Have you ever been invited to a home where you enter through the roof? This retreat in the northern part of Vietnam, outside the hill town Tam Dao (as in the Tam Dao National Park), belongs to writer Nguyen Qui Duc. He built the house, a New York-style loft, to be able to escape the city life of Hanoi, where he runs a cafe and art gallery. His idea was "to recapture the feeling of the pre-war Vietnam of his childhood," as it says in the feature of the July 2013 issue of House & Garden.
Duc says the locals still ask him when he's going to finish the house. By that they are referring to a front door. To enter the house you have to walk on paths that lead you through the lush foliage on to a concrete platform, which is the roof. There is the door, a sliding glass pyramid with a trap door underneath. It takes you into the rustic living area below.
Local builders and artisans were employed to build the house. My favourite part of the feature is when Duc explains the crooked kitchen shelves, which can be seen in a small photo below. He says he wasn't around to supervise this particular part of the house and when he approached the carpenter about the shelves the only answer he got was that a shelf was a shelf. It doesn't occur to him to change them.
photo credit: Anders Schønnemann for House & Garden, July 2013 (photos of magazine pages taken by me)