From 180 to 260 sqm

When the owner, whose age is 31 years, wants to turn his first house into the bridal home to set off his marriage life, he asked Dud-Dusadee Summat and Sof-Chalermwat Wongchompoo, architects from Rabbit Hole Studio, to work on the design of the house, making it fulfill his lifestyle needs with a simple look that the owner likes. What’s important for this house is that it needs to be readily expandable and changeable through time as life is always flexible.

The white box house we see here is thus a compact home of a suitable size for one, using a budget that fits every dimension. It’s actually a good case study for anyone looking for a minimal home, where they can live in for a lifetime.

Simple functions that will eventually change
‘It’s safe to stay alone while also flexible to accommodate several residents.’

“Most of the time, hiring an architect means you need a house that is more customized and different from a ready-built house in a housing estate. You need something that specifically fits yourself. Like this house, it has to be suitable for the present time, the next 5 years, and the next 10 years, or the future to come.”

The owners are a couple of a lawyer and a policeman who are planning to get married. Anyway, for them, the rest of their life plan is still unknown. How many children will they have? When do they plan to have children? Or, will their parents move in after their retirement? Everything is still uncertain. This house thus has to support all the plans that are subjected to change in terms of the family scale. What we know here is that the house is built to first accommodate a single resident, then a couple, and probably children soon after, as well as a larger family if the parents move in.

So, the house was formed in a simple rectangular shape with nothing complicated. This is to ensure that the interior space can be optimized to the greatest extent. It is designed to have a utility space of about 180 square meters while the front of the house is left unconstructed. This part can be further built into a new function in the future, which will add up the space to 260 sqm.

“Inside the house, there are quite a lot of double spaces hidden. We’ve also put columns and beams so that they can build a room for their children or other additional functions in the future, by just installing the floor to get a usable area. We try to make every change in time a quality one.”

The interior space is allocated to 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The first floor is the living area and the dining area that are connected to create a larger space. There is also a double-space hall, which can be considered the heart of the house. Its opening faces to the front garden to allow winds and sunlight to flow in. For this part, the architects said that the main idea was still focused on flexibility. During the first year, when he was living alone, this floor plan allowed the owner to see every part of the house. For example, the open space at the hall stairs, double spaces, or the front of the house. With all these, the owner can notice every movement inside, and they also reduce blind spots and make the house as simple as possible.

But on the other hand, after getting married, this double space indeed enhances the interaction in itself. The couple knows what the other is doing. It connects the first and the second floor while also ensuring that they can talk to each other no matter which part of the house they are.

Architectural simplicity

“Another requirement of the owner is that he wants a house that is straightforward and easy to maintain, because he grew up in the old house of his parents, which was decorated with so much detail and hip roof. When it comes to his first own house, he wants it to be as minimal as possible. It is to be just for reading books, watching a movie sometimes, but not cooking. Also, he’s actually a plant lover, but, anyway, not too many plants he prefers.”

The house is simple as desired by the owner. However, the front lawn is affected by the heat of the south. The architects thus chose not to design a dazzling façade to maintain the modern style. At the same time, they solved the heat problems by recessing the opening to form a shade that is open up for winds, sunlight, but not heat. It also takes advantages from the site context to shape the characters of the house. Two out of the four directions of the building are sitting close to the lush green area, bringing a natural atmosphere into the inner part of the house and creating a surprise due to a contrast look against the solid shapes.

There are also glass blocks at the hallway to bring natural light into the house, allowing the owners to comfortably handle household chores, washing and drying their clothes inside. The space is fulfilled with indoor plants to enhance the pleasant ambience of the house, which are easy to take care of. Looking through these glass blocks, you’ll also see another tree hidden, making shadows naturally swaying and providing a relaxing mood to the inside.

If talking about budget, this house is well spent, as it required about 2.5 million baht (constructed in 2021). The two architects shared some key points with us that “what’s important is to discuss with the client, making him understand completely talking to customers, letting him understand the budget. To clearly understand is important so that he won’t modify this and that later on. It hence reduces working steps.  Or, even when dealing with a builder or contractor, if they get the same things, it will greatly reduce expenses incurred from errors. We try to use many tools available today in order for customers to understand as easily as possible, for example, VDO Walk through or a 3D program to visualize everything, for example. Supposed that we want to confirm to the owners that this specific area is safe from being seen by the neighbors, we have to give them a picture that it actually is.”

And this is the story of PIANG.P House, a small house built out of a limited budget that is suitable for a small family – a perfect place in terms of lifestyle needs and design. It’s a great idea we’d like to share to anyone who is thinking about having their first home.

Area : 180 sq.m (future expansion total 260 sq.m)
Budget : 2.5 MB (Constructed in 2021)
Location : Khon Kaen, Thailand
Architects : Rabbit Hole Studio
Contractor : ATPAC
Photographer : Sofography

Rangsima Arunthanavut

Rangsima Arunthanavut