As a kid, I had a pretty narrow conception of what houses looked like: two or three storeys, four walls, peaked or hipped roof, symmetrical windows, and maybe a round window or fanlight over the front door. (Yes, I grew up on a street of boxy Colonials.) This house, in northwestern Thailand, totally explodes that idea. Scroll through to see why.
Built to overlook a pond near Mae Rim, the house is structured as a series of seven pavilions for living, dining, sleeping and more. They're connected by open walkways, which means that yes, you do get wet when it rains. And forget having four solid walls — while covered by those peaked roofs, most rooms have open sides or are glassed in.
The main pavilions are clustered around a green sandstone infinity-edge pool, with a view over the water and out towards the Himalayan foothills. I love the way the transom windows peek out at the undersides of the eaves, making the room feel cosy and enclosed in spite of the huge windows.
The home's architect, Bill Bensley, also designed the Four Seasons in nearby Chiang Mai, and it shows in this hotel spa-worthy bathroom smack in the middle of the garden. I'm not sure I'd want a full-length mirror in a glass-enclosed shower area (if everyone outside can see me, I don't need to be reminded of their view), but I definitely agree with the placement of those purple flowers on the upper storey.
Can you imagine looking up at this every time you went to bed? Between that gorgeous recycled golden teak ceiling and the sumptuous orange silk walls, I don't think I'd ever close my eyes. In addition to this principal bedroom suite, there are three private guest suites, too.
I think this shot just became my new happy place. Whenever we get another day of cold rain or subway delays in Toronto, I'm going to imagine myself navigating the walkways out to this traditional-style Thai sala and watching the mist move over the mountains while enjoying a subtropical breeze on my skin.
According to the listing, this villa was built as someone else's "personal sanctuary," but I'm pretty sure it would suit my personality just fine — if I only had the $16.3 million they're asking. What do you think?
For more Thai style, read Gwen McAuley's blog post.