The home of Virapoj Asavajarn is tucked away in a quiet little soi in the Saladaeng area. Since our first visit to the property a few years ago, the owner has enhanced the decor with new paintings, new furniture and colour schemes. The professional photographer and former editor of Volume magazine has lived in the nine-storey building for around 12 years, occupying the third and fourth floors. “The building belongs to the family and we all live here, each with our own home on separate floors,” he says.
Entering the open plan apartment, the first thing that catches our attention is the dark hardwood floor. “It came from our old home,” says Virapoj. “I just couldn’t let it go to waste.” While at first glance it appears to be black, it is actually coated in a very dark shade of brown. “I didn’t want to paint it black,” he says. “I think that would tamper too much with the visual quality of the wood.”
Also prominent here is a Lens dining table by Patricia Urquiola surrounded by a set of chairs, each varying in style and colour. Considering the man is a stickler for photographic composition, it comes as no surprise that he has picked a kaleidoscope-inspired table. As for the chairs, the idea, Virapoj tells us, is to put together furniture that he has accumulated over time from different places, finding a way for the pieces to look harmonious together.
While some might find it a risky choice, the dark floors serve as a base for the eclectic interior and provide a chic foundation for the shiny stainless-steel kitchen located behind the dining area. Virapoj admits he never really uses it. “I don’t cook,” he says and adds with a laugh, “the refrigerator is just full of drinks. We can’t all be good at everything and I think I should just stick to what I am good at.” What does one do with a kitchen that is never used? In this case, it means more space for decoration. On top of the cooker, a pile of books on a tray can be found surrounded by more of Virapoj’s trinkets. And of course the kitchen’s counter island, topped with two layers of pink glass, comes in very handy when guests come over.
Looking to the right, we notice a large built-in all black book shelf that frames a flat screen television, a funky backdrop for the living room. It is filled with an abundance of colourful books stacked both vertically and horizontally, an intentionally creative move by the homeowner. “I pay a lot of attention to detail,” he says, “all the way down to how each book is placed.” Among the tomes are trinkets and decorative items, many of them small plastic toys. In fact, there are many such items carefully placed throughout the house as decoration. “I love small plastic toys and figurines, especially of Astro Boy,” he says. “I have been collecting them for many years.”
The living room itself boasts a black Eames lounge chair and brown leather Ralph Lauren sofa arranged around a wooden coffee table. Here there is also a small antique Chinese coffee table, which Virapoj got from his father. “Many people like to decorate their living rooms with a sofa set all from one designer,” he says. “For me, although I’m partial to the styles of the 1950s, I appreciate furniture from different designers and from different time periods. It’s about how you put them all together.” And he has done a great job of it, turning his home into an exquisite and unique reflection of his personal taste by mixing and matching a variety of periods and styles in a cohesive manner.
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On the right side of the living space, a pastel green wall provides an interesting contrast to the black floors. Against it are some of Virapoj’s fashion shots and more books. Here too is the entrance to a guest bathroom like no other. Equipped with a glass walk-in shower, the room stands out with its patterned flooring of black and white houndstooth tiles and black and white checkerboard walls. It’s a bold move and upon entering the room, it can take time for one’s eyes to adjust. But that wow effect was precisely what Virapoj was after. “I want people to walk into the bathroom and have it leave an impression on them,” he says.
On the second floor are a guest bedroom and the master bedroom. It’s probably not quite what one would expect to find in a guest room, yet not surprising considering the homeowner’s penchant for colours—hot pink everything is perhaps the best way to describe it. Pink floors, pink walls, pink bed sheets and covers, pink pillows and even pink chairs. As a contrast, the colours in the master bedroom are kept neutral. But to bring some life into the room, recessed mood lights have been installed in the ceiling above the bed. The chic en-suite bathroom is decked with a crystal chandelier and a mirror, which lend an air of sophistication to the space.
“I’ve always loved the idea of a very big and spacious bathroom with a chandelier in it,” says Virapoj. The fashion enthusiast also possesses a walk-in closet featuring grey-coloured cupboards where absolutely everything is organised and carefully categorised. “Yes, I am a bit of a neat freak,” he laughs. “Not just with my clothes but everything in this house. If the cleaning lady comes to clean and something is not in the right position, I will notice it right away.”
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There are a great many objects in this home. A room that reflects the owner’s love for collecting is his office, where behind an old wooden desk (a gift from his father) is a shelf with an army of Astro Boys, among other plastic toys. Here Virapoj works on his new venture, an online lifestyle, travel and fashion platform called Surround. He travels on average three times a month for work. When he isn’t on the move, he spends most of his time at home. “It’s nice to be able to work in familiar surroundings,” he says.
Conveniently located close to his family, Virapoj is not likely to move any time soon. He’s an artsy person and his home reflects it. Contented is the man who has created a living space that is funky, fun and stylish with just the right touch of retro.