From the outside Chalermpong Srirojanant’s home seems at first glance rather small and unassuming but this is something of an optical illusion because the building is mostly hidden behind a narrow entrance. Chalermpong, executive director of Sahathai Pathanaphant, a leading distributor and manufacturer of textile products, shares the eight-year-old home with wife Varangkana and their two young children, son Kantanant and daughter Kanruetai.
The driveway is filled with vintage cars and sports cars, something of a hobby for both Chalermpong and his wife, which leads on to an open area where his beloved Ducati motorbike, which he describes as his favourite piece of furniture, is on display. Beyond this the house proper begins. Once you step inside you quickly realise that the space has been wisely used and that there is a lot more of it than initially thought.
The residence is a two-storey home with two bedrooms on the second floor. The first floor constitutes one long open room with sections for different purposes, encompassing Chalermpong’s office area, a living room, a dining room and a kitchen and bathroom at one end. The design allows everything to feel fluid. “I wanted the space to feel seamless and connected. No matter where you are, you can see each other,” he says referring to the huge external floor-to-ceiling windows. “The house is planned on an L shape, a bit similar to the shape of Thailand,” he laughs. “This makes it possible to see what is going on elsewhere in the house. It makes everyone feel connected.”
Décor follows a minimalist line. “The design and concept for the house was something I had in mind for a while,” says Chalermpong. “Less is best, hence the minimal look to much of the space. But I was also fortunate to have designer Duangrit Bunnag help me on the house. Normally he doesn’t do such small-scale projects.” The sense of space is everywhere. “I saw many similarly designed houses in Florida while I was studying in America,” he explains. “They were designed to capture the light and make the most of the views. I wanted that for my home too.” The furniture is modern and a homely feel is created through knick-knacks and objects related to the family’s interests—motorcycle and bicycle helmets being much in evidence.
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The second floor comprises the master bedroom where Chalermpong and his wife sleep. It is linked to the children’s bedroom, again giving the feeling of being in one big extended room. As with the ground floor, vast floor-to-ceiling windows dominate and reinforce the theme of visual connectivity. As the home owner points out, even the master bathroom—which is spacious on a grand scale—includes large external windows and glass partitions. “Being in the shower can be scary because theoretically people outside can see in,” he says, although one’s modesty is protected thanks to plenty of foliage in the garden outside.
Speaking of which, Chalermpong is a man who clearly appreciates nature. He draws attention to the large tree that grows in the lee of the L shape created by the home’s design. “It has been there since I was young and I feel like I have grown up with it.” The rear of the property is also thick with trees and there is a small klong running just behind the house, which helps to create the comfortable feeling of being wrapped in verdant nature.
Living in this neighbourhood was always in Chalermpong’s plans. “Most of my family live close by and we feel more connected to each other this way,” he says. Asked if he ever contemplated living in a condominium he replies, “Not really, especially after having children. I want them to grow up in a home with a warm family atmosphere. Living in a condo is convenient in many ways but I feel that growing up in a home like this has a more positive impact on their characters. There is the garden for one thing. We get to muck around together outside. The size of our neighbourhood also makes it feel as if we are far from the city centre. The estate we live on is very secure. It has an old school community feel to it and I know that the children can play outside without me having to worry about their safety. And like I said, other family members live in the neighbourhood, so we are always spending time together.”
Ironically, while his home ticks all the boxes for Chalermpong, it doesn’t for his wife. “We have different tastes,” he says. “My wife is very fond of Victorian-style homes, bay windows, tiled fireplaces and so on. I think if we were to build another home in the future a key focus would be to incorporate some of what my wife likes in a house, although she does have her own space with a fireplace and a piano, somewhere she can escape to.”
That said, the whole family is certainly happy in this home. The connective design of the building play into Varangkana and Chalermpong’s care and attention for their children. “It’s a combination of the large windows and the shape of the house, it lets me and my wife see the children no matter where they are. Before the kids grow up and have their own lives, I want us to spend as much time together as possible, even if they don’t want to,” he jokes.
The old adage goes that the three most important aspects of a house are location, location and location. So how does Chalermpong’s home stack up in terms of its situation? “Living off Pattanakarn Road is great,” he says. “We are very well served by connecting roads, so the commute to my office in the Prakhanong area is relatively easy. The children don’t have an issue either since they study at the Pracha Uthit campus of Singapore International School, which is also quite close.”
And his favourite room in the house? Chalermpong says without hesitation, “Oh, that’s the downstairs living room for the sole reason that it is where we gather as a family and spend most of our time. The space allows for endless activities and it’s a great place to be when our extended family comes over and we hang out and eat together.”