Turning the corner into the luxurious real estate development on Pradit Manutham Road where Phanni Saeki, president of car and motorbike parts manufacturer RRD Automotive (Thailand) has her home, one is greeted by rows of large, stately houses with manicured front lawns, gurgling fountains and shiny high-end cars. The low-rise gates and walls surrounding the properties serve more as decoration than security features, this already being an exclusive gated community.
For someone with an abundance of choice, Phanni explains why she decided to live in this area. “It’s actually very convenient to commute from here because the expressway is close—it offers an easy run to my children’s school, Bangkok Patana in Bangna, and a straightforward journey to the Nong Khae industrial estate in Saraburi where I have my office. There are shopping malls and restaurants in the area too, so it’s very well-located.”
Traditional in the sense of structure, the home’s front door opens into a large hallway with an elegant mirror and brass cabinet on one side. Here the classic colour palette, along with gleaming furniture and lush soft furnishings, helps to define the mood of the house. “I wanted something contemporary—something that won’t go out of style,” Phanni says.
(Another Thailand Tatler home: Chareeya Prommajuk's Luxurious Bachelorette Pad)
Opening off the hallway, the living room boasts a high ceiling that accommodates a mezzanine level. Accentuating the height of the space are remote-controlled double panel curtains that drape elegantly from ceiling to floor. A spacious corner of the room itself is furnished with statement pieces from Fendi Casa, the centrepiece being a soft ivory sofa, which reinforces the contemporary Italian feel of the house. A giant floor cushion adds a bright touch of colour.
Opening the thick earth-toned curtains transforms the room into an airy space as natural light filters in. From the gleaming marble surfaces and wooden panelling to the chic high-end furniture accented with beige and muted gold textiles, everything has been designed to present a classic, orderly space. “I want it to be very clean and sleek, something that’s elegant and timeless. This house is actually a reflection of my personality and taste, hence the predominantly beige colour palette. It’s a colour that one never gets tired of,” Phanni explains.
The busy 46-year-old executive purchased the Pradit Manutham property almost a decade ago but only moved in at the beginning of this year, hence the house still feels dazzlingly new. Phanni chose everything herself, from the land the residence occupies to the model of the house. “We got to choose the building design and the good thing was that once the house was finished we could make whatever alterations we wanted to the interior layout.”
Not one to miss such an opportunity, Phanni redesigned much of the interior to suit her family’s requirements. “I went to town on much of the space, including the bathrooms, bedrooms and the kitchen. Initially, the house came with three bedrooms—the master bedroom and two smaller bedrooms—but because we have three children and wanted them to have their own space, we added another.” The master bedroom in particular is an example of Phanni’s taste for beige and gold hues.
Past the living room and staircase an open passage leads to the inner part of the house. Overlooking a well-maintained garden with gurgling fountains, this area of the home is more private and includes an alcove where Phanni and her children often spend time together. The semi-circular nook is host to a high-backed curved sofa in soft beige upholstery and two comfortable armchairs. Enhancing the space is a polished round table and plush carpet. A big fan of Fendi Casa, Phanni has ordered new armchairs and a marble-topped table for this area.
“I love home décor and I’m always on the look out for ideas when I travel abroad. I think a comfortable home is a milestone in one’s life. This house was purchased out of love for my children. I want a place where we could grow together as a family, which is why it has been 10 years in the making. I have poured my heart into every single detail to ensure we have a sanctuary.”
From the matching colour schemes and sculptures to the silk wallpaper, the effort Phanni has put her home is evident everywhere. “I always look for statement pieces that are not too loud but add to the overall ambience of the space,” she smiles. Pointing to the artwork on the walls she says, “I got many of the pieces from the Crystal Design Centre; they’re imported from the States. I was looking for pieces that would go well with the interior and these are just perfect. I try to choose things that will remain contemporary. It is gratifying that whenever we have guests over they often comment on how inviting the house feels.”
Phanni adds that the residence is still a work in progress. Due to time constraints and her busy schedule, there are corners and shelves that await the pieces that will fill them. “The main furniture is all in place but I really want to take time choosing objects and decorative pieces for the shelves.” All of which gives the lady of the house good reason to revert to the catalogue of her favourite brand. “I adore Fendi Casa. I think their designs reflect such good taste without being overwhelming. Now I’m looking for appropriate lamps to add warmth and light to certain spaces,” she says.
Serving as the private hub of the house, the kitchen and dining room are interconnected. Here high-ceiling glass windows allow the residents to feel close to nature—something that Phanni appreciates. On days that she chooses to work from home, she occupies the circular alcove so that she can connect with the garden. “I like to be somewhere where there are trees and green spaces. I also love fountains—having water and trees close by help me to relax. After a long day at work, it’s so refreshing to come home and be surrounded by all this tranquillity. Our back garden also connects to the development’s community park via a small gate, so it feels like an extension of our backyard.”
Phanni and husband Toshihiko, managing director at RRD Automotive, like to make time for their children, daughter Aiko (15) and son Toki (11)—eldest daughter Supacha (24) is currently overseas studying in the US. “Depending on the day, we usually get home at around seven in the evening and hang out with the kids in the TV lounge,” she laughs.
The lounge has a relaxed vibe with soft furnishings that make it ideal for chilled family gatherings. Another favourite spot for the family to congregate is the counter bar in the kitchen area, where the youngsters often do their homework. The fitted kitchen itself is quite spartan but Phanni points out that much of the cooking is done in a Thai kitchen situated outside. “I want to avoid the smell of cooking indoors, particularly because Thai food has a strong aroma. I like to keep the house nice and clean, so the only cooking done in the main kitchen is when Aiko has friends over to bake cookies and cakes.”
Regardless of designer furniture and expensive décor, Phanni believes a home isn’t a home without the people in it. “At the end of the day, family is what really makes a difference,” she says. “As a mother, seeing my children happy here makes it all worthwhile. I am also grateful to my parents [former minister of industry Dr Chanchai Chairungruang and Dr Bang-orn Benjathikul, president of Bangkok Thonburi University] for setting the example of a warm and loving home.”
(More luxurious homes: Natcha Thanakitamnuay's Home Is Maiden Heaven)