28 November 2006

Rêves Modernistes

Behind our house is a road that goes up the hill (actually the base of Doi Suthep Mountain) toward a Boy Scout camp. About halfway up the hill to the camp is a living fence of enormous (I'm talking eight feet tall) variegated Agave americana. We'd stopped before to take pictures of the of the agaves, and we also like the cottage just up the road from them which is done up to look like a Swiss or German timber frame house with plaster walls. On Monday we took an afternoon walk up to the falls at the Boyscout camp (one of the Boy Scouts let us climb the tower, which gave us a great view of the university behind our house), and on our way back down, while taking pictures of the goofy Swiss chalet, a gate that looked like it was made of old window sashes caught our eye. We stopped to take a picture, but never even got the camera out when we noticed the house behind it.

(I did go back for a picture of the gate).

It is a tiny little modernist cabin, with a half-basement and a huge (nearly a third of the floor space on the main floor) cantilevered balcony. The kitchen is in the half-basement, with a bank of clerestory windows on the east side which tilts inward above the counter. The upper floor is a large open space with sliding doors on both sides, one opens onto the balcony, the other into the open air above the east wall of the kitchen. It's the only access to the main floor from the outside, and it's about a meter above ground, so there must be some missing stairs. The west side, with the balcony, overlooks the ravine carved by the creek that comes down out of the hills from the Boy Scout camp.

The roof is done in blue glazed ceramic tiles. Unfortunately about a quarter of them appear to be in the yard. There doesn't seem to be any water damage inside, however--at least as far as we could see.

Covering nearly half of the floor space up top is a loft, ideally situated for a bedroom. It has a regular staircase leading up to it, so no falling off a ladder late at night when you're making a dash for the bathroom. Whoever designed the staircase, by the way, was brilliant. All its little nooks and crannies have been reclaimed for storage, with built-in shelves and little cupboards.

Suffice it to say, every night since we saw it we've been falling asleep to modernist reveries. I even went and put a note on the gate begging to rent it.


  1. whooooaaa. what a find! I wonder if the owner will see your note.I'm already anticipating the housewarming!! May I join you in nightly dreams of modernism?

  2. As long as we can dream of Japan while you're there.

  3. it looks amazing... i forget that you guys are gone... off in thailand for that matter. looks like you're having an amazing time. perhaps we can meet up next summer? for thang's celebration in vietnam?

    p.s. i need a complete set of plans and elevations so that i can re-create this marvel in my non-existent backyard.

  4. Our summer plans are very tenuous right now. I hope we're here for Thang's wedding.

    I wish I had plans and elevations myself. If I had access to a computer with AutoCAD I'd do it myself. Maybe I should learn how to use SketchUp.

  5. Just when you think you've seen it all... I love little discoveries like this! I have such admiration for the architect who thought this up!

  6. Let's hope you can stay and enjoy it!

  7. I want to go and live there. Find a way to stay for the summer, find me a job and I'll be there... You think you could find a little spot for me in this beautiful place if you can snag it?

  8. Cool! That's good to be your Art studio.
    enjoy new house for your new year.

  9. To be perfectly honest we're somewhat doubtful. One of the times I went by some gardeners were there. When they saw the note one of them, the cross-eyed one, said "No, no." But who knows what that means.