Looking back, it would seem that our fascination with old Thai houses began when we got married in 2001. We chose to hold our ceremony at The Jim Thompson House Museum because my husband & I felt that the mix of wooden houses, beautiful antiques and Western sensibility were the best showcase of Thainess.
Little did we know that twenty years later, we would be opening up our own Thai house by the river for others to enjoy.
In 2015, we took a canal boat trip and passed by some dilapidated wooden stilt houses standing precariously in the water. Although unkempt and on its last legs, the arch of the Thai roof and the beauty of the old wooden panels immediately caught my eye.
That and the fact that there was a big for sale sign attached to it. We tried contacting the number on the sign, but all we every got was a dead signal.
Still on my mind, I renewed my search for a river house the following year. A quick internet search led us to a property in a different area, and the drive there had us going around in circles. We finally pulled up to this gate and parked next to a modern building that was doubling as a graphic artist’s studio and vegan shabu-shabu restaurant.
We met the young owner and his mother, who walked us past thickets of overgrowth and into what looked like a Thai home that belonged to a bygone era.
The houses were made of wood, with beautiful roof arches & caged up window frames. Every structure was lifted above the water in an elaborate matrix of broken wooden planks that made up the platform.
The closer we got to the river, the more we found fascinating details: a gas lantern hanging on a tree to provide light in the evening, some soda bottles of now-defunct brands that were still patiently waiting to be recycled, some fallen flowers on ageing wood.
We walked to the point where their property met the canal, and my body prickled with a realization – that this was the exact same house I saw from the year before!
It was love at first sight. And although we wanted to keep the houses as they were, recent flooding necessitated the raising of the ground. But we worked diligently with craftsmen and designers to ensure that we could re-use and upcycle as much of the old wood, windows and doors as possible in our new build.
This is our story which we are delighted to share with you.
We hope you that you will come to Siri Sala and write your own chapter here too.
- Irma & Kirati
The Bangkok Noi communtiy predates the founding of Rattanakosin era, first as an ancient route to the Ayutthaya kingdom and later as the community that supported the thriving new capital of Bangkok.
Life on this side of the water is slower, more local, more connected both to one another and to the past. We often gaze at the khlong and wonder about the kings, traders and countless human stories the house has witnessed floating by.