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Have Thai house, will travel to Phuket

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PHUKET: The concept of a mobile home inspires imagery of rectangular, pre-fabricated structures huddled in a trailer park, but in Kata a unique teak wood, Thai-style home exists which falls into this category of movable accommodation.

Built over 100 years ago in Ayutthaya, it was purchased by Mrs Pranee Prayot-amornrakul, 57, from Bangkok, who moved to Phuket 22 years ago.

“My husband was a captain of a commercial airline, and I traveled quite a lot. We lived in Paris for 35 years and when we came back to Thailand, we usually spent our time in Phuket. The land in Phuket at that time was not expensive, so I decided to buy four rai (6,400 square meters) in the Kata beach area,” Mrs Pranee explained.

She believes that this style of house particularly suits Phuket’s climate and lifestyle. Unfortunately no one sees its value, and this style house seems to be slowly fading and forgotten by Thai people, according to Mrs Pranee.

“I love Thai architecture and it’s suitable for our weather. It keeps you cool during the summer, and you stay warm when it’s raining or cold outside. I’m also fascinated by the engineering concept. The real Thai style house structure is strong without any nails or cement to hold the house up,” said Mrs Pranee.

The entire house is built in light, prefabricated sections with each section forming a wall. Each wall is then fitted together and hung on the superstructure – a frame of wooden pillars – without nails.

When the time came for Mrs Pranee to move back to Thailand, there was no doubt that she would choose a Thai style house and she found one. The only problem was that the house was is in Ayutthaya.

“I had heard from a friend that there were Thai style houses for sale in Ayutthaya. So I went there, saw it, and fell in love with it. I told them I would love to buy it, but the problem was that my land is in Phuket where I plan to retire. They agreed to move the whole house all the way from Ayutthaya to Phuket for me. So I bought it for 700,000 baht,” she said.

Three years later, the house owner offered Mrs Pranee more houses for sale. She decided to buy another five houses and had them shipped to Phuket.

The six Thai style houses were all erected on the same 2,540 sqm complex of land which is elevated above street level.

Large open spaces are kept underneath the houses in the traditional style and all six houses are connected by a Thai style corridor. Each house is used for different purposes: bedroom, kitchen, living room, and working area.

Mrs Pranee converted the big open spaces underneath the houses into a restaurant to take advantage of the economic boom in the area, while preserving the upstairs area as a place she called home.

However, after 11 years of living her dream in a Thai style house complex, she has decided to move her beloved houses again. “I sold one parcel of land to Centara Hotel, and now I’ve decided to sell the area where the Thai houses are situated, but the houses are coming with me,” she said.

Mrs Pranee has not decided where to go yet. She might be able to find a good piece of land on another side of Phuket, or she may be moving to another province.

Wherever her next destination is, she has already made plans for her home.

“Urbanization makes us all forget about traditional ways of living, which I intend to bring back to life again. Once I find the next location for my Thai style houses, I will make it representative of what we Thai people stand for.

“I will display our culture through different activities: Thai cooking classes, a venue for traditional Thai weddings, exercise through traditional Thai dance, or any other activity that exhibits our unique Thai culture. I will make my house become an intellectual playground where people with creative ideas meet and share their experiences.

“It may sound like a dream, but I have been living the dream for so many years and I believe I can make this dream become a reality.”

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

 

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