The Aryapratheep household combines the charms of antique furniture with the vibrancy of modern art.
By Ashima Sethi
The up-and-coming neighbourhood of Ekamai is lined with an array of restaurants, bars and live music venues. But what makes these winding streets more popular are their luxury condos and modern townhouses, complete with sprawling gardens and swimming pools, combining the best of suburban charm with convenient city living. At the heart of this residential area is Oriental Towers, a condominium that is home to 33 floors of spacious units, with a very special one belonging to the Aryapratheep family.
As we enter through dark wooden double doors, we are immediately greeted by a lounge area elegantly adorned with elaborate traditional pieces. These include an embellished Persian carpet, an antique coffee table and plush leather sofas, which frame the entire living space beautifully. The furniture’s rich brown tones are accentuated by the contrasting brightness of the white back wall and vibrant cushions from IKEA. However, it is undeniable that the room’s focal point rests on the large abstract painting that hangs under studio lights. The lady of the house, Sukanya Aryapratheep, mother to two daughters, Malini and Manika, and son Ab, reveals that every painting in the household has been created by her husband and celebrated artist, Asoke.
As we tour this sweeping apartment, it is obvious that the family is a huge fan of the creative arts. In addition to the vast collection of paintings, there is a diverse selection of hardcover books by authors Pablo Picasso and Gore Vidal that sit on various countertops, while paperbacks of all genres are nestled neatly on shelves. It is while browsing that our attention is grabbed by a large stone Buddha statue sitting atop a white pedestal, highlighted by a gleaming maroon wall behind. “This is centuries old,” explains Sukanya, before elaborating on how the interiors of the home, including the antiques, are an honest reflection of the family’s history and inspiration. “We own a lot of interesting pieces. But this isn’t a museum. It’s a home, so comfort is always our top priority.”
The cleverly constructed open-plan layout has allowed for plenty of space, which the family utilises in an interesting manner. An example is a quaint sitting area adjacent to the kitchen, ideal for sipping on a cool drink or relaxing with a book. Sukanya points out one piece in particular, a wooden chest that has been in the family for over 20 years. “Our love for antiques has led to a collection of various pieces from all over the country,” she shares, revealing that most were purchased from bazaars, such as Baan Tawai in Chiang Mai.
Moving on, we walk through the dining area, which is dominated by a heavy wooden table, accompanied by matching timbre chairs and brown leather seats. On the dining table, white porcelain plates rest atop Thai-inspired mats purchased from Chatuchak Weekend Market, while a cotton table runner adds an elegant flair to the tableware. An adjacent shelving unit painted in teal and deep pink hues adds the perfect pop of colour to the overall space.
This play on contrasting hues is also present in the living room, where contemporary-styled wicker sofas are juxtaposed with traditional black and white cushions, while dark antique cabinets are brought to life by bright vases and collectibles. This vibrancy is further accentuated by floor-to-ceiling windows that let in natural light, brightening up the yellow ochre walls and transforming them into a fitting backdrop for the abstract paintings that hang across.
Adjacent is a separate entertainment room, a comfortable and modern space that also reflects the family’s love for art. This multipurpose area features leather reclining chairs, placed in front of a large flat-screen television, while a console piano rests in the far corner opposite to a wooden desk that sits by a partitioning window. Red-tinted curtains exude a theatre vibe, perfect for the entire room.
While visiting the cosy bedrooms, we were particularly struck by eldest daughter Malini’s room. In the centre sits a custom built canopy bed, complete with colourful fringe curtains and mix-and-match patterned pillows. The playful sheets, colourful wallpaper and framed illustrations uncover a vibrant room full of personality.
We later step onto the winding balcony with views of the surrounding neighbourhood. The outdoor space has light wooden benches with chairs that sit among a lush collection of tropical plants bought from Phutthamonthon. “I enjoy travelling outside the city to purchase my flowers,” Sukanya says. “There is so much variety available there for bargain prices.”
As we take our leave, we sneak a last glance at the lounge area and our eyes are once again enthralled by the contrast of colours and rich textures present in everything from the walls to the art, and even the leather seating. This room and many more, are all components of the same story — one that is full of life and rich in cultural history.
If you would like to view more of Asoke Aryapratheep’s art, please visit his Instagram: @asokearyapratheep.