Decorating & Design

January 2, 2012

Thai Style

Just before the holidays, I spent two weeks traipsing around Thailand to recharge and rejuvenate. If you haven’t been, you should go — it’s perhaps the most beautiful country I’ve visited. Along with white sand beaches, soaring temples and bustling street markets, Thailand is full of inspirational design. I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots to share with H&H readers. Take a cue from the east and splurge on an elaborate ceiling design, introduce some teak furniture or brighten up a shower with some ocean-coloured tiles. Each city we visited had its own unique style. Enjoy!

Stone walkways flanked by lily pads? Perhaps not conducive to Canadian winters, but beautiful nonetheless. I also loved these hanging planters made from slats of wood — definitely something you could try indoors or out.

Open-air hotel lobbies with water features were everywhere — gorgeous. And an intricate gold ceiling at a temple in Bangkok put our plain painted ceilings to shame. Why not paint your ceiling a bold colour or add some detailing?

This stone wall to the left towered over a fish pond in a hotel lobby. A grey stone wall like this would look sharp as a fireplace surround. In the same hotel, an outdoor shower on the rooftop had the same shade of grey lining the walls. The natural stone was left unfinished, and I love how it showed the watermarks.

Thailand clearly has a more temperate climate, but I love the idea of these sliding doors everywhere. The one to the right looked like it was woven from bamboo.

Wood furniture was everywhere, especially teak. These simple designs to the left would suit a more modern home — even brought in for indoor use. See how architect Natalie Dionne used a teak Ikea table as a sleek dining table. These hand-carved chairs to the right were all over the Santhiya Resort in Koh Phangan.

These two elaborate benches were also at the Santhiya.

The lobby at the Santhiya had a raised platform with loungers for guests to recline on. As soon as we entered this courtyard, we were overwhelmed by the take-it-easy atmosphere — the entire resort was so calming.

Even the check-in desk had an intricately carved wood mantel. And more carved wood furniture to the right.

Our gorgeous room offered views of the Gulf of Thailand, and more of the same carved chairs to take in the view. Even the handles on the sliding doors were carved wood.

Each of the five hotels we stayed at had detailed silk runners on the end of the bed. I wanted to take them all home! The ceiling in our room at the Santhiya (right) glowed with lights from recessed valances, illuminating a — no surprise here — wood ceiling.

Even the bed had intricate carvings — beautiful! And most hotels supplied Thai silk robes and precious umbrellas in case of rain. These small details are what really reinforced the Thai hospitality.

You may be familiar with my teal fetish, and so these tiles had me taking extra-long showers. Paired with the natural stone to the right, it was a stunning combination. And aren’t these silver dispensers with bamboo labels so much prettier than tiny plastic bottles? Easier on Mother Nature, too.

Several hotel rooms also had views from the tubs to the outdoors. If this is feng shui, I’m on board.

We also noticed some interesting lighting on our travels. This pendant was made from a repurposed tree trunk — very Urban Tree Salvage.

A glam chandelier in the dining room at Santhiya, and the wood lanterns hung all over the resort grounds.

The ceramics also caught our eye. Vases like this accessorized every meal we had — filled with fresh exotic blooms, naturally. And I loved this studded silverware. Crate & Barrel has a similar line of silverware.

At the Impiana Resort in Koh Samui, we had the pleasure of dining with this tableware each morning. The cube salt and pepper shakers were my favourite. This shade of grey would look great in our kitchen, but I couldn’t find them to purchase anywhere.

And lastly, these are a couple of photos I’m thinking of enlarging and framing. Ahhh the scenery — breathtaking.

I hope you found the Thai style as inspirational as I did — there’s always so much to take from other countries. What are your favourite countries to visit for design inspiration?

Read Lynda Reeves’ Asian Adventure for more ideas.

Photo credits:
1-18. Gwen McAuley