A Cleverly Designed Bangkok Residence Fits Two Homes Into One
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A Cleverly Designed Bangkok Residence Fits Two Homes Into One

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By Lucy Wang
A three-story building is transformed into a flexible residence that can serve as a single home or a duplex.

When Sirichai Baimongkol approached Pantang Studio with a housing project in Bangkok, he enticed the Chiang Mai–based practice with an atypical renovation brief. Sirichai challenged the firm to transform a three-story residence in the Thai capital’s Ekamai neighborhood into a flexible home that could be used as a single house or as a duplex with two independent rental units.

Located close to major transit hubs in Bangkok’s bustling Ekamai neighborhood, the 2 in 1 House can serve as a primary home and a rental at the same time.

"His idea for this house made it much more interesting than a simple renovation," say the architects, who had worked on renovation projects before, but relished the opportunity to flex their creative muscles. "The question then was ‘how to fit two houses in one?’ In order to solve this problem, we analyzed the plans of the existing building and defined the stairwell as the central element of our new project."

"In this project, the stairwell is more than just a circulation," explain the architects. "It is the core of the project, as it brings natural light and ventilation to the whole building. This vertical space has been transformed from a classic indoor circulation route to a semi-outdoor space in connection with its tropical environment."

Composite wood louvers shield the interior from unwanted heat gain and provide privacy from the street.

The 2 in 1 House is centered around an existing central stairwell that divides the building into two housing units—a two-bedroom, one-bath ground floor unit and a three-bedroom, two-bath upper floor unit. The stairwell also provides much-needed daylighting and natural ventilation.

 To bring light deep into the tall and narrow building, the architects replaced wall sections around the stairwell with perforated concrete blocks and glass walls with wooden screens for privacy.

The flowering plumeria tree, which came with the original property, was preserved in the redesign.

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When the home is used as a duplex, the ground-floor unit is the smaller of the two units. It includes two bedrooms, one bath, an open-plan living area, a dining room, a kitchen, and two outdoor garden areas.

Pantang Studio selected white for the home’s primary color to brighten the interior and meet the client’s desire for a modern and minimalist aesthetic. Natural materials, such as timber and stone, lend a sense of warmth to the simple decor, while an abundance of tropical greenery adds vibrant color both indoors and out.

The larger upper unit is spread out across two floors, with three large bedrooms, two baths, and access to two elevated garden spaces.

Inspired by Japanese design, the 2 in 1 House features a muted and minimalist palette with an emphasis on natural materials.

"Our favorite part of the project is the staircase, as it really represent the home’s concept," note the architects. "Through the stairwell, we can read the design principle that gives its identity to the whole project." 

 "Natural and rough materials, such as tropical wood steps and screens, concrete blocks, and stone surfaces are emphasized by the predominance of white surfaces and minimal lines," states Pantang Studio. 

Per the client’s request, the new glass-walled "floating deck" features a gray artificial grass floor covering.

The architects used Makha wood, a timber local to Thailand, for the stair treads.

Granito tiles line the back wall of the stairwell.

"From the outside, we kept the ‘single house’ character of the building by preserving its original shape," notes the firm. "Only the new floating deck and its white steel structure emphasize the contemporary look of the project."

The view from the shaded terrace (a feature retained from the original construction) to the neighboring houses and the city skyline beyond.

The renovation retained the original roofline and general shape of the building while dramatically opening the home up to natural light and ventilation. It’s designed to suit both the urban area and Bangkok’s tropical climate.

When the house is set up as a duplex, the stairwell provides access to the upper housing unit via a side street entrance. The upper unit can be securely separated from the lower unit with a gate.

2 in 1 House floor plans

2 in 1 House sections

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