The designer Sutida Pongprayoon's Bangkok home reflects her personal passions.
Designing a personal space
After creating spaces for other people, this Bangkok-based designer retreats to a house that reflects her personal passions. Words and photos by Tanet Chantaket
Having spent more than 20 years decorating other peoples' homes Sutida Pongprayoon, a Bangkok-based interior and textile designer and the owner of the furnishing brand Mulee, was ready to make a sanctuary for herself.
"I wanted to create and live in a world of my own. When stepping into it I can turn off the commotion of the outside world and enjoy my very private Shangri-La."
The process, she says, was very different from designing for a client: "All customers have their personal preferences [and] designing and making interiors for them is one thing. Designing my own space, I am guided only by my personal passion."
Configuring a floor plan to suit both her private and working lives, Sutida designed her single-storey house like a series of linked pavilions wrapped around three sides of a courtyard and pool. A self-contained home office separates the street frontage from the courtyard, the master bedroom is on the far side of the pool, and the living room, a spare room and the kitchen run between them at 90 degrees.
Sutida paid particular attention to the house's orientation: "I positioned the living room on the south-facing side in order to avoid direct sunlight, yet capture the free flow of breeze. For maximum natural light, I replaced the south-facing masonry wall with full-length sliding glass panels."
The other main rooms have the same sliding glass doors, enhancing the sense of space inside, as well as the relationship between indoors and out.
Moving from inside to outside feels seamless underfoot, too, thanks to the choice of floor material. "The floor is the most important part of the house, generally," Sutida explains. "A wood floor is very satisfying to the touch; however, I dislike dark colours on wood so I had the floorboards bleached and sealed with a water-based finish to show off their natural texture. Other parts of the floor, inside and outside, are paved with polished white stone to give a sensation of smoothness and continuity."
The walls, roof and ceilings are all painted white even though Sutida admits that can be difficult to maintain: "I [have to] paint the whole house every year at the end of the rainy season."
For the interior she used mainly black and white "because I'm easily bored".
"I change the little details every now and then ... the textile of my sofa, the colours of my cushions, or even the sofa itself. Black and white can usually mingle with any setting."
Thanks to a considered choice of surface finishes the interior feels warm and cosy rather than stark and cold. "The colour tint I use for black is not totally black. I choose mellower tones of black in order not to darken the house."
Sitting in the living room are two ornate, traditional Chinese chairs that have been painted white. "Oh, those chairs," she says. "I bought them ages ago, long before I built this house. It's my hobby to collect furniture and house accessories. Then it becomes an obligation to find a place to house them. And, you know what, painting them white makes them come off well in this house."
Asked how she could visualise the chairs in this modern setting, mixing with a glossy lacquered white bench, mirrored-glass table and antique Chinese bronze stool, she shrugs. "I really have no idea. Maybe it's being an artist and designer. Generally I don't follow any rigid principle ... it's always my intuition that counts."
Sutida looks very much at peace in her serene abode. "This house tells the world who I am," she says, smiling. "It reflects me totally; it's just purely, snugly and effortlessly me."
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