Blog : waterside house

Mountains, River, Shady Trees and a Riverside Home

Mountains, River, Shady Trees and a Riverside Home

/ Kanchanaburi, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Anupong Chaisukkasem /

On Kanchanaburi’s River Kwai we stand beneath tall trees, their canopy of robust branches and green leaves filtering sunlight into shade as a cool, comfortable breeze riffles the water and we gaze out across the Erawan National Park forest. This enchanted spot is where CEO Dr. Suwin Kraibhubes of Beauty Community, Pcl. decided to build his riverside home.

Riverside HomeRiverside Home

“In the old days there was a resort here, but abandoned, it fell apart.” Dr. Suwin said.

“Coming here on a visit I found myself getting excited about this panoramic mountain view, the forest preserve, the peaceful river. I hadn’t known  Kanchanaburi had such a quiet, pleasant riverside woodland as this.”

Riverside Home

Dr. Suwin had always had a deep feeling for good design and home decoration.

He followed this up with a lot of reading from many sources, and bought furniture and house accessories to add to his own collection and deck out this riverside home in a style suiting this great location on the River Kwai.

Riverside Home Nature House

“I had a lot of ideas, including building on the original resort’s foundations, and found an architect to help,” further explained the owner.

“With modern-style gable roofs, the shapes are reminiscent of a tobacco-curing plant.

“I didn’t want to make the house too eye-catching, but more low-key, in tune with nature, so we used strong, dark colors with natural materials such as wood, stone, and steel, materials with beautiful colors and textures of their own, that also are easy to maintain.

“The result is a relaxed retreat where we don’t stay every day, but that fits in beautifully with the natural environment.”

Riverside Home Riverside Home Riverside Home

Dr. Suwin’s personal living space is a compact house on a hill directly above the water. The full residence extends across the property: another three steel-frame buildings are set in a quiet corner.

There is a separate structure in the center for use as a reception area and common dining room near a two-story house built to accommodate more family members and friends.

Riverside Home Riverside Home Nature House

He also added, “I live on the river bank for comfort. It’s a little like a greenhouse: the walls are glass and face out on the river, giving both a beautiful view and privacy.

“Mornings I really enjoy looking out from the porch. I can see everything from there, it feels like we’re in the middle of everything!”

Nature House Nature House Nature House Riverside Home

Dr. Suwin gets a lot of outdoor time here, playing in the water with the kids, kayaking, jet skiing, enjoying nature by Tha Thung Na Dam.

Sometimes in the cool evening air he sits out on a raft, socializing with his friends.

Nature House

“I really love that this house has both mountains and river. Outside we get the full benefits of being close to nature: almost no landscaping needed,” he summarized beautifully.

“I love the big trees the most, giving the house the refreshing, shady frame.”

Owner/Decorator: Dr. Suwin Kraibhubes

Architect: Rojanin Milintanasit

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Modern House amid a Country Atmosphere
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A Calm and Peaceful Wood House at the Water’s Edge

A Calm and Peaceful Wood House at the Water’s Edge

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Pongsakorn Tumpruksa, of Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architect Co., Ltd, was passionate about life beside the water. He built his waterside wooden house on 340 square wahs (1,360 sq. m.) of land in Bang Khun Thian where two small waterways converge with Bang Mot Canal.

Thai houses
The roadside entrance is in the back, so the house fronts on the canal, Thai-style.

Like the traditional Thai house in former times, this waterside wood home has a tall open area called “tai thun” (the underfloor space at ground level), an economical construction that suits Thailand’s climate and promotes socialization processes in the family.

Thai houses

Thai houses

Thai houses

Thai houses

The tall tai thun includes a carport and an area blocked off as a workshop. An open staircase leads up to the porch, and in the center is a large contiguous open space combining living and dining areas, with the kitchen on one side and bedrooms on the other.

Pongsakorn explained the three design principles that he kept in mind, which are:

Thai houses

Thai houses

A centuries-old principle of traditional architecture of Thailand’s central region

It is about the house’s suitability for the environment, balancing sun, wind, and rain to keep things cool and comfortable. Here, the old knowledge is blended with modern construction materials. The high tai thun avoids flooding and termite damage.

Good air circulation is ensured with a high roof with long eaves; windows and a gap below the roof help release hot air. There is a deck where either clothes or fish can be dried, a heat-resistant mesh on the wooden roof, and there is an open porch below the eaves where you can sit, catch the breeze, and relax from the heat.

Also, the gardens around the house give shade and maintain moisture, cooling the area.

Thai houses

Thai houses

The architecture promotes Thai family culture

Previously, the family lived in a townhouse, chatted at the dinner table, and were always in close, warm contact.

To continue that feeling, living and dining areas and kitchen were designed as a single continuous space.

Thai houses

Thai houses

Cost-effective construction

The house was built with a limited budget: overbuilding would have been problematic.

Thai traditional knowledge shows how to do this: leave room for gradual expansion, building onto the house as needed, as was done in Thailand’s earlier days.

Thai houses

Thai houses

Pongsakorn tells us, “Building a home for my loved ones was like building happiness. What I’m most proud of is doing it as the architect son of my father, who worked for the government as an architectural technician. Dad left us last year, but he got to live with us in this house.”

“Happiness for me is growing plants and living in a shady, cool home,” says Pongsakorn’s mother with a smile.

“I’m truly glad that Father had the chance to live here with us again.”

Owner/Architect: Pongsakorn Tumpruksa of Arsom Silp Community and Environmental Architect (

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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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Time Stands Still on Beautiful Pha-Ngan Island

Time Stands Still on Beautiful Pha-Ngan Island

/ Surat Thani, Thailand / 

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Ensconced in a coconut grove by the sea, Baan Somjai is both a vacation destination and private concrete residence located on beautiful Pha-Ngan Island. Time goes by slowly on this part of the island, so slow that it feels like time is standing still.

Pha-ngan Island

Pha-ngan Island
A water pond running the entire stretch of the building contributes to thermal comfort as the weather heats up.

The holiday destination is the brainchild of Nattawut Piriyaprakob of NPDA Studio, who is the designer and son of property owners Banjob and Somjai Piriyaprakob. This land on Pha-ngan Island is a heritage of Nattawut’s grandmother.

Nattawut traveled back and forth to the property often. Back in the day, it was nothing but coconut trees.

Nowadays travel to Pha-Ngan has become more convenient. It’s reason enough for Nattawut and family to put in a home here.

As he puts it: “Mom and Dad used to work in other provinces. They decided to return to Pha-ngan after retirement and started out here with a homestay called Coconut and Noom Resort.”


Pha-ngan Island
The wide-open seating space comes complete with floating furniture for ease of care and flexible uses of space.

The homestay had welcomed all kinds of tourists from backpackers in the Full Moon Party on Pha-ngan Island to European families, which inspired Banjob and Somjai to build a permanent home here.

They enjoyed getting to know new people every day.

Pha-ngan Island
The bedroom, dining room and kitchen line up alongside the front porch. The exterior walls and the roofs are fixed at a tilted angle that best protects the home from the glare of the sun.

Pha-ngan Island

Pha-ngan Island

Pha-ngan Island
The brick wall boasts diagonal plaster stripes in glossy red contrasting with the brick foundation in matte finishes. 

Nattawut designed the buildings on Pha-ngan Island based on his memories and knowledge of indigenous materials.

“It’s the combination of local materials and local builder expertise that culminates in this house design. Bamboo paneling is easy to find. Walls are crafted of red brick and flooring is made of polished concrete finishes.”

The designer intentionally added vivid colors into the work “As you can see, I chose bold colors for the building, such as bright exterior walls. The shadow cast by coconut trees makes the landscape even more interesting.”

The sundeck that is Banjob’s vantage point offers 360 degrees views of the coconut grove and the sea to the further side.

Benefiting from the sea breeze, every room is well-ventilated. Opaque walls on the west shield the building from the afternoon sun, while the pond helps disperse the heat.

Altogether, the design cools the house down even when the weather is hot.

With generous hospitality and good design, Baan Somjai Seaside Resort on Pha-ngan Island is not only a home to the Piriyaprakob family, but also a dream destination for travelers from across the globe.



Architect: NPDA Studio (