Home Tour: Mingkwan Pookayaporn Has Made An Art Studio Out Of Her Thonglor Condo
Tucked away in trendy Thonglor is the luxurious Khun by YOO condominium, where 26-year-old teacher and administrative executive Mingkwan Pookayaporn has a compact but comfortable two-bedroom-two-bathroom unit. At just under 82 square metres, the part home/part studio may be small in terms of footprint but it is big on personality.
“I bought the apartment from my mother and moved in last May,” Mingkwan says. “I have another property just around the corner in Sukhumvit 49 where my parents are also currently living. I appreciate how I can still be close to them yet have my own space here.”
The front entrance of the apartment opens to reveal a small living room with a lot going on. Looking at the minimalistic furniture, marbled surfaces and colourful canvasses propped up and scattered everywhere, it is clear that Mingkwan is creating an artistic oasis for herself. “I know it’s quite small,” the budding painter laughs, “but I find comfort in the size. It may have something to do with living in confined spaces such as dormitories during my high school years and pokey shared digs at university.”
Well lit by natural light, the living and dining area have started to morph into a home studio, one with creature comforts immediately to hand. Mingkwan says, “I love the convenience of living in the middle of Thonglor. The location has everything you need and it’s so easily accessible that I sometimes don’t use my car for weeks.” With the area’s slightly bohemian feel reminding of the village-like atmosphere of parts of Paris, she adds, “There are sources of inspiration for an artist everywhere. Not to mention the ease of travelling to my office every day.” The office in question is at her family’s Sripatum University where she has worked as a teacher, director of procurement and assistant to the dean since earning her graduate degree in education from Boston University in 2017.
Making our way through the living room, it is hard to miss the giant TV sitting atop a marble stand. “A friend at Inhome Furniture customised the stand for me, which is why I was able to design it to my liking and have it double as a mini bookshelf.” And it is clear that Mingkwan is an avid reader judging by the many Thai and English books that occupy the shelves and other surface of the home. In fact, Mingkwan was heavily involved in the design and decoration of the flat from the outset and recalls her enjoyment during the initial stages of decoration. “I can proudly call this space one hundred per cent my own because every piece of furniture, the wallpaper, the pieces of art, were chosen or created by me,” she says. “I moved in while Thailand was in its first lockdown and decorating became my quarantine hobby if you like. I had a good time and was kept well occupied.”
Opposite the TV is an expansive blue sofa accented with white cushions, sourced through Chanintr Living, and a square coffee table big enough to accommodate a bunch of guests. “I live in the middle of town so my friends often hang out here,” Mingkwan says as we make our way to her bedroom where a very comfortable-looking queen-sized bed and a blue wall dotted with tiny glow-in-the-dark star stickers immediately catch the eye. “It was a childhood dream of mine to have stars illuminating the foot of my bed at night,” Mingkwan chuckles. “And because this place is all mine, I was free to decorate it however I wanted. The blue, white and yellow wallpaper is also a reflection of my favourite colours.”
A white door leads to the master bathroom where a marbled bathtub and a vanity are complemented by a few house plants. In the nine months that she has lived here, the young lady says there has been a constant need for small changes to be made. “My initial plan was to be minimalistic with the decor and stick to a more neutral colour palette. However, I found it difficult to be motivated or inspired when surrounded by a monochrome environment. It may look aesthetically pleasing but I don’t think it truly reflects who I am.”
An art enthusiast and a self-taught painter, Mingkwan favours a corner overlooking the greenery of the balcony that stretches alongside the apartment. Dozens of tubes of paint and cans of paintbrushes are in evidence on a grey dining table from Chanintr, only making space for flowers arranged by Mingkwan herself in a distinct glass vase. “This was supposed to be a dining area,” she giggles, “but my art took over and now there is little space left to eat.” Next to the table a large cabinet with mother-of-pearl doors holds more books and a collection of bespoke candles (as well as a small grey statue of a French bulldog in sunglasses). A white metal cart neatly contains larger cans of paint, tiny flecks of which provide a light contrast to the dark matte flooring in the area.
The second bedroom was meant to be for her mother when she wants to come and stay but Mingkwan has completely repurposed the space and turned it into her office-cum-dressing room. A desk is flanked by a large mirror while white shelves full of bags, clothes and accessories have been incorporated into the wall on the left. “My bedroom wasn’t big enough for all my stuff so I had to turn this into a place for my wardrobe and also to do my work. I come in here to sketch sometimes as well,” she says, indicating scattered papers and empty canvases.
We turn next to the apartment’s compact marble kitchen, which perfectly complements the marble cabinet in her living room. Though small, it is complete with a stove-topped cooking range and oven and a large fridge. Mingkwan uses the amenities often because she enjoys cooking her meals. “I try to eat clean so I’ve been cooking my own food since university,” she explains. “The kitchen is great because it has a sliding door that keeps the cooking smells in. It gives me the freedom to cook my favourite Thai dishes, which can be a bit pungent at times.” The entire side wall of the kitchen comprises a built-in cabinet that provides ample storage for all her appliances, equipment and other culinary needs.
Off the kitchen is the second bathroom complemented by marbled flooring and walls and includes a nook where Mingkwan stores her cleaning supplies. A dainty light illuminates the rectangular mahogany framed mirror above the sink and a fuzzy white rug adds a sense of homeliness to the monochromatic bathroom. “I value this place as being my personal hideaway so I do all the cleaning myself,” she says, revealing an unusual habit while pointing to the little baskets. “I actually enjoy cleaning alone. It is a form of catharsis and gives me the chance to tune out whatever’s happening around me.”
One thing is for sure: Mingkwan’s journey in home-making is only just beginning, “I plan to live here for the next five to 10 years and changes can be made along the way as they are needed,” she smiles. “I tend to not plan my life too far ahead though. If I decide to start a family we might need to buy another unit or move back to the family house entirely. Who knows? For now I’m content to keep working on my art in my own little paradise.”
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