Blog : two-storey house

A Modern Tropical House Inspired by Cluster Homes of the Past

A Modern Tropical House Inspired by Cluster Homes of the Past

/ 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 bygone years. 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 into a beautiful lush green landscape.

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.

Likewise, this add-on unit of construction is well suited to the purpose. The result is a building complex that contains separate houses where extended families live together independently of one another.

A Modern Tropical Home Inspired by Cluster House Design

Prior to being renovated, the two-story home had stood on this 200-square-wah (800 sq. m.) plot of land for almost two decades. 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 original 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 have a deep affection for cluster homes built the old-fashioned way, 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

In the same way, 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, it’s an intriguing combination of the modern and the traditional – a modern Tropical house built of steel frames, timber and concrete construction. Together they enhance 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

More than anything else, it’s design that promotes social interactions among family members. While the children enjoy privacy in the comfort of their home, they have places to hang out together, shoot the breeze, exercise and share meals with Mom and Dad.

Plus, 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 mealtime socializing that’s the center of family life. It’s something they do together to stay connected.


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


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contemporary houseA Modern Home Where Traditions Make Comfortable

Baan Hing Hoi: A Modern Duplex Design Exudes the Charm of Bygone Days

Baan Hing Hoi: A Modern Duplex Design Exudes the Charm of Bygone Days

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul, Wasin Pummarin / Styling: Suanpuk Stylist /

A modern duplex house by EAST Architects makes use of natural light, sun and airflow to provide indoor thermal comfort that’s the hallmark of the ultimate Tropical design.

One wing holds a semi-outdoor living space roofed over with flat terracotta tiles in a timeless shade of gray. It’s built almost entirely of wood with a balcony and a “tai thun”, or the underfloor space high enough for many different uses. 

The other wing boasts the style, experience and flexible realities characteristic of postmodernism. To get enough natural light, the building is enclosed by exterior glass wall systems. Upstairs, a straight passageway connecting individual spaces leads to a cantilevered room that extends 6 meters supported by a rigid V-shaped steel frame – an unusual approach to lightweight modern house design.

Modern HouseModern House

The upper covering of the ultramodern wing is a steel-reinforced concrete slab. The high pitched gable roof that rises above it is topped with corrugated aluminum panels to allow light to pass through. This keeps the home well-lit by day and glowing with light and color by night, which explains why it’s named “Baan Hing Hoi”, literally translated as “Fireflies House”.

A piece of architecture representing the nexus between Eastern and Western ideas, the Fireflies House is a design that merges Modern and Traditional values into one Tropical-style home. The house plan doesn’t sit parallel to the road in front of it. Neither does it align with property boundary lines. Rather, it’s designed to respond to wind direction and the sun’s path across the sky for the perfect indoor thermal comfort.

That pretty much summarizes the design concept embraced by two assistant professors, Pirast Pacharaswate and Sayanee Virochrut, of EAST Architects. The design duo prides themselves on being the “architects of Tropical rainforests”.

EAST Architect Modern Thai HouseEAST Architect Modern Thai HouseEAST Architect Modern Thai House

Together they turned a family’s wish into reality. The homeowner, Thanawat Yongsanguanchai, wanted a modern, warm and welcoming place where his family could spend more time together outdoors.

He was looking for a bright and breezy design, one that’s comfortable without air conditioning. And the architect duo was on hand to deliver exactly that by making natural ingredients pretty much an integral part of the plan.

The result was a well-thought-out modern house that included a part intended be perceived as if it were a tunnel leading to another world beautifully ensconced in the rear of the property.

Modern House

“In essence, it’s a design takes into account basic human needs for relaxation and the culture in which people live. Simply put, the relationship between culture and climate is one of the inevitabilities of life. It’s for this reason that the house is built with knowledge of the climate in mind,” said architect Pirast Pacharaswate.

“We think up contradictory thoughts when designing the duplex house plan. The kids belong to a new generation, but their living wing boasts certain features and comforts that are symbolic of Thai-style houses in former times. In juxtaposition, it’s strikingly different from the design of the parents wing, which is evidence of a new language of architecture.

“The parents wing sits under a high pitched gable roof that glows with light and color, which conveys a great deal about the postmodern school of thought. The real upper covering that functions as the roof in a practical sense is a steel-reinforced concrete slab that lies underneath it. In other words, the gable is there to make a statement about postmodern philosophy.”

Pirast explained: “It’s our intention to present a feature characteristic of traditional gable roof houses, something considered old-fashioned. And to create a welcome contrast, we roof it over with modern building materials instead.

“The result is a modern house topped with a gable that shimmers in the sunlight. It’s covered with corrugated aluminum panels that’s lightweight and very noticeable, creating an entirely new perception.”

EAST Architect Modern Thai House

“We found out that the homeowner preferred white to other colors, so we responded with a choice of cool-toned whites for the parents wing. For contrast and comparison, the children’s wing gives a powerful impression of being Thai. It’s roofed over with flat terracotta tiles in a nice shade gray.

“Wood is the main building material here. For strength and durability, the truss or framework supporting the roof is made of metal, but the skill and craftsmanship are Thai style. The two wings are linked by a roofed platform along the outside of the house.”

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The children’s wing is semi-outdoor by design, thanks to the veranda and spacious traditional-style underfloor spaces. It differs greatly from the parents wing that’s enclosed by exterior glass wall systems, a great way to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside. Go straight down the corridor, and you come to individual rooms and functional areas with modern conveniences.

Modern House

The ground floor holds a pantry and dining area with a sitting room nearby. It’s dominated by a long dining table that’s custom-made. The upper floor contains Mom and Dad’s bedroom that projects horizontally into space.

Glass walls pour natural light into the room that’s embraced by nature. There’s a multi-purpose room with wood décor ideas. An array of alternating plain and hand-carved wood cabinets ooze the charm and poise of Thai-style residential architecture.

Upstairs, the bedroom projects 6 meters into space supported by a rigid V-shaped steel frame for a lightweight look. Floor-to-ceiling glass wall systems afford views of the landscape.

Modern House

Proceed to the children’s wing, and you discover not all ceilings are horizontal. Their bedrooms boast beautiful ceilings that slope in agreement with the gable roof. The vertical siding under the gable is open to bring natural brightness inside, while accent wall ideas behind the headboard fill the room in style.

There’s something quintessentially Thai in the bedroom where the platform bed frame is wider than the mattress, an easy hack to create space for wedge pillows and the triangle pillow that’s unique to Thai culture.

EAST Architect Modern Thai House

The architect said: “To make a positive first impression, it’s good to be a noticeable new phenomenon. Like so, the garden pathway is strategically built in such a way that people recognize the unique roof design as they approach the house from various distances and directions, each resulting in a different point of view.

“Psychologically, humans and architecture interact with each other all the time. Circulation, or human movement in and around a piece of architecture, constitutes an interaction. It’s an experience that creates an awareness and evokes admiration of architectural beauty,” Pirast wrapped it up nicely.

All told, the gable roof duplex evokes respect and warm approval through outstanding design and the power of storytelling that combines traditional values, longing for nature, and great aesthetic pleasure into one coherent whole.

Modern House


Owner: Thanawat Yongsanguanchai

Architect: EAST Architects (www.eastarchitects.com)


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A Box-shaped House in A Mid-City Garden by Vin Varavarn Architects 

A Box-shaped House in A Mid-City Garden by Vin Varavarn Architects 

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

To have more space for his three children, M.L. Varudh Varavarn (Vin) of Vin Varavarn Architects built this modern house amid a garden on a quarter-acre property in the heart of Bangkok’s Chidlom District.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

 

“Children need a place with trees to run and play,” was Vin’s first thought in keeping all the original trees for the garden. Each room looks out on this great play area.

“When we built the place we’d just come back from living abroad in a town house. There wasn’t really enough space for the kids there, so we made this home more about the kids than ourselves,” he told LivingASEAN.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The house, the balcony, and the garden are simple components of a tropical house. Although porous from wood borer beetles, these folding doors are perfectly functional. The decorative garden stones were dug up from the property.

 

One primary building material was 20-year-old teakwood from Vin’s mother’s plantation in Kamphaeng Phet, much of which had been eaten hollow by wood boring beetles and couldn’t be sold to a lumber yard.

“We figured wood like this might give an interesting look. Talking with The Jam Factory contractor Subhashok gave us some ideas.

“We wanted something that didn’t look too slick, but had unique character and was durable. Wood, concrete, and steel were our main building materials.”

With porous teak, it’s best to cut the wood into narrow boards, sort out the more porous ones, then use the different types in different parts of the house.

Wood with no holes is used for flooring. Even though you can see into the sapwood on some, porous wood panels can be used for latticework, folding doors/windows, and ceilings, which are not usually touched by people, and they can be patched where called for.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The wall separating the stairwell from the living room displays a rough concrete surface.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
By the stair to the 2nd floor, natural light shines into the front hall indoor courtyard. The living room is behind the wall on the right.

 

This steel-frame box-shaped house uses cement walls as artifice: for instance, the wall of rough concrete next to the parking area creates a vertical play of light and shadow on garden stone surfaces.

Meantime, the living room’s big brick walls are surfaced with concrete poured in different concentrations, creating gray stripes in gentle contrast to the rough harshness of the concrete itself.

The house plan visually connects interior and outdoor spaces in a number of places: coming in the door, we first encounter an interior court with a tree, then walk around into the living area, dining space, and large open-plan pantry flanked on both sides by gardens, seeming to switch character back and forth between being indoors and outdoors.

By the tree court is a latticed staircase of wood and steel leading to the 2nd floor, where we find a living area, children’s activity room, and all the bedrooms.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The living room with a big sofa for family socializing. To save building expense the steel frame is light as possible, which also gives the house a light, open look.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Folding doors filter light and give security and privacy. Adding to the green, plants grow along the wall by the neighboring house.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Close by the open living area is a dining table where Vin does a little work most mornings. Furthest in is a long, narrow pantry-style kitchen also used for informal eating.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

“The kids have been happy here, and feel more like staying at home, so we’ve achieved a nice level of success,” added M.L. Varudh. Before the evening came we got to see all 3 of Vin’s children as they got back from school to run, play, climb, and have fun, laughing and smiling, sometimes in the children’s activity room.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects


Architect: M.L. Varudh Varavarn of Vin Varavarn Architects


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MODERN TROPICAL HOME IN INDONESIA

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.

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

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

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

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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 (www.facebook.com/greenboxdesignbkk)


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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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Inspiring Container Home with a Tropical Garden View

Inspiring Container Home with a Tropical Garden View

/ Bali, Indonesia /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

The owner of this container house in Canggu, a resort town on the Indonesian island of Bali, began trying out a design concept with the intention of building a temporary home but, as luck would have it, he ended with a permanent family residence.

Designer/architect Andika Japa Wibisana, of the Studio Tana’s said the homeowner wanted to build a house and small office here, but the owner of the land wouldn’t sell. So he decided to put in a container home in case he would have to move and build elsewhere. The designer envisioned the possibilities, and came up with a house plan that answered the needs of all family members.

Container House with a Tropical Garden View

The design places smaller boxes inside a large box, the larger one a steel and glass frame, enabling creation of double walls that reduce sunlight and outside heat. The interior is composed of eighteen shipping containers, some opened up for a spacious, L-shaped central living area with a high ceiling.

“Family members from Jakarta come to visit sometimes, so the living room opens out to connect with the garden, where some vegetable plots are set aside for children’s use,” said Andika.

The property is lower than the road in front, making this container house about a half-story lower than street level, with the garden behind it gradually sloping further down. Looking up from the garden, the house appears to be set on a hill of fresh green grass. This beautiful atmosphere is enhanced by the gurgling of a nearby small stream.

The building’s left section holds an office and stairway, with that spacious open-plan living room to the right and service areas behind it. Above, the shipping container near the garden projects outward for a better view of the green space: here is the master bedroom.

Another section divides containers into kitchen and dining room. Interior décor here has lost the industrial look: ceiling and walls are surfaced white, with real wood taking away the rawness of the steel.

Plants grow by the glass wall as protection against heat.

On the other wing, the second floor holds two more bedrooms, one container used for one room. The entire second story lies under a sharply sloping steel roof that forms an eave for protection against too much sun and rain. Beneath is a balcony with a long walkway connecting to the building’s outer porch, all of exmet (expanded metal grating) for an attractive play of light and shadow below.

Even though some steel houses have a harsh look, this one is designed in response to a Tropical lifestyle, with industrial materials combined in a way that gives an Oriental look to the big 18- container home. Together they create convenience and comfort, meshing perfectly with the beautiful garden.

The front door divides the house left and right. Right is the office section, blocked off by a ridged container wall.
The front door divides the house left and right. Right is the office section, blocked off by a ridged container wall.

Large, spacious living room within a steel and glass frame that lets the sun in only in the morning. The tall ceiling helps reduce the heat. Evenings here are great for socializing.
Large, spacious living room within a steel and glass frame that lets the sun in only in the morning. The tall ceiling helps reduce the heat. Evenings here are great for socializing.

Another living room wall. On the ground floor is a washing area and bathroom. Clearly visible above is an arrangement of containers within the large steel frame.
Another living room wall. On the ground floor is a washing area and bathroom. Clearly visible above is an arrangement of containers within the large steel frame.

Container House with a Tropical Garden View
Spacious interior open area. Upstairs is a kitchen/pantry, dining area, and living space. The interior décor is in earth tones.

In the bedroom where the designer’s intent is to reduce the harshness of the steel with woodwork the walls and ceiling are white, as in an ordinary house. Utility systems are hidden in the pipe-like ceiling divider: the entire ceiling is not lowered, because of the height limitation of shipping containers.
In the bedroom, where the designer’s intent is to reduce the harshness of the steel with woodwork, the walls and ceiling are white, as in an ordinary house. Utility systems are hidden in the pipe-like ceiling divider: the entire ceiling is not lowered, because of the height limitation of shipping containers.

The kitchen/pantry in a container on the second storey, with a structural dividing post in the middle.
The kitchen/pantry is in a container on the second floor, with a structural dividing post in the middle.


Architect: Studio Tana by Andika Japa Wibisana


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A Dreamlike Little Farmhouse Amid Lush Green Fields

A Dreamlike Little Farmhouse Amid Lush Green Fields

/ Suphan Buri, Thailand /

/ Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham / Styling: Jeedwonder /

Several years ago Naiduangta Pathumsut and Rungroj Kraibut began building their farmhouse with meager savings. That of course didn’t produce the kind of home we see today, but it was enough for the concrete structure and the roof. Before long their enthusiasm, determination and a lot of hard work resulted in a beautiful home amid lush green fields. There is the pride and glory in it, no doubt.

Farmhouse

They first started with a single-story home and named it “Ton Tarn”, which is Thai for the point of origin from which a stream or river flows. Naiduangta’s parents settled down and raised a family here a long time ago when the trees were still young and had only just begun to emerge from seeds.

They bequeathed a parcel of land to her and Rungroj to build this new house connecting to the original family home.

Farmhouse
Folding doors of old wood open wide, giving the house an old-fashioned atmosphere.

By way of introduction, Naiduangta was born here in Suphan Buri, but moved when in kindergarten. Eventually completing Thai Language Studies at the Faculty of Education in Chiang Mai, she worked in Bangkok for a period of time before returning to Suphan Buri to help her father with his work promoting child literacy in this western province of Thailand.

Rungroj, a native of nearby Uthai Thani, studied environmental geography and has worked for the Seub Nakhasathien and Sarnsaeng-arun Foundations to promote learning about living with nature. After the great flood of 2011, the couple decided to put in a two-story home – connecting to the original single-story house – as a means to escape future flooding.

A multi-use spot opens on a wide view, with steel “cage doors” for security.
A multi-use spot opens on a wide view, with steel “cage doors” for security.

Rungroj’s bicycle collection and workshop supports his hobby: cycling into Chiang Mai with friends, doing a solo trek to Uthai Thani, etc.
Rungroj’s bicycle collection and workshop supports his hobby: cycling into Chiang Mai with friends, doing a solo trek to Uthai Thani, etc.

Rungroj can still recall how it all started: “If we’d waited to get all the money, we wouldn’t have been ready. We wouldn’t have started or done anything.”

With the help of local craftsmen, the basic structure was built in two years, but by then the money had run out and the work had to depend on just the two hands of “Craftsman Rung” for the wood walls, doors, windows, and some furniture.

“I used timber from Neem trees or Indian lilac (a tree in the mahogany family) and Burmese rosewood trees grown and harvested on our property. Plus, we had some old wood, doors, and windows set aside. After another two years the exterior looked finished, but there was still a lot of work to do.”

Farmhouse
The kitchen wall has painted green shutters, “tank-shaped” chairs, and a simple shelf above the doorway.

Farmhouse

The 9-acre property includes the parents’ house, the main house, and a rice granary. There’s a natural well with a planted bamboo border. Umbrella bamboo is grown for its edible shoots, and giant thorny bamboo for fencing. The bamboo orchard is in one area, rice paddies in another, and big, harvestable trees remain from the time of Rungroj’s grandfather.

“November to March is the perfect season for growing leafy vegetables we use ourselves, but we switch crops sometimes. Vine veggies like string beans, loofah, and squash are perennials. They provide a natural way to prevent disease and insects that often spread when growing just a single crop,” said Rungroj.

Farmhouse

Farmhouse

“The image of our house in the middle of the fields looks great. We can’t do anything about how farming in the area has changed: use of chemicals, burning sugarcane fields,” he continued.

“We can only adapt to it and build on our own natural world. Our joy is in the pride of doing things with our own hands. There’s nothing perfect in nature: it’s all a learning experience, like life as a married couple, gradually adapting. Where we can’t adapt, we create understanding so we can live together.”

Farmhouse
Next to the house is a woodworking shop Rungroj also uses to store wood. Scaffolding used to build the house was converted to storage racks.

Farmhouse

Farmhouse


Owner: Naiduangta Pathumsut and Rungroj Kraibut


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บ้านไร่กลางทุ่งที่สร้างด้วยเงินเก็บสามแสนและน้ำพักน้ำแรงฉบับคนบ้านนอก


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FROM OLD HOME TO STUNNING HOUSE ON STILTS

A Container Home Adapted to Meet Individual Requirements

A Container Home Adapted to Meet Individual Requirements

/ Khon Kaen, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Starting with the idea of building a temporary residence from commercial containers, Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio had to analyze the different characters of the family members who would live there. In the end, this temporary project became a permanent home made from 15 containers where all family members reside happily together.

Container House

The container house has two wings, one used for the living area. The master bedroom is on the second floor. An open wood-floored multipurpose space runs longitudinally through the house as a sort of inner courtyard, enabling family interaction and serving as a channel for heat release and air circulation from front to back.

Similar decks in front and back follow the width of the house that’s set back a distance to reduce heat entering the container elements of the home. Trees planted in front add another level of protection from the western sun.

Container House

Container House

Container House
A partition at the far end creates a wind channel for air circulation, reducing any late-morning heat gain from the east side of the house.

To minimize heat and humidity, bathrooms are placed on the south side, some containing plants suggestive of old-time country houses where bathing was done outside, pouring from water jars. Another important feature is the sprayed-in roof insulation.

Container House

Container House

The living room is done in a spacious “open plan” style, connecting to the large food preparation area/pantry with facilities such as a coffee brewer, an island with a gas range, and storage shelves for kitchenware with a large protective screen to keep the space more orderly.

The second-floor verandah has a gap cut where netting is placed for people to sit, lie back, and chill; this also helps release heat and brings natural light into the central area, as well as giving it depth.

Container House

Container House

Container House

Container House
To avoid a fussy look, white was chosen as the primary color for interior décor of this container house.

Due to limitations on utility system installation, some metal posts had to be added to container walls and ceilings to accommodate electrical systems without further lowering the already rather low container ceilings.

Where appropriate, a framework of steel was constructed to meet the proportions of container walls. At the same time, wood paneling in shades of earth-toned brown was added to give the interior living space a warm feeling.

Container House

In front of the house, real stone is used in the staircase area to give the atmosphere of a modern-design garden, playing off the boxlike shape of the container house.

The fence also features a play of vertical and horizontal lines, using the language of design to simultaneously create a look of transparency and a sense of privacy. Each area is designed to suit the behavior of the family members living there, and this links the family and strengthens relationships all the more.

Container House


Owner: Non and Chutiporn Som Chobkhai

Architect: Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio


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A Quaint Country Home amid the Rice Fields of Chiang Mai

A Quaint Country Home amid the Rice Fields of Chiang Mai

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri Chot / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

This attractive, old-fashioned country home stands in the middle of huge swaths of paddies in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim District. The upper floor, all bedrooms, is built of wood. Downstairs the many open walls convey a great deal about the traditional Thai house with a “tai thun” (the open underfloor space) that’s spacious, bright and airy. It holds a living room, dining room, and coffee nook with a natural breeze providing cool comfort all day long.

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

The rural house built of reclaimed timber looks the epitome of a local tradition. Its design is the brainchild of Prakij Kanha of the Bangkok-based atelier Studio Miti Co., Ltd.

Overall, the building is impressive in its austere simplicity. But at the same time, the external envelope made of weather-beaten wood adds rustic charm to the home. The recycled building materials used in the project were taken from five old houses at various locations around Chiang Mai.

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

The house has a small courtyard along its length, a channel for natural breezes to blow that adds to an overall sense of relaxed informality.
The house has a small courtyard along its length, a channel for natural breezes to blow that adds to an overall sense of relaxed informality.

There is a small courtyard enclosed by the walls of the house, creating a channel for natural breezes that go to work making the simple interior cozy and comfortable. Limitations on the amount of wood meant that a few downstairs walls had to be mortared in place. Where cladding boards were too short, sheet metal was used to cover the unfilled spaces.

The house was roofed over with Onduline, a kind of eco-friendly corrugated roofing sheets made of strong natural fibers. They are lightweight and suitable as insulation materials, and hence no need to install a ceiling.

For roof decking installations, oriented strand boards, or OSB, are used. OSB is a type of engineered wood similar to plywood. To keep the sun baked rooms cool during the day, gypsum boards are used to add a layer of built-in insulation.

Wood House Amid the Rice FieldsPrakij Kanha from Studio Miti

There is a mix of tall windows and glass walls, and a central corridor connecting to every room in the house. It also doubles as air circulation channel.

Even the bathroom looks out on nature. The master bedroom has views of both Doi Saket, a mountain in the eastern part of Chiang Mai, and morning mists over the Ping River. On the opposite side, night after night you can watch the moon wax and wane.

The country house’s easy and chic interior décor is a mix of furniture and antiques almost entirely taken from the homeowner’s old place of abode.

The small mezzanine, where we see a post-World War II vintage bicycle, is traversed by a steel walkway. Photos on the wall give the air of a private gallery.
A small mezzanine made of steel mesh flooring is home to objects of interest to collectors, including a post-World War II vintage bicycle, while photos on the wall give the air of a private gallery.

On one side of the hall is a staircase. Note the mix of unfinished wood, brick, cement, steel, and glass.
On one side of the hall is a staircase made attractive by a mix of unfinished surfaces of wood, brick, cement, steel and glass.

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields
This is a homestay for nature lovers: the four guest rooms all have wooden furniture, stressing simplicity and panoramic views of the landscape.

Public electricity doesn’t reach out this far, so solar cells are used, and per-day energy use has to be carefully figured. There is no air conditioning, but the natural breezes here are deeply cooling.

On the whole, it’s a beautiful wood house set amid rice fields, a perfect place to get the peace and quiet. The sky can’t be clearer. The night is totally dark and tranquil. What could be better than that?


Owner: Anisaa and Apichai Wangtragul

Architect: Studio Miti (www.facebook.com/studiomitidesign)


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A Beautiful White Cube-Shaped Home Made for the Good Life

A Beautiful White Cube-Shaped Home Made for the Good Life

/ Chonburi, Thailand /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

It’s everyone’s dreams to have a beautiful home. And it takes a special kind of knowledge, skills and wisdom on the part of the architect to create one that’s both gorgeous and great to live in. This box-shaped house in cool-toned whites belonging to Thanaphong and Thinan Nakaprasit has what is needed for comfortable living.

Initially, construction was delayed for a period of time for Dr. Tonkao Panin, a professor at Silpakorn University, and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita, of the Research Studio Panin to properly develop a plan to build the house around a tree.

White Box-shaped HouseWhite Box-shaped House

“Our old house had a high “tai thun” (the lower open space at ground level) and a tree that’s the focal point on the property,” explained Thanaphong. “We loved this place, but we wanted to change a few things. To put in a carport in the tai thun, the house had to be raised a bit higher to create more headroom. Our first house plan had a half courtyard with the tree only partially surrounded.”

White Box-shaped House

Thanaphong and Thinan had seen the results of Dr. Tonkao’s design work in the past. They grew familiar with her lines of thought that stressed using simple geometric shapes to bring out hidden character and warmth. Especially for Thanaphong, it gave him further insights into the concept of utilizing proportions, a code to unlock the geometric secrets in classic designs, and a sense of security that’s a design challenge in architecture.

White Box-shaped House

Having lived in a house with glass walls, privacy and security were important to Thanaphong and Thinan: they wanted more containment. Creating secure viewpoints for looking both out of and into the house posed a challenge for the architects. Solutions began with placement of a large tree as the focal point of the house plan. The rooms are disposed around the tree in the center courtyard and have views for monitoring the exterior of the house. People inside can hardly be seen from outside, while the addition of steel panels adds more security.

The security steel panels were originally designed to be of Exmet (expanded metal), but Thanaphong consulted with the architects and decided instead on perforated steel, adding a charming polka dot pattern to the latticework blocking off the long walkway behind the house by the canal.

White Box-shaped House

“Environmentally, this is a great location: water and mountains are behind us, so we need practically no gardening of our own,” explained Thanaphong. Instead of being near the road, the house is set deep in the back of the .4-acre property. Besides the tree between buildings, the living room has a beautiful view of the natural forest on the other bank of the canal.

For easy maintenance, the property is landscaped primarily with grass lawn or paved with stones and large rocks, which are used especially for the shady, peaceful “tai thun” space (the lower open space), which gets no direct sunlight.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

For movable furniture, Thanaphong especially wanted to bring some Modernformblack Iceland” items from their old house, which required some expansion of the kitchen. Other furniture is mostly from IKEA, with light color tones and light, simple shapes.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

“The longer we’ve lived here, the more charm we’ve found in this house, its great functionality, and the open areas, the deck and the tai thun. This is a very special design. Completely separate from other benefits, just the view as we drive in lets us see past the buildings to the mountains, water, a panorama of nature. I love it,” the owner wrapped up beautifully.


Visit the original Thai article…

สวยพอเหมาะพอดีใน บ้านทรงกล่องสีขาว

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