ISSUE 17  |  Color Stories

Saigon Story: Crazy Quilt Tile in a Courtyard Garden

April 28, 2015 10:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

By putting colorful patchwork tile on nearly every inch of the walls and floors of a tiny house’s open-air kitchen and courtyard garden, Vietnam-based architects a21studio transformed the miniscule into something magnificent.

Designed for a journalist who works for architectural magazines and built on a tight budget, a 430-square-foot house in Binh Duong Province barely has any walls–its framework of steel beams is covered with a skin of see-through mesh and corrugated panels.

The big splurge? A crazy quilt of colorful tile visually connects indoor and outdoor spaces and transforms the entire ground floor into a garden.

Photography via a21studio.

a21studio tile courtyard vietnam

Above: Colorful tile covers the floor and kitchen counters and extends outdoors to connect the courtyard garden to the living spaces.

a21studio vietnam tailed courtyard garden facade

Above: From the street, it’s possible to see all the way through the house because the ground floor–which consists of kitchen, living area, and a courtyard garden–has neither a front or a back wall.

tiled-courtyard-garden-vietnam-a21studio-outdoor-patio-gardenistaAbove: A staircase made of a single sheet of folded metal runs the length of one wall leads to the second-floor bedrooms.


Above: Tiles cover the kitchen floor and wall of counters and sink. The floor tiles flow uninterrupted into the outdoor courtyard.


Above: Upstairs are two small bedrooms.


Above: A patchwork quilt on the bed echoes the colorful pattern of the tile downstairs.


Above: An aerial view of the garden, as seen through the bedroom window.


Above: The steel facade doubles as a giant trellis for vines and climbers.