A multifunctional house that is flexible and adaptive to the need of the residents.

‘The house,’ in addition to being the owner’s private residence, occasionally serves additional purposes such as a temporary rental space, a venue for events, and even a photographic studio on occasion. Just like this MON.House in Chiang Mai, Mr. Sarin Nilsonthi, an architect from D KWA Design Studio took on a challenge to create a house that is simple and easy to maintain according to the owner’s expectations and most importantly should be versatile enough to accommodate a variety of purposes in the present and the future.

Typically, houses that are built to meet the needs of the residents, frequently exhibit characteristics in terms of appearance, space, and lifestyle. But what distinguishes this house is that we have no idea of who will accommodate the house and what type of personality they have. Only the owner may migrate from Bangkok to reside in the future. Since all of this is susceptible to unpredictability, adaptability is the priority.

The house is located on a plot of 2 Ngans (800 Square Meters), one of which will be allocated for the owner’s father in the future.  With its size and limited budget, the house came to a perfect size of about 300 square meters, comprising basic functions such as two bedrooms, a common area, two parking spaces and a small separate cottage that the owner intended to plant his collection of cactuses.

To support various functions and increase privacy in each part of the house, the architect designed a house plan that clearly separates the residential areas. One master bedroom is on the second floor, while another is located on the first floor. The architect also constructed a large common space combining a dining area, kitchen, living space, and family area in the centre of the house for everyone to share. This zone is built in a spacious hall in the Double Space style, allowing better natural ventilation.

The Concept Diagram
The ground floor plan
The second-floor plan

Although the overall appearance is not much different from typical houses, the small detail that distinguishes this house from other residential houses is the resort-like ambience that passes on to the design. The ground-floor bedroom, for example, is designed with a view of the green courtyard, which features swaying willow trees as a visual centrepiece that eventually became the bedroom’s Private Garden area.

As for the master bedroom, the same concept is applied in different ways. We can see in the layout that the master bedroom and the master bathroom has clearly separated in a sizable area. The areas are divided by a wooden sliding door that can be wide open to connect both sections, allowing air conditioners to circulate throughout the rooms, or can be closed for privacy as well.

Another key consideration is the natural light. Every area of the house, from the ground-floor bedroom to the second-floor bedroom, contains voids in the proper direction to let in natural light as well as on some areas of the roof, skylights are installed to bring natural light into the house. Additionally, the common area of the house features a significant number of windows that allow natural light from the north to enter.

Although the inside is wide open, the interior space is secluded and hidden by the outermost concrete wall, which is designed to create privacy. To save the budget, the designer uses a simple brick masonry method with this exterior wall before applying cement-coated wood on both sides to create a pattern similar to concrete work but at a lower cost.

In terms of mass and architectural shapes, the architect is based on simplicity and minimalism, blended with a touch of contemporary modernity to show the owner’s individuality. For example, the voids that resemble clubs or circles represent the owner’s requirements as a graphic designer.

This approach is also used in the choosing of Mood & Tone and materials. As we can see, the dark tones of the house are due to the male homeowners’ tastes, whilst the other female owner favours bright white tones. As a result, all the materials in the house are distinctively contrasting while yet harmonizing and blending effortlessly.

Easy-to-find materials also help save budget. Terrazzo floors, wood tiles flooring, brick walls, mirrors, and real wood frame are the key elements that make this home look simple and just right. Likewise, the architect incorporates intriguing patterns by interlacing bricks in various ways, resulting in two patterns beneath the same gable frame. The pattern is also the result of an attempt to minimize the number of bricks in the gable frame to save as much material as possible.

Architects : Sarin Nilsonthi  + d kwa team
Contractor : Amnuay Construction and Decoration
Photographer : Sarawin Kawin

Rangsima Arunthanavut

Rangsima Arunthanavut