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Thoughts on my dream home design (Colonial French-Cambodia)

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Svenn, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Svenn

    Svenn Well-Known Member

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    Below is a very rough sketchup design of my dream home, which I was thinking of building either on land as shown or over water on a riverfront lot. I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on 1. what style does it appear to you? (despite the fact I already labeled it french-khmer), and 2. do you like it?

    So basically I've been to Southeast Asia lot and I really liked the colonial bungalows there (British or French), but I also like the indigenous Thai or Cambodian style stilt house. I thought I'd merge the two here. I'm also a real fan of arched spanish courtyards... so I thought I'd combine 3 stilt houses to get that effect in the house below. I love plants, so in the final design there'd be vines all over the place and tree canopies brushing up against the windows/roof. Exterior is a rough burnt sienna stucco/adobe (like in the california missions).

    [​IMG]

    Inspiration (colonial SE Asia, Thai stilt house, cal mission):

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jokerman

    Jokerman Well-Known Member

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    It screams Asian. I don't see any of the other inspirations in it. I mean if its something you like and something you dream about then I say go for it. Personally though I wouldn't live in anything like it and it would be hard to find a place for it to look good unless its in Asia of course.
     
  3. Douglas

    Douglas Well-Known Member

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    Looks like fun. But it's going to cost you a bloody fortune. And it has the potential to look really out of place, depending on where you're building.

    Have you considered the costs of construction and other practical matters like materials and craftsmanship? Things that may be part of the standard building vernacular (e.g. carved wood, roofing materials, etc) over there may not be obtainable or practical wherever it is you are building. And it may also not work climate-wise... you can get away with an open structure in the tropics, but not in other places...
     
  4. StephenHero

    StephenHero Well-Known Member

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    Is there a hungover Martin Sheen inside?
     
  5. Hombre Secreto

    Hombre Secreto Well-Known Member

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    No offense, but that looks like a hideous "dream home." To each his own I guess. I wouldn't mind a place like that for vacationing though.
     
  6. StephenHero

    StephenHero Well-Known Member

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    The pillars won't work like that, but I think the house has potential for character, assuming it's not built in Minnesota or Iowa or something.
     
  7. Mr.Pinchy

    Mr.Pinchy Well-Known Member

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    I thought I'd merge the two here.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Svenn

    Svenn Well-Known Member

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    Looks like fun. But it's going to cost you a bloody fortune. And it has the potential to look really out of place, depending on where you're building.

    Have you considered the costs of construction and other practical matters like materials and craftsmanship? Things that may be part of the standard building vernacular (e.g. carved wood, roofing materials, etc) over there may not be obtainable or practical wherever it is you are building. And it may also not work climate-wise... you can get away with an open structure in the tropics, but not in other places...


    It would be in a rural area with not many houses around, and I'd be sure to plant lots of hardy palms around it [​IMG]

    Below is an example of a modern Thai house that is similar to my design. Mine would be constructed similarly but of course the details would be different- more stuccoed arches and verandas, use of wood instead of plastic for the window casings/roofing joists, etc. These houses are built with concrete post and beam consturction... I assume the pillars in my design would have to be of concrete, or dock pilings if I build over water [​IMG], but the rest of the house could be usual 2x4 stick frame construction like average american homes. Yes, it will cost a fortune but the extra labor involved in getting details built (like the virtually non-existent covered porch in modern mchouses) will hopefully give the house lots of character.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. StephenHero

    StephenHero Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that you were actually going to build it in the same hemisphere as the architecture it was inspired by. Please tell me it's not going in a U.S. state not named Hawaii or Florida.
     
  10. Svenn

    Svenn Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that you were actually going to build it in the same hemisphere as the architecture it was inspired by. Please tell me it's not going in a U.S. state not named Hawaii or Florida.
    Backwoods of western oregon actually [​IMG] the porches will only be useful 2 months out of the year but that didn't stop the craftsman style in seattle.
     
  11. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Well-Known Member

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    If you put it in an urban area, could you save money on the land by utilizing water space that would otherwise not be used?
     
  12. Hartmann

    Hartmann Well-Known Member

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    Why is your house so high up? Are you afraid of snakes?
     
  13. PaulSLH

    PaulSLH Active Member

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    If you're ever in Bangkok you should check out the Jim Thompson House: http://www.jimthompsonhouse.com/

    Its an old Thai house, made from 6 different houses from around Thailand that Jim Thompson bought and had transported to Bangkok before reconstructing them to form one large house, which is now a museum. It is beautiful, but the reason that it is beautiful is because of its context, its character and its practicality. Vernacular architecture develops from traditions and needs of the culture and climate, and really is not relevant in a different climate and culture, otherwise you just end up with a McMansion, albeit one that looks a bit different.
     
  14. Svenn

    Svenn Well-Known Member

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    If you're ever in Bangkok you should check out the Jim Thompson House: http://www.jimthompsonhouse.com/ Its an old Thai house, made from 6 different houses from around Thailand that Jim Thompson bought and had transported to Bangkok before reconstructing them to form one large house, which is now a museum. It is beautiful, but the reason that it is beautiful is because of its context, its character and its practicality. Vernacular architecture develops from traditions and needs of the culture and climate, and really is not relevant in a different climate and culture, otherwise you just end up with a McMansion, albeit one that looks a bit different.
    I've actually been to the Thompson house a few times, it is indeed stunning, especially the interior. But I don't think I follow you on the context point- it's not the 95 degree temperatures and shrieking cicadas that make the thompson house attracitve, it's a singular visual experience for the most part: if they packed up the whole house again and dropped it in the woods in oregon, it wouldn't be any less beautiful right? What makes a McMansion is not the context, but the cheap 'home depot' materials used (worst among them are plastic windows, and composition siding (t1-11)). Any new house will look a bit McMansiony even if you used all natural wood and traditional techniques (I've seen it new 'traditional' Thai homes outside bangkok, or all-natural adobe houses in NM) but that's just because it hasn't aged yet, where a lot of the character comes from. I plan on expediting that process as much as possible- there are molds you can buy to spray on the stucco to age it, recycled dried timbers you can use for roofing joists, etc just as examples. By the way, the thompson house and what many people consider traditional "Sukothai style" has many features that aren't traditionally Thai at all (and thus out of context)- the inversion of the exterior wall to the interior, victorian alcoves, and overly carved gables are examples.
    If you put it in an urban area, could you save money on the land by utilizing water space that would otherwise not be used?
    Yes that's a good point- actually even if I put it on land I can plant a garden or something below the house and thus double the size of the yard. There are environmental setback rules for building near water though, which applies to the riverfront lot I'm considering, so for that lot it has to be built on dock pilings over water or nothing. Though that is not all bad- I look forward to growing vines off the balcony and then opening my bedroom window to swing off them into the water below. [​IMG]
     
  15. PaulSLH

    PaulSLH Active Member

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    I've actually been to the Thompson house a few times, it is indeed stunning, especially the interior. But I don't think I follow you on the context point- it's not the 95 degree temperatures and shrieking cicadas that make the thompson house attracitve, it's a singular visual experience for the most part: if they packed up the whole house again and dropped it in the woods in oregon, it wouldn't be any less beautiful right?

    What makes a McMansion is not the context, but the cheap 'home depot' materials used (worst among them are plastic windows, and composition siding (t1-11)). Any new house will look a bit McMansiony even if you used all natural wood and traditional techniques (I've seen it new 'traditional' Thai homes outside bangkok, or all-natural adobe houses in NM) but that's just because it hasn't aged yet, where a lot of the character comes from. I plan on expediting that process as much as possible- there are molds you can buy to spray on the stucco to age it, recycled dried timbers you can use for roofing joists, etc just as examples.

    By the way, the thompson house and what many people consider traditional "Sukothai style" has many features that aren't traditionally Thai at all (and thus out of context)- the inversion of the exterior wall to the interior, victorian alcoves, and overly carved gables are examples.


    In my view (which is quite possibly too pretentious, since I'm an architect), the house if dropped in Oregon, would retain its beauty as an object, it, in itself would still look the same, but it would lose its beauty as a home, as a usuable, practical building, it becomes a museum piece, a disney theme park.

    Thai houses are on stilts to avoid flooding and predation, they are of an airy, lightweight wooden constructions because they are built from the locally available hardwoods in a hot humid climate, that has little variation in temperature, either day/night or seasonally, and they have large overhanging gables on all sides to shield the house from the baking sun. I would suspect that most of these features would be unnecessary in Oregon, and would probably leave you with a very cold, draughty and gloomy house, built on stilts at great expense and for no valid reason, and one that looks even more like a disney house than the Thompson House would, as a needless pastiche with no real heritage or history to it.

    As house in the Northern Hemisphere, in a temperate climate, you would be much better off looking at vernacular from regions that share some similarity with your own. South facing glazed frontages to make the most of the winter sun, high thermal mass construction in stone, earth or concrete to retain heat in winter and allow night cooling in summer, and good insulation would all be more practical, more efficient and more relevant than transporting something into an environment it was never designed for.
     
  16. Milpool

    Milpool Well-Known Member

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    I like it, but, I too have my doubts about how comfortable it would be in Oregon.
     
  17. Mr.Pinchy

    Mr.Pinchy Well-Known Member

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    To OP: This may seem irrelevant but do you happen to be Asian? Otherwise that would make things weird when people come over and you'll have to explain to them why you have a Thai house.
     
  18. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

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    To OP: This may seem irrelevant but do you happen to be Asian? Otherwise that would make things weird when people come over and you'll have to explain to them why you have a Thai house.
    Same reason he has a ladyboy in the master bedroom.
     
  19. Svenn

    Svenn Well-Known Member

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    In my view (which is quite possibly too pretentious, since I'm an architect), the house if dropped in Oregon, would retain its beauty as an object, it, in itself would still look the same, but it would lose its beauty as a home, as a usuable, practical building, it becomes a museum piece, a disney theme park.

    Thai houses are on stilts to avoid flooding and predation, they are of an airy, lightweight wooden constructions because they are built from the locally available hardwoods in a hot humid climate, that has little variation in temperature, either day/night or seasonally, and they have large overhanging gables on all sides to shield the house from the baking sun. I would suspect that most of these features would be unnecessary in Oregon, and would probably leave you with a very cold, draughty and gloomy house, built on stilts at great expense and for no valid reason, and one that looks even more like a disney house than the Thompson House would, as a needless pastiche with no real heritage or history to it.

    As house in the Northern Hemisphere, in a temperate climate, you would be much better off looking at vernacular from regions that share some similarity with your own. South facing glazed frontages to make the most of the winter sun, high thermal mass construction in stone, earth or concrete to retain heat in winter and allow night cooling in summer, and good insulation would all be more practical, more efficient and more relevant than transporting something into an environment it was never designed for.


    I certainly understand the Disney effect it might create, though I suppose my whole approach is that sort of polar opposite of the trend in modern architecture- I want to escape or build an oasis entirely cut off from the surrounding environment so I can forget that I live in this depressing place. I realize most architects these days like to build stuff that blends in with the environment, with extra kudos if it's environmentally friendly... but I find those modern places with their huge windows, exposed suspension cables, fanciful composite beams, etc. to be void of character and feel rather stale after 20 years. I think one of the reason my design might seem tacky is that we so rarely see authentic foreign architecture that the only reference we have is with theme parks.

    To OP: This may seem irrelevant but do you happen to be Asian? Otherwise that would make things weird when people come over and you'll have to explain to them why you have a Thai house.
    Well it might be akward if an actual Thai came to the house, but otherwise the majority of asian-americans, hell even asians in asia, live in western or english style houses and no one feels akward when I enter [​IMG]
     
  20. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Well-Known Member

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    I think if you do a thorough job with it, it'll be nice.

    I don't see the difference between having a Thai house and a modern one in Oregon. Both are going to be out of place.
     

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