The Marcars' Occident and Orient Home
The private residence of the entertainment mogul, Brian L Marcar, is nothing short of impressive. An oasis hidden from the bustle of Chaengwattana, the stately home is where the managing director of BEC-Tero Entertainment lives with wife Karen and daughter Melanie. The family includes Ivan, a German shepard who is both pet and guard dog.
Unlike some houses where the frontage is narrow compared to the depth, the house of Brian Marcar stretches wide across a façade elongated by wings to the left and right. The structure creates an impression of a house that has been carefully unfolded into one clean strip. The Marcars moved here in 2007 when the property consisted of a single home. Brian then purchased the adjacent building to form extended living quarters bridged by a long arched corridor. With Melanie in mind, the other wing was acquired in 2013 to serve as her living quarters following the completion of her education in the UK. From the exterior, the two wings appear to mirror one another, while the interior of each wing is like two separate movements within a musical composition; a variation based on the same theme. “We bought this house [Melanie’s wing] from the previous owner four years ago and redecorated it so that it reflects the other wing,” says Brian.
When the family first moved in, the house was unfurnished. Painstaking as it was, this gave Brian and Karen a good opportunity to redecorate in their preferred style. Although Brian engaged an interior designer to oversee the refurbishments, Karen made many of the design decisions. “We furnished everything ourselves and moved things around, adding pieces as we saw fit. You could say we redesigned the interior. Much of the credit goes to Karen because she is the one with the magic touch. Not many people play with textures or experiment with colour combinations, but my wife did. In Melanie’s wing, the main colour scheme is yellow.
We like the house to look bright. For instance, in the living room some of the furniture is brown with an earth-toned carpet, so we added a blue sofa to provide a colour contrast.
Italian-style frescos by Ekkasith Wongpinta adorn the ceilings of the dining and sitting rooms which add to the European feel. Each room is decorated with ornamental details that range from ornate patterned tiles in place of the usual wallpaper and flooring to wall carvings. Used throughout the house, the tiles were obtained during a family trip to Italy. “They are very unique in different sizes and patterns,” says Brian. “You can’t find them anywhere else. We imported them especially, and then we had to match each tile to form the flowers you see here on the floor. When we bought them the tiles were all muddled up and it took a long time to get the jigsaw rearranged properly.” Some of the tiles also have personal symbolic meanings for the family. An example is the curved fish-scale shaped tiles used on the staircase, which represent Karen’s Thai name, Lookpla.
For Brian the home is all about comfort. “We wanted the house to look European but very homey, so that whenever people came over they felt at ease. That was the whole idea. We don’t have a lot of grand Louisstyle pieces and we only use the things we like and find comfortable. This isn’t a show home.” The furniture in the new extension came from a specialist manufacturer in Los Angeles, California, and the family flew over to handpick each item themselves. The antiques, such as the 19th century porcelain vase by the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres and other period pieces, were obtained from Noble House Antiques, an antique dealer also in Los Angeles.
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Compared to the European feel of the extension, the original house on the property—Brian and Karen’s living quarters— has elements that are more reminiscent of the Orient. From the Burmese antiques that adorn the entry hall to the Iranian carpets, the décor evokes an air of the old Silk Road and the stories of the Arabian Nights. The carpets come in a startling range of sizes, from large Persian affairs that cover entire floors to palm-sized beauties that could be framed and hung in place of paintings.
From the entrance a sweeping staircase drops to a high-ceilinged reception hall with an ivory-coloured grand piano at its centre. The instrument isn’t just for decoration and is often played by Melanie whenever she is home from the UK. Adjoining the hall is the dining room where serious wooden furniture is complemented by ornate Chinese medicine cabinets and Oriental trinkets including delicate porcelain cups. When held to the light these reveal beautiful portraits and dragons at the bottom of the tiny chalices. Another highlight of the room is the floor to ceiling window, which perfectly frames the hand-painted tile work of a mural in the backyard. The mural stretches high above the head and depicts the Tree of Life with three animals—a monkey, a rat and a dragon representing each of the family’s Chinese zodiac signs. The Israeli artist who painted the tiles actually came to Thailand to assemble the painting himself piece by piece.
One of Brian’s favourite parts of the house is the room he refers to as the Blue and White room. Reminiscent of an English drawing room, it overlooks a small garden that leads to the right wing of the property. The room was given its moniker because of the blue and white decor and furniture, which blend subtly with the soft white of the marble floor. On one side of the room a small counter-bar houses a selection of drinks for guests. On the walls are framed newspaper clippings of memorable moments in Brian’s career, including his encounter with Michael Jackson in 1996. The room itself is airy and spacious with a large coffee table and ornate armchairs. French windows let in natural light, giving a warm glow to the space and a view of a small garden with a decked pathway leading to Melanie’s wing.
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A man who likes privacy, Brian explains that he prefers the style of home he has built over the years to an apartment in the heart of the city. “I do like to be alone sometimes, to work and also just to relax. Living in a property like this, with its separate quarters, means that I can enjoy doing my thing without being disturbed by others. I also like the privacy of the swimming pool and my balcony. As a family of three, living in a house like this means that we have the space to do things separately. We aren’t constantly under each other’s feet. If I have friends over and Karen does too, no problem…we can entertain in different parts of the house without clashing. We are comfortable here on every level.”
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