Blog : Wooden House

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

RATCHABURI / We thought you’d like this. Here’s an intimate little house on stilts amid the coconut groves of Damnoen Saduak, a country town famous for lush orchards and a vibrant floating market. Built on a budget, much of it is made of reclaimed timber in various styles. Oh, by the way there’s no need for air conditioning. It stands canopied by overhanging trees alongside water channels for crop irrigation, an ecosystem that drives natural ventilation to keep it cool all year round.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Since its heyday in the mid 1900s, Damnoen Saduak Canal had been a major route for water transport in this part of Ratchaburi. People’s houses were built mostly along the water’s edge, while properties that lay further inland were used for agriculture. This 7-Rai piece of land was home to thriving fruit orchards for several decades. The house now in the hands of the family’s fourth generation was recently restored to all its former glory. In the process, parts of the water channels were filled to make room for a new contemporary home.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

At first what they had in mind was a little house with one bedroom. But after having consulted the architectural firm Studio Miti, they were convinced that house-on-stilts design, something slightly bigger, was the way forward. It was a prudent thing to do since the area has experienced flooding in the past. By using tall timber posts and beams, they were able to create a 112-sq-m home plan with high ceilings.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

The wooden floor is elevated on concrete poles for stability and better ventilation, while the superstructure is crafted of weathered wood that gives the home rustic and contempory décor. The exterior walls are built of a captivating mix of reclaimed timber, including Praduak (Pterocarpus soyauxii) that’s preferred for its bright orange red color, Mai Daeng or Ironwood (Xylia xylocarpa), and Mai Yang (Dipterocarpus alatus), which is light brown in color. Where appropriate, shorter wall planks are used to add the warmth and charm to interior living spaces.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Taken as a whole, it’s an open concept house plan that’s just right for a small family’s lifestyle needs. There is no guest reception area that’s characteristic of the Western style home. Instead, the center of family life is a good-sized wooden table in the middle of the room that’s fulfilling multiple functions as living area, dining room and space for relaxing and socializing.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

The kitchen formerly at the rear of the house has been moved to the ground floor that’s made suitable for traditional Thai cooking. It’s a way to get rid of food smells fast. Only a pantry with necessary food, dishes and utensils are kept upstairs, where the focus is more on making light meals, coffee and other beverages. It’s separated from the living area by roll-away shutters that open to circulate air and give a sense of cohesiveness.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

The house has two bedrooms made especially relaxing by a monochromatic color scheme. A nexus between old world charm and a calm, clutter-free life, each room has a mattress on a wooden platform canopied by a fine net to keep mosquitoes away. Both of them are so well ventilated that there’s no need for air conditioning.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Wood has its benefits as a building material. It doesn’t reflect or store heat very well, which results in hardwood floors not getting much hot in summer. This makes it comfortable to spend daylight hours in the shady space on the ground floor. When evening comes, a gentle wind helps cool the home down. Otherwise, simple fans will do the trick. Outside, a canopy of overhanging trees and water channels make the home environment calm and peaceful. In the rainy season, extended overhangs protect the interior from the elements.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

As timber prices continue to rise, the cost of building a home also increases at an alarming rate. Here, the architect is able to overcome the limited budget and deliver on his promise. The result is a beautiful contemporary design that relates to its intended function and purpose — an intimate little home amid the enchantment of lush coconut groves.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Story: Patsiri
Photo: Soopakorn
Stylist: Worawat
Owners: Veerapus and Nuthapak Thamrongrojanabhat
Architect: Prakij Kanha (Studio Miti)

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

This Chiang Mai house sits on a plot surrounded by fields of rice in Mae Rim District. The upper floor, all bedrooms, is of wood. Downstairs the many open walls give the sense of the Thai traditional tai thun below-the-house spaciousness, and it serves as living room, dining room, and coffee nook, with a natural breeze providing cool comfort all day long.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Architect: Studio Miti, by Prakij Kanha /// Owner: Anisaa Wangtragul and Apichai Wangtragul

Wood House Amid the Rice Fields

Prakij Kanha from Studio Miti designed this house, which stretches lengthwise along the long side of an L-shaped property, with frame, walls, and post construction primarily of wood taken from 5 old houses in locations all over 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.

A 3.5 meter dimension in the original house design was expanded to 4 meters, and the porch was widened for a more comfortable experience of relaxed viewing of nature. Limitations on the amount of wood meant the few downstairs walls were mortared. Where boards were too short, steel was used. The roof was done with Onduline, which is made of strong natural fibers, quite light, and insulates with no need for a ceiling: it is closed off with OSB (oriented strandboard). The west wall gets strong sunlight, and is overlaid with white gypsum board, another insulation that reduces interior heat.

Wood House Amid the Rice FieldsPrakij Kanha from Studio Miti

There is a mix of tall windows and glass walls, and a central walkway throughout that connects every corner and provides an air circulation channel. Even the bathroom looks out on nature. The master bedroom has views of both Doi Saket and morning mists over the Ping River. On the opposite side, night after night you can watch the moon wax and wane. Interior décor is a mix of furniture and antiques almost entirely taken from the original house.

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.
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.
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. Note the mix of unfinished wood, brick, cement, steel, and glass.
Wood House Amid the Rice Fields
This is a homestay for nature-lovers: the 4 guest rooms all have wooden furniture, stressing simplicity and views of nature.

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. If you’d like to switch out of your digs to get the peace and quiet of a beautiful wood house set in spacious rice fields and see how totally dark and quiet it can be at night, you can reserve a room by contacting Good Old Days Chiang Mai.

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Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”: Comfortable Living, Easy Repair

Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”: Comfortable Living, Easy Repair

This wooden home in San Sai District, Chiang Mai Province connects 2 buildings with a high, wide open tai thun (open lower floor) featuring a long dining table and “living room” spot that gets a cool breeze the whole day.

Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun /// Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /// Design: Nuttawut Saylahom

 Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”

Ae (Nuttawut) and May (Sutthida) Saylahom had scheduled ten months to build their new home, but it took more than a year to finish, until after their second son was born. Along the way a few alterations were made: a planned swimming pool, for instance, became instead a grass lawn where their young Kiri would be able to run and play with his new little brother.

Ae worked as both architect and laborer here in combining an old Lanna rice granary with the original wooden house next to it. Construction began by disassembling the old buildings: original components and materials were removed and set aside for use in new functionality envisioned in the new design. The granary’s primary structure remains: 8 large wooden pillars, with 4 pillars angled inwards for weight-bearing purposes. There is a tall main column reaching all the way through to the tie beam – a primary roof component – and another post up to the roof for ridgepole support, all set in a foundation of poured concrete to protect against moisture and ground-nesting termites.

 Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”  Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”

 Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”

 Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”

A wooden frame was designed to form a single house from the two buildings, creating a wooden balcony that functions as a connecting walkway. Leftover wood was used to build a garage in front roofed with tiles from the old structure and using old porch railings for walls. Trees were planted all around to block the line of sight, functioning as a natural fence.

Peaceful, Shady Northeastern Thai House

Peaceful, Shady Northeastern Thai House

Out of the edge of a sun hemp field rises what looks to be a traditional huean isaan (Northeastern Thai house). But this home, set in a shady, woodsy atmosphere, fragrant with the aromas of a Thai house and the fun-filled rhythms of Thai family ways, is fully adapted to contemporary ways of life.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Style: Wanas Thira /// Design: Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects

After Sakda and Orapin Sreesangkom had lived 20 years in a condo, they designed this eco-friendly house to find an adaptation of Thai family life that could suit the modern age, and to build environmental awareness in themselves and their children.

The ground floor design echoes the traditional tai thun lower space found beneath Thai houses. A porch reaches outwards to fill the usual roles: entertaining guests, socializing. Up close you’ll see it’s more like 3 houses connected by one deck, each one with wide eaves blocking sun and rain, but with a twist: the underside insulation is “rammed earth,” La Terre’s innovative cooling solution that rapidly absorbs and diffuses heat and is made from organic, renewable materials. Sakda and designers Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects shared the same vision.

The huean isaan takes over in spirit, though, with its outward image evoking a cultural memory reflected in the playfulness of the three boys, Chris, Gav, and Guy, bringing cheer to every corner of the house: playing in the attic, sliding down polished planks beside the stairway, and everyone’s favorite: the sky deck, accessible from anywhere in the house.

The heart of the home is the living room: it’s spacious, with bar counter, dining area, and sofas for relaxing, sized 7 X 11 meters, and with no support pillars blocking the view within. It was designed to mirror the look and function of the tai thun, a space that brings everyone together to do whatever they like to do best, as individuals or a group.

The building foundation supports a raised deck all around the house. This keeps slithering things and garden creepy-crawlies from coming into the house, at the same time creating good ventilation below. The extra area for sitting, stretching the legs, or walking out into the garden is one more bonus.

Sakda’s deep attachment to the traditional huean isaan it what brought this all about. That, and the family’s courage in leaving the convenience of condo life behind them to design, build and live in a completely different way, growing their own garden, and creating a new home that could be passed down to the next generations.

Sun hemp is grown for soil maintenance

Link: Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects

10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

Living ASEAN has selected our favorite houses in the ASEAN for 2017. Of course, all of them present practical solutions for living in the hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia, including a bamboo house in Thailand, a concrete block house in Thailand and a modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Check them out!


A bamboo house with contemporary appeal sits immersed in its natural surroundings. The home that’s also a medical clinic belongs to Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD, and his wife Kanyapak Silawatanawongse. Without question, his interest in the natural therapeutic concept is expressed in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the home office. The orthopedic doctor provides specialized care for the musculoskeletal system in the comfort of a peaceful country setting.

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Concrete Block House

Intanon Chantip, INchan atelier architect and owner of this HUAMARK 09 building, designed it to test theories he’d arrived at through intense study and experience. He wanted the architecture to tell its own story through the charm of materials that change over time. Intanon and his wife Tharisra Chantip bought this a 30-year-old, 80 square wa (.8 acres) property in the Hua Mark district, demolishing the old house to erect a new four-storey mixed-use building with usable space of 490 square meters and combine office, residence, and art studio.

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The architecture of this modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City is perfectly suited to the hot, humid climate, with an imaginative counterpoint of plants, greenery, and airy openings keeping it shady and pleasant inside and out.

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Waterside Home

This waterside tropical house brings back memories of Thai life as it was along Khlong Samsen in bygone times. From outside it looks straightforward and contemporary, but inside is a fascinating mix of antiques from the owners’ collections.

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Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition

This Lanna Thai house of wood is built based on ancient local traditions. It has a simple, relaxed, and open look. Natural breezes blow all day long through its exquisite form, full of the charm of conservation-friendly Lanna craftsmanship.

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This box-shaped house uses architecture, architectural elements, and coordinated interior design to tell stories of the present and the past. The house is located in the Petalang Jaya district of Selangor, Malaysia. This is a district of single homes, but with little space to put up a large house. Still, architect Dr. Tan Loke Mun rose to the challenge of house owner Kenneth Koh and tore down the former structure here to build a new 3-storey home in its place.

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Living with Cats in a Beautiful House

Ever wonder why this is a dream house for kind pet owners and their feline companions?.

“I live with my wife and our seven cats in this house,” said Chan Mun Inn of Design Collective Architects (DCA). “There used to be only four, but I adopted more cats. So I ended up with seven of them. They were the reason that we left our old apartment and built a new home in the suburb.”

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Brick house For a Tropical Climate

This rectangular brick home in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is designed for “hot and humid,” open to natural light and cool from air currents constantly streaming in and out through the bricks. Mr. Tung Do and Mrs. Lien Dinh, the owners here, are newlyweds who wanted a small house with a straightforward design for pleasant living. They had seen Tropical Space’s “Termitary House,” which won, among others, a 2016 Brick Award, and admired its form and design so much that – even with their limited budget – they engaged the Company to design and build their own home.

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Box-Shaped House with a Tropical Style Garden

Box-shaped design highlights a perfect blend of form and function, plus an exotic Tropical style garden. The result: A lovable livable home with a panoramic view from the bedroom.

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Modern House in a Forest Setting

The architect uses clever techniques to make this modern house look like it’s crafted entirely of wood. When her family wanted to build a new house in Thailand’s Northeast, Kanika Ratanapridakul was assigned the task of project architect. It was the first time she had to work directly with local builders and suppliers. Things didn’t go as smooth as planned, but the mission was accomplished – eventually. The key to success lay in being a bit more flexible to ensure things got done right and on schedule.

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Loft-style Home Built out of Much Older Thai Houses

Loft-style Home Built out of Much Older Thai Houses

Loft-style home built out of much older Thai houses: the ‘tai thun’ lower open space allows cool air to pass through. Woodwork and a contemporary steel frame add remarkable touches to what now includes a coffee shop, clothing store, and family homestay.

 /// Thailand ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Tanakitt Khum-on /// Design: Mr.Kriangkrai Pitayapreechakul

Third structure, built between the earlier ones
Homestay lobby
Left: Grandmother’s house, tai thun now a living room. The concrete is new; Right: Lobby/dining room of the homestay

Once there were two houses here: the grandmother’s, and a small house built in 1986 on a raised foundation for her son (Kriangkrai Phithayapreechakul). These now connect as a single structure containing coffee and clothing shop and homestay.

“We’d moved out, and were living in a brick house in the central business district downtown,” said Kriangkrai. “At that time,” added his wife (Sasithon Chai-uphatham), “we were planning to do business there. But Mom (the grandmother) got sick, so we decided to come back. Our daughter (Kik, or Kansiri Phithayapreechakul)” was about to graduate, and we figured we could do our batik work right here, and we’d be happier living together.”

Sasithon’s own brand of batik, “Thaithaw,” is closer to Japanese “roketsuzome” than traditional Javanese style. Coming back to the family business is one reason daughter Kik decided to go study fabric design. “We started building five years ago: the structure here had been unused for ten years, and the floor was almost completely eaten away by termites. It took a year to repair, and then we added on, putting the coffee shop and clothing store fronting the street, a concrete and steel structure with a door connecting into the old house,” said Kik.

Porch reaches to the shade tree near the center, for cool comfort midday.
Left: Loft-style kitchen shows original floor surface material; Right: The steel-framed sliding glass panel kitchen doors and windows save space

With shops on one side, they created a homestay on the other, connected to  the grandmother’s house by a stairway from the homestay kitchen and living area to rooms upstairs. The owners adapted part of the downstairs for their own family room.

“At first we didn’t think to open a homestay, but we had friends come visit a lot, and liked being around a nomadic lifestyle. Also we thought about having batik workshops, so it became a guesthouse.”

The result is a mixed concrete and steel structure with old wood mixed in. The second-storey floor is recycled tongue-in-groove wood all the way to the grandmother’s house. Support posts remain in the former tai thun area of Grandma’s home, now the homestay living room, because the owners wanted to preserve the character of the house.

Living room on the homestay ground floor

Homestay guestroom ambience

The homestay is above the central house, but for privacy, access is from a front stairway. A large mango tree was preserved for shade, and space left between the three structures for good air flow. Décor is mostly from family collections. “We worked slowly, concentrating on details, for beauty and best use of space. I let the builders work in the ways they were best at, and they brought out the charm of the original materials, blending them into a whole. In some places the steel was allowed to rust, complementing marks on the old wood and the bare concrete and brick surfaces,” said Kriangkrai.

The imprints of time work with the new design to make this Thai loft-style house something really chic and special.

An Enchanting Rural Lodge

An Enchanting Rural Lodge

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 with it.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Panalee /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham

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 Prachinburi Province. Needless to say, the location was as peaceful as it was pristine. Soon he started building the dream home 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 house 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 represented a turning point in Art’s perspective towards property development. He sought advice from a close friend, “Gob” Apasiri 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 that have kept many coming back.







A Lovely Wooden House with Panoramic View

A Lovely Wooden House with Panoramic View

This two-storey wooden house showcases a mix of concrete and timber, its wide façade looking out on a fabulous panorama of mountains and paddy fields.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham

Open-back bookshelves contribute to an airy interior made for lounging, reading, and viewing pictures in the gallery.

Turning left into a side street opposite Chiangmai’s Mae Rim District Bureau, Rice fields on both sides of the road have matured and only just begun to bear fruit. In the middle of it all emerged a two-storey home with vintage Thai-style appeal. It stood hemmed in by tall trees and lush green lawns.

Anchan, the housedog, gave a welcome bark, followed by greetings from the mustached host, “Tom” Apichai Wangtragul. He introduced us to his better half, “Saa” Narawan Rajchasee Wangtragul, AKA the heart of the house. The Retro look of her Thai-style sarong matched the atmosphere of the home named “Good Old Days.”

“Back in Lampang we had a small coffee shop offering snacks and selling guitars. It was very warm there, so we started looking for a new home in good weather. We found one on Google, not far from where we wanted to build our first home in Chiangmai. One day that piece of land was up for sale, and we were lucky to have bought it,” Saa said.

Tom was teaching draftsmanship courses in Lampang, when they met, and the rest is history. In Chiangmai, he designed the new home after first setting up a model to determine effects of different building orientations at various times of day. He kept track of amounts of sun and natural air circulation and used the information to aid in the design. The result was a home that fit in well with its natural surroundings and weather conditions. As he puts it, “The home facing west gets a full dose of afternoon sun. The glare can be felt, no doubt, but the trade-off is worth it. Panoramic sunsets can be seen every day.” To solve the problem, he has put in moveable latticework, which reduces the sun’s harsh glare.

The kitchen counter boasts naked concrete finishes similar to those found in coffee shops.

A draftsman’s desk sits by the window that opens to take in cool breezes and views of the surrounding landscape.

“I grew up in a wooden house on the water’s edge. I told him I wanted one with a shed roof made of corrugated sheets just like old times,” Saa recalled. “Tom said that could not be done. So we built our new home using metal sheet roofing instead. I wanted doors with plantation shutters and places to showcase collectibles that we have cherished for a long time.”

Tom made sure his loved one got what she wanted. He searched and found reclaimed timber in Sanpatong and paired them with old wood imported from Lampang. The timber supplies included Burma padauk wood, ironwood, and teak. The couple sought blessings for peace and prosperity before every piece was put to good use.

Apart from carpentry details, Tom is passionate about modern style with an emphasis on naked concrete finishes. Together they make the building feel light. The interior living spaces are light and naturally ventilated, thanks to plenty of openings on all sides. Each function area is clearly defined with floating furniture for easy updates. This design concept applies to the sofa in the living room and the dining table by the rear windows. The kitchen comes fully equipped, as their house becomes a home-stay destination. The couple does everything in-house from selecting natural ingredients to preparing indigenous meals. It is attention to details and good health practice that keep customers coming back.

Tom’s hobby projects have been the source of many décor items.
Triple-shutter design : In the Northern region, the window with three shutters in a row is generally preferred for cost effectiveness. The ingenious design needs only one latch to lock all three windows.

Tom keeps a collection of vinyl records for sentimental reasons. He likes listening to relaxing music on the old-fashioned phonograph while Saa cooks. Some of it is rare on this day and age. Here time goes by so slowly that it seems stuck in history.

The floor plan features a flight of stairs made of concrete and wooden steps. Located in the center, it keeps the two bedrooms on the first floor a good distance apart for added privacy. There are cabinets where old books and other collectibles are neatly kept. Nearby stands a gallery made for lounging, reading, and viewing pictures on the wall.

The second floor offers two good-sized bedrooms : one for guest accommodations, and the other for the couple’s exclusive use. There are antique beds in all of the bedrooms. Saa said she felt good about them knowing they came from good homes. She bought them direct from their previous owners. Between the two rooms stands an office space, where Tom spends time working at his draftsman desk. The workspace is bedecked with collectibles including old cameras and vinyl records.

As Saa puts it, “This is the house that strikes the right balance for the two of us. It effectively chronicles our love story and journey through time. I am just happy being here. Chiangmai is such a delightful place, with canals, plenty of water, trees, and beautiful culture. During the period from November to February, our house becomes a home-stay destination. Known as “Good Old Days,” the house has become a wholesome getaway for like-minded people. The service is not available during summer months, because we don’t use air conditioning. Time is well spent in the great outdoors.

Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition

Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition

This Lanna Thai house of wood is built based on ancient local traditions. It has a simple, relaxed, and open look. Natural breezes blow all day long through its exquisite form, full of the charm of conservation-friendly Lanna craftsmanship.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /// Architecture: Arsomsilp by Mr.Nanthaphong Lertmaneethawisap /// Interior Designer: Preeyachanun Saisakaret

The tai thun guest reception space connects to the kitchen.
A wooden walk from the father’s bedroom to the car park area, built in case wheelchair access may be needed in the future.
Left: In front, the tai thun looks out at the sunrise; Right: raised-floor entrance hall, something like the Japanese style.

The owners named this house “Tathata,” which means “just the way it is,” to express their love of simple country life. “We’re Bangkok people, but love the atmosphere and way of life here in Nan. After coming to work at Nan Hospital, we decided to live here and looked around for where to build till we finally found this property,” says Dr. Tong (Natthathon Kharaphongsathaphon), who owns the house with Dr. Kate (Jittraphon Khwamkhnueng). Their place is on a road convenient to Nan Hospital, in a quiet, natural setting at water’s edge. For design, they hired Geng (Nanthaphong Lertmaneethawisap), of Arsom Silp Community and Environmental Architects.

Geng told us, “The doctors liked the cultural and artistic dimensions of life in Nan, as well as its traditional wooden architecture. The house is only a few kilometers from the city, but in a perfect natural setting, easy breezes blowing around the clock. From the beginning, the words “little house in the big forest” popped into my head. The doctors and I agreed we should take special care of the plants on the property, and we managed to preserve all the trees.”

Double walls with alternating slats sliding open and closed for ventilation.

The doctors wanted the new design to use carefully selected old wood in ways that would preserve traditional Lanna craftsmanship, and wood was taken from 5 traditional Nan Province houses with a lot of colorful history among them. The traditional wide area beneath the house, or tai thun, was designed for receiving guests, and of a piece with a deck connecting it to the kitchen and other sections of the house.

The area around the stairwell is open, so light comes in from above. Walking up, you first come to the altar room, then a living area, and furthest in, the bedrooms. “We tried to build the house airy and open while providing for privacy, safety, and a clear division of space according to use.

Compact bedroom of father and mother.

The stairwell connects all sections of the house.

“Towards the end, while supervising the work I started to learn the craft techniques. I sawed wood, used a chisel, and sharpened bars myself. I even did some of the kind of self-reliant agriculture everyone used to do, raising ducks, geese, and chickens, and growing garden vegetables. Doing this was a revelation: it was entertaining! And it all takes physical effort, so there’s no need to go to the gym,” said Dr. Tong.

This home successfully applies traditional Lanna themes to  present-day life. It’s a dream house that has become a reality in the natural environment of Nan, somehow seeming ordinary while being as beautiful a home as we’ve seen. 


Extended Family’s Big Wooden House

Extended Family’s Big Wooden House

Everyone living together in a warm communal atmosphere makes this wood house a true family home.

/// Thailand ///

Story: Jeadwonder /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham, Piyawuth /// Design: Spacetime Architects Co.,Ltd.

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

Young married people these days tend to move away to have children and live separately, but Chang (Somprasong Sawat) and Bua (Buachomphu Ford) have brought their family back home.

“We’re all one big family, Mom, my sister, and my family, which right now is me, Bua, and our three young sons. It’s comforting to have relatives nearby. Grandma and Auntie help with the grandchildren,” Chang says with a smile. Kanika Rattanapreedakul designed the house: Chang had learned about her work from a magazine article about house design in New York’s Soho district, where Kanika was the single Thai woman featured among a number of Westerners.

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

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

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

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


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

The ground floor next to the pool has a reception area for guests, decorated with Chang’s art collection and next to a glass room where Bua practices yoga or sons play with friends, neighbors, and relatives their age. The second floor is a mezzanine, with young Matt’s bedroom and a small pantry. Finally, on the third floor is Chang and Bua’s bedroom and two more small rooms for the children as they get bigger.

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