiin.com/product/detail/532110
Here’s how to order online. https://www.naiin.com/how-to-buy/read/1125


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303 House: A Modern Narrow Townhouse on a Narrow Lot

303 House: A Narrow Townhome Inspired by Aircraft Interior

303 House: A Narrow Townhome Inspired by Aircraft Interior

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Nawapat Dusdul / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Tran /

An architectural practice called “Sawadeesign Studio” has applied innovative aircraft cabin ideas to give this narrow townhome a complete makeover. The small family home sits sandwiched between two low-rise buildings in the heart of Tan Binh, an urban district of Ho Chi Minh City. They named the project “303 House.”

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

Narrow townhomes are a typical housing type omnipresent throughout central Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. By law, places of residence with a narrow frontage to the street (smaller than 3 meters across, to be exact) are not permitted to have more than one level.

In this particular case, the only way to build is arrange all the usable spaces and functions on the same horizontal plane. And the result is a renovation done right in every sense of the word.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

From the outside looking in, the entire width of the house is only 2.9 meters. With the exterior walls installed, the inside space comes to just 2.7 meters wide.

Interestingly enough, well-thought-out design turns an awkward narrow plot into a single-story home that’s simple with all useable spaces giving off good vibes. The bright and airy home occupies less than 90 square meters of land.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The design duo, Doan Si Nguyen and Vo Thanh Phat, decided against the most commonly used construction technique. They proposed an alternative method aimed at reducing the amount of concrete used, an option that risked being rejected by investors from the get-go.

For indoor thermal comfort, the ceilings are made of Rockwool tole about 150 mm thick. The coated sheet metal is widely used in the storage industry and large warehouses for its excellent thermal insulation. Here, it’s used to make the interior living spaces comfortable day and night.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The contemporary home interior features mixed materials. Among them, grey plaster on the wall proves a perfect complement to gray epoxy paint on the floor. Together, they provide desirable elements for a calm, peaceful home. Everywhere, furniture made of plywood is a great way to add natural touches to the interior.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

As the architects put it, the secret to creating a healthy indoor environment lies in putting multiple layers of functional spaces in neat order to shield the home from the busy street outside. This is especially true in HCMC, where many homes are prone to suffer from the negative effects of outside noise and unrestricted growth of housing areas and commercial development.

Fascinatingly, aircraft cabin ideas came in handy for the townhome built on an extremely long and narrow plot of land. It’s reminiscent to walking along an aisle between rows of seats on an aircraft.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

There’s a paved outdoor area in front of the house entrance that provides a place to socialize. Step inside, and you come into a corridor connecting to a living area, kitchen, and laundry room. Wall-mounted storage cabinets line one side of the aisle, with beautifully organized functional spaces on the other.

There are two bedrooms with a bathroom attached tucked away in a quiet place half way down, plus a third bedroom at the rear of the house accessible by a small corridor. Where appropriate, clear roofing materials provide light for houseplants, while openings in the rooftop drive air circulation keeping the interior cool and comfortable without air conditioning.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh CityModern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The house plan is not only tailored to the specific needs of a family of three, but it’s also a well-thought-out place of abode amid the hustle and bustle of the city.

As is often the case with most urban areas, for homeowners there’s a tendency to rent out the space in front of their houses to small retailers and businesses. But the family living at 303 House doesn’t need that kind of income. They prefer to keep the door closed and enjoy privacy in the comfort of their home. Albeit small, it’s an oasis of calm — a home sweet home no doubt.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City


Architect: Sawadeesign Studio (www.sawadeesign.net)

Lead Architects: Doan Si Nguyen and Vo Thanh Phat


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Three-Storey Townhouse That Makes Space for Nature

Three-Storey Townhouse That Makes Space for Nature

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham / Styling: Jeedwonder /

Before moving into this three-storey townhouse, architect and university instructor Bhradon Kukiatnun really put his heart into the design and décor to bring about a conversation among people, animals, and things, partly intentional, partly by impulse. Here are imperfections that are either blemishes or beauty marks, depending on our viewpoint.

townhouse Architect Bhradon Kukiatnun

Bhradon’s business is booming, but designing his own house raised a tremendous number of new questions, not the least of which was how the new living space of a three-storey townhouse would accommodate his eleven cats!

“Three years ago, I bought this place new, and it took two years to fix up,” explained Bradon.

“First problem: organize storage space to hold the tremendous amount of personal stuff needed in my life while still keeping the house orderly. Then, I didn’t want a typical townhouse atmosphere, but neither should it be jarringly different.

“Part of the answer is this new façade, using a type of latticework found elsewhere in the project that fits my personal lifestyle.”

three-storey townhouse

As most townhouses add a roofed-over carport in front, Bhradon also applied his design idea to this requirement.

“There’s more than meets the eye in that front view: a lot of the functions are hidden,” said the architect.

“To really express myself, I had to go back and look at fundamentals with flexibility and an open mind.

“The space in front is limited. Would I rather have a carport there, or a garden? OK, garden: so I designed a garden where I could park the car! Quite different from having a carport decorated with plants.”

three-storey townhouse

three-storey townhouse

The design of this three-storey townhouse called for no structural alterations, but space was apportioned differently. The ground floor holds the living room, dining area, and pantry; second floor, a small bedroom and a workroom; third floor, the master bedroom.

“Inside, you might mistake a door for a wall, or vice versa: my overall concept was to focus on highlighting specific points, making them fit in by hiding some element,” Bhradon explained.

“In the living room, the TV wall is highlighted by hiding its functionality in a wall; the use of covering elements gives the feeling of being in a cave.”

three-storey townhouse

During our conversation Ando, Bhradon’s first adopted cat snuggled up as if to join the group.

“I learned a lot from raising cats,” he said blissfully.

“They don’t think like people. Sometimes our human knowledge drowns out our instincts. But a cat! It wants to sit, lie wherever, just does what it wants.

“This allows single things to have more than one function: TV cabinet or sitting place? Or, for us, a storage spot. Think outside the box.”

three-storey townhouse

three-storey townhouse

three-storey townhouse

We urban dwellers all long for nature. Bhradon answered this with a garden area in the rear of this three-storey townhouse, as he put it: “I think gardens nourish the psyche, so I put a little green in the house, along with a small guppy pond, and it’s a perfect spirit-refresher.

“I like the ‘wabi-sabi’ way of design; the beauty of imperfection, of real life,” he implied. “Real life involves rust; it involves injuries. Can’t eliminate these, right?”

As Bhradon’s speaking voice gradually softened, an unspoken conversation brought into focus the future of the house, the man, the cats, and whatever might lie ahead for them.

“Recently, my cat Kuma died, and I miss her every day. But through the sorrow of loss we see the beauty of living. Being natural is to be incomplete, and we have to live with the things that happen.”


Owner/Architect: Bhradon Kukiatnun


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The Perfect Townhouse Makeover in Bangkok

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The Perfect Townhouse Makeover in Bangkok

The Perfect Townhouse Makeover in Bangkok

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

The townhouse is a common type of building in Thailand, especially in Bangkok. Homeowner and architect Narong Othavorn grew up in one, always thinking of ways it could be better designed. Eventually, he and his wife Pim Achariyasilpa chose a 30-year-old townhouse in Si Phraya, a downtown neighborhood, and turned it into one of the most excellent townhouse makeover projects in the city.

townhouse makeover
Overall, the final building is a combination of the adjacent townhouses. Narong kept the original wrought-metal façade, modifying the original metal entrance door with a mixed frame of wood and steel, leaving the next-door side the entrance to a fourth-floor warehouse.

A picture window in the living room brings in natural light onto washed gravel walls that lead down to a small garden behind the house, inspiration for the “double space” mezzanine.


townhouse makeover

The double-space ceiling isn’t only about making the lower level look good: it supports the open-plan design.

Glass panels in the dining nook of the mezzanine above extend a feeling of comfort to every space in the house. From the mezzanine there’s a continuous view through glass partitions out to the garden behind the house, and there’s steady circulation of air from front to back.

Townhouses are apt to feel cramped, but not this one! The light is different in each area, but the light is what connects everything.

townhouse makeover

townhouse makeover

townhouse makeover

“These things came from our own personal tastes. Pim likes well-lit spaces. Me, I like indirect light,” explained Narong.

“So with a house for the two of us, we had to get the division of space just right, using the light available in each area. The lower floor is bathed in subdued natural light; upstairs, the living room is brightly lit through the front window.

“Moving back to the dining area and bar, the light is dimmer. Go upstairs to the bathroom and dressing areas and it’s lighter again, suiting the specific limitations and characteristics of each space.”

townhouse makeover

“Small, but spacious” is how both owners refer to this house: better than adequate, the size is really perfect.

Not so small as to be cramped. Everywhere some things catch your eyes up close and others at a distance. The home offers a master class on how townhouse renovation can work with limited areas to create special, interesting spaces.

Even though adjoining buildings make side windows impossible, careful arrangement of space and windows on higher levels give this house a beauty that is anything but ordinary.

townhouse makeover

townhouse makeover

townhouse makeover

townhouse makeover

townhouse makeover


Owner/Architect: Narong Othavorn of SO (www.soarchitects.space)


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A Bangkok Townhouse Oozes Vintage Charm

A Bangkok Townhouse Oozes Vintage Charm

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Lalitpan Cheumthaisong /English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Ritthirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul /

This Bangkok urban house has the appearance of an old townhouse, exuding both class and relaxation. However, looks can be deceiving! Despite its vintage charm and poise, this townhouse was built not long ago and embodies a contemporary vibe that seamlessly blends the old with the new.

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The two-story townhouse belongs to an interior designer Napaporn Pothirach, who bought it from a property developer while it was under construction. She came in just in time to apply improvement ideas to the original design.

The kitchen-cum-workspace is the most elegantly furnished area of the house.
The kitchen-cum-workspace is the most elegantly furnished area of the house.

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For a well-lit interior, Napaporn replaced solid walls with an array of glass doors with transom windows. Stairway walls and ceilings on the upper floor were removed. Some of the original windows deemed to be too small were replaced with bigger ones.

The homeowner even found an ingenious way to add an attic for her kids. The result was a light and airy dwelling place, quite an aberration from a typical townhouse.

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Inside, the wooden parts, such as window frames, doors, antique decor and crafts bespoke the homeowner’s passion for woodwork. She designed all the built-in furniture, including wooden cupboards with intricate carvings, and bought other furnishings and ornaments herself.

Napaporn admitted she didn’t have a plan when she bought them. What a nice fluke! They turned out to be a perfect mix and match style with a common hue.

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“I once had the opportunity of visiting the house of Geoffrey Bawa, my favorite architect,” said Napaporn when asked about her inspiration. “I learned the concept of space management and the art of applying cultural identity to design. These things make the residence feel cozy, charming and timelessly livable.”

Space management as a concept may be simple, yet in practice it’s never easy. This townhouse with all the charm and poise has proved one thing. The homeowner managed to put her newfound knowledge to practice. And it showed in the intelligent use of space and the way she decorated with crafts.

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Owner/Designer: Napaporn Pothirach


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Incredible Small Townhouse Renovation in Selangor

Incredible Small Townhouse Renovation in Selangor

/ Petaling Jaya, Malaysia /

/ Story: Ajchara Jeenkram, Wuthikorn Suthiapa / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

 

For 40 years, this modest two-story home has stood in a residential neighborhood near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Noise pollution has turned many people away, but the architect David Chan of Design Collective Architects (DCA) has grown so acquainted with living in the area that he decided to stay. A frequent flyer, he thinks it wise to live a stone’s throw away from it all.

Selangor

Selangor

Incredible Small Townhouse Renovation

 

No need to say renovation came as a challenge for Chan, who usually made a living designing larger houses. Strictly speaking he had a task that required great effort and was hard to accomplish: Create the good life in a space that was far from generous.

 

Incredible Small Townhouse Renovation

Selangor

mth15

 

He started out with ventilation improvements. To bring in crisp, clean air, solid front doors were removed and replaced with steel wire mesh paneling. Meantime, blowholes were put into the exterior wall to facilitate heat dissipation and increase indoor thermal comfort.

Chan did a partial tear-down, turning the upper floor into a mezzanine. The result was a light and airy living space in an 80-square-meter townhouse with double high ceilings. Where appropriate, he added windows and other wall openings and painted everything white and soft shades of gray to make the interior appear larger than it was.

 

Design being so well thought out, who needs air conditioning?
Design being so well thought out, who needs air conditioning?
Selangor
For security window bars, simply does it.

Incredible Small Townhouse Renovation

Incredible Small Townhouse Renovation

Selangor

Despite it being a small townhouse, Chan added some much-needed patches of green to the design. He put a hole in the backyard floor and planted a leafy tree that was visible from the living room and bedroom.

The complete makeover went as planned. Chan and his family now live in a beautifully remodeled home in an expedient location in Selangor that best suit their specific needs. Incredible as it may seem, the tiny home is where life begins again, and love never ends.

Selangor

 


Owner/Designer: David Chan of Design Collective Architects (DCA)


 

Mash-up: Industrial Design and Green Space of Walllasia

Mash-up: Industrial Design and Green Space of Walllasia

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Monosoda / Rewriter: Phattaraphon / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Nantiya, Jirasak /

Cold black steel may not seem an obvious pairing for green plants, but one award-winning architect of Walllasia has matched the two in a unique and impressive way.

Walllasia

“Steel and the natural world present an interesting conflict to me,” said Suriya Umpansirirat, winner of the Silpathorn Architectural Award and owner of the design studio Walllasia.

“My childhood home was a rice mill in Phatthalung. I grew up playing ‘fix this, fix that’ in an industrial plant, but set in the midst of trees my father had planted.”

Adding to his compact two-storey house, he used a unique design based on childhood memories. The rawness of the black steel comes across as part and parcel of nature, meshing easily with the green leaves all about. Structural lines here are simple and straightforward, but full of architectural finesse.

Walllasia

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When Suriya needed to expand his 64-square-meter townhouse, he bought and annexed the house directly behind, allowing no more width but creating two times the depth.

Between the two, he created a courtyard where the sun shines in. A metal frame is set like a ring around the courtyard, separating the two structures without physically attaching them to each other.

Walllasia

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Every spot in the house has many varieties of plants and trees, looking as though they have sprung up naturally.

There is an automatic drip irrigation system which prevents water waste and also saves a lot of gardening time.

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A workshop for artifacts and inventions. A big bike sits, waiting for a ride.
A workshop for artifacts and inventions. A big bike sits, waiting for a ride.

Suriya’s passion for nature’s fine details complements another side of him, which has him creating fine crafts in the workshop. His own artworks and a plethora of inventions and artifacts have become part of the house.

This award-winning architect of Walllasia has also done a lot of work on many religious sites, and this influence keeps his home a “work in progress”, never entirely finished, and saturated with Buddhist concepts and thought.

“Religion is about how to deal with human life,” he spoke about his inspiration.

“Each religion has a philosophy for finding happiness. Architecture grows from that: how can we express our own esthetics without encroaching on others? I tried to design this house to look simple and straightforward, for comfortable living without too many frills. For me, practical considerations are what’s important.”

Perhaps for a person of passion, practical living shouldn’t involve hoarding or accumulating, but reduction, or letting go instead, until what is left is the core essence of a home.

Walllasia
His concept: a house like a vase of flowers that’s also a car repair garage.

Owner/Architect: Suriya Umpansirirat of Walllasia (www.walllasia.com)


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Siri House: From Ordinary Shophouses to a Charming Family Co-living Space

Siri House: From Ordinary Shophouses to a Charming Family Co-living Space

/ Bangkok, Thailand

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

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

Who would have thought a pair of shophouses lacking interest and imagination could turn into a pleasant family co-living home? Only recently the shophouse duo located on Surawong Road in the heart of Bangkok’s downtown was tastefully renovated as a shared residential community model. The result is a co-living space and place of business integration that’s well designed, full of life and energy.

Co-living space

The place of residence aptly named “Siri House” is the brainchild of the Bangkok-based architectural firm IDIN Architects Co., Ltd. Architect Jeravej Hongsakul is the driving force behind the design and renovation project. He attributed the firm’s success to its ability to reinterpret co-living spaces from entirely different perspectives.

Co-living space
The building’s diamond-shape façade bears the distinctive hallmarks of the family’s jewelry business. Plus, it highlights the three design considerations that create an effective and attractive composition – the qualities of being direct, clean and outstanding.
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Flashback. The early stage before the renovation project takes physical form.

There’s a solution to every challenge,” said Jiravej. When horizontal living is no longer the suitable choice in an urban setting, the idea of vertical living comes in handy so as to combine residential and social areas in one coherent whole. And in this particular case, the only way to build is upwards.

In essence, it’s about creating a happy, healthy and thriving home, and hence the name “Siri House” meaning the place of prosperity.

Co-living space

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The family living space on the top floor consists of a dining room and nearby sitting area holding a home theater and spaces for relaxation.

Co-living space

A new landmark on Surawong, the building with a distinctive facade belongs to Suree Sirivatjanangkun who shares the co-living space with her siblings.

On the emotional bonds between the people and the place, she said, “We figured it should also be an office for our family business. It’s better to live and work together as one extended family, a big family in the business neighborhood.

Co-living space
The house has four private residential units accessible via the entrance hall illuminated by natural light.

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“We wanted a living space that is warm and welcoming, the kind that provides a modern living atmosphere in which family members interact and socialize with one another. Everyone needs a place and time to unwind and still wants to see and care for each other. To me, that’s co-living.” Suree continued.

“Precisely, we wanted a design that’s inclusive, in which every one live together sharing a co-living space, not the type that’s divided into different floors, one floor per person. That would be no different than living separately.”

Co-living space

With this in mind, Jeravej came up with a solution. “I designed each residential unit to be able to stand alone and is fully functional. I paid attention to detail in each component, from the living room, bedroom and workspace, to the double volume leisure room, bathroom and kitchen, and made sure they fitted together in an effective and practical way.

“Because it’s a good-sized place with lots of functions, I needed to manage them very carefully. To improve traffic flow in the home, each residential unit is accessible via the main hallway that allows plenty of natural light into the interior. And by design, each unit is unique in its own special way.”

Co-living space
Bedroom windows at the rear of the building open to relaxing greenery. Nearby, a clean, uncluttered workspace is peacefully ensconced behind the diamond-shaped façade overlooking the street in front, a scene reminiscent of a cafe-esque view.
Co-living space
The family business operation on the first floor offers customer reception seating in deep blue that calls to the mind feelings of calmness and stability. Nearby, a lightweight spiral staircase leads to meeting rooms on the mezzanine.

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The homeowner wrapped it up nicely. Siri House will always be home to the close-knit siblings who live and work here. To them, it doesn’t matter it’s built for horizontal or vertical living arrangements. More so than anything else, it’s about living a lifestyle centered around family relationship, a good quality of life, and being in a location that’s great for doing business.

Bottom line, the mid-city co-living space is named “Siri House” for obvious reasons. To do business, you need Siri. It’s a word meaning prosperity and the quality conducive to success. You get the idea.

Co-living space

Co-living space


Architect: IDIN Architects Co.,Ltd. (www.idinarchitects.com)


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Desa House: The Renovated Artist House in Kuala Lumpur

Desa House: The Renovated Artist House in Kuala Lumpur

/ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia /

/ Story: Panchat Changchan / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

The place called “Desa House” belongs to 49-year-old artist Leon Leong. Located in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, the artist house clearly stands out from the rest in a neighborhood characterized by ubiquitous townhomes.

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Newly added is the sky garden that extends outward from the second-floor façade. 

The most eye-catching feature is the lush sky garden that extends outward from the second floor. The structure also doubles as a carport roof. Green foliage adorns the front façade and functions as a privacy curtain.

The striking features remind us that we have reached our destination.

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The sky garden platform, which doubles as a carport roof, is accessible from the second floor.

The bedroom and the studio are lit by natural light through a sliding glass that slides open to access the greenery. The same applies to the rear portion of the house, which opens to a backyard.

In the front and back, green foliage forms privacy curtains that effectively set the interior spaces apart from the hustle and bustle of city life.

artist house
Roof beams are clearly visible after ceilings are removed to make way for the new add-on.
artist house
There is no need for electric lights as the interior is sufficiently illuminated by natural energy via the second-floor skylight and the main entrance.
artist house
Lattice skylight crafted of concrete turns the second-floor living spaces into a well-lit place. /// Natural light illuminates the central court that the artist owner uses as his workstation.

The artist house’s aesthetic is achieved by putting in an add-on and other details to the existing structure.

Like other townhomes in the neighborhood, there is a central court that the occupants use for relaxation. But architect Wen Hsia of the WHBC Architects group has a better idea.

She transforms this centerpiece into something different. What used to be a seating area now becomes a lush landscape, where tall trees cast shadows on surrounding walls and much of the first floor.

It brings in the outdoor, and the atmosphere comes alive every time leaves blow in the wind. All day the light and sound show gives the artist homeowner the inspirations that he needs.

artist house
The interior spaces double as an art gallery, where Leon displays his beautiful works of art.
artist house
The artist’s favorite spot is the bookshelves composed of concrete and wood frames.
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The perfect match for timeworn kitchen countertops and minimal raw wood furniture.

Leon needs plenty of light to create works of art, and he gets it all in the home studio.

To bring in natural light, the architect has tiled roofing replaced by lattice skylight, creating beautiful special effects. Concrete lattice casts striking shadow patterns everywhere.

It is cheaper, longer lasting, and easier to maintain than that made of wood. As night falls, the studio is aglow by electric light.

Interestingly the studio light alone is enough to illuminate the entire home.

artist house
The artist’s workstation is nestled underneath the stairway and behind the bookshelves.
artist house
The living room shares space with the kitchen for added convenience.
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Tall trees provide a crisp, cool canopy to the backyard. Beach pebbles, concrete slabs, and a patch of manicured grass fill up the garden floor.

 


Owner: Leon Leong

Architect: WHBC Architects


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Wonderful Terraced House Renovation in Singapore

Wonderful Terraced House Renovation in Singapore

/ Singapore /

/ Story: Warapsorn Akkhaneeyut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Terraced houses are ubiquitous throughout Singapore, many of which are well preserved to showcase the country’s rich architectural heritage and history of British Colonial rule. Many of them have changed to better serve commercial and residential needs of the modern world. This handsome terraced house is no exception.

Terraced House
Part of the top floor becomes a small sky garden.

This terraced house belongs to Alan Barr and Phaswan Promphat, both of whom interior designers.

Alan has had experience living in big cities, such as New York, before the job sent him across the globe to settle in Singapore nine years ago. He didn’t arrive empty-handed, but with furniture and other prized possessions.

Over time Alan transformed the old townhouse into a trendy residential unit, incorporating a touch of New York in the prevailing climatic conditions of Singapore.

Terraced House
The spaces between Colonial-style arch windows are filled with bookshelves that stand tall from floor to ceiling.
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Part of the living room is remodeled into a workplace. The table is custom-made from discarded materials.

The home has a narrow front façade, but the narrow width is compensated by depth, a design feature typical of Sino-Portuguese architecture.

The front part has since been remade to accommodate lattice awnings from floor to ceilings. They serve as privacy curtains while shielding the interior from direct sunlight without limiting air circulation.

From the outside in, it looks like any two-story home. Step in, and you will find it is actually a three-story design.

The ground floor now serves as a carport and storage facility. A set of stairs takes us to the second floor, which is the living room and kitchen with a spacious dining area.

The home office is here, too. From the living room, there is another set of stairs leading to the bedroom on the third floor.

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An armchair and a round coffee table adorn the relaxed living room in chocolate and cream tones.
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Antique-inspired décor items line the hallway leading to a relaxed living space in the rear of the building.
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A room with a corner sofa and a large coffee table has enough space to entertain a circle of friends. The backsplash is covered in ceramic tiles made to look like bricks.
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[left] The living room floor is covered in a patchwork of carpets crafted of donkey hide that is soft to the touch. [right] A niche under the staircase has enough room for a mini-bar.

Alan said, “This home used to be a design studio. The interior was just about right. It looked like a home, but it was not.

“At the time, it was an office and it had no kitchen. So when we got it, we had to put in one. I like the layout of this home very much. I divide it into two simple zones – general, and privacy.

“The top floor is served by two separate sets of stairs. The attic has since become an office. Space is divided to store decorative works on one side and use as a workstation on the other.”

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Set in gray and black tones, the kitchen comes fully equipped with stainless steel fixtures. Dark colored backsplash adds a nostalgic vibe to the atmosphere.
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The stairway leads to the snug bedroom on one side of the upper floor.
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The staff’s office is located on the opposite side of the upper floor to ensure the residential area is not disturbed.

“The second-floor dining room serves multiple purposes, from eating and entertaining customers, to meetings and project presentations,” he continued.

“Personally, I don’t like an office hemmed in by glass walls supported by steel or other metal frames. Offices in much of Singapore are like that.

“I want a different kind of workplace, in which to impress the customers with different experiences. Most of them like it here, whether it is furniture or decorative items that we have on hand.”

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The conference table and chairs are placed closer to the wall, lined with storage shelves.

As a whole, the interior spaces are neatly designed and well-appointed.

Décor items from various places are placed in perfect harmony with one another. As he puts it, good furnishings don’t always have to be expensive if you know how.

Alan has given this old terraced house a chic modern makeover with a hint of interest and personality.

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Owner/Interior Designer: Alan Barr and Phaswan Promphat (www.grey-matters.com)


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