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21 – 27 February, a week of painting and the start of tiling. I will also cover ordering the kitchen and windows and whatever else I can think of. The build is getting towards the finishing stages so there are less things to report on, which for me is a good thing but maybe makes for less interesting reading. In theory we are on the downhill run towards a late March early April finish but I won’t tempt fates by writing that here! We start the week with a workforce of two, Ming and Jack. The tilers were off building a wall for one of the relatives elsewhere in the village – an occupational hazard in a small community with an interlinked chain of obligations. Having selected the ceiling paint Ming and Jack were doing their bit by steadily applying it, Jack on the roller and Ming doing the more detailed work. Paint was being put on the walls too where needed.
Me, coffee and paint.

Me, coffee and paint.

From lounge room to kitchen.

From lounge room to kitchen.

The same view

A reminder of progress made – the same view three weeks ago.

The first four days of Week 17 were more of the same so I will skip through that topic and cover some other things. With the outside tiles installed across all the sliding door entrances it meant that we could now organise to get the windows and doors measured up by Deku German Windows in Pattaya, Chonburi HERE.  I did promise you that I would keep you informed on their performance and the quality of their product in case you wanted to use them too. I have to say that initially I was very disappointed with their communications. I was dealing with Anne, their Sales Manager, and several emails went unanswered. I prefer to deal with companies in written form so that both side have a record of conversations and situations agreed. To me the ability to respond quickly to emails was important as I am dealing with someone 600 km away supplying a reasonably expensive product that I hadn’t even seen yet. Slick communications gives one confidence as to the professionalism of the organisation. A couple of telephone calls got me a promise of action the following day, which never happened. I was so disappointed that I was seriously considering moving to the next choice on my window supplier list, even though they offered a lesser quality product. All I wanted to do was arrange for a measure and quote so we were only talking the first step in the process getting my windows. Luckily for DeKu and me, Peter the CEO of the company and the German expertise according to their website, took over communication and we have been on track ever since. He arranged for one of his guys to travel to Si Bun Ruang overnight on the bus, measure up and return the same day, all of which happened smoothly on the 26th. I received an update quote on the 28th, which I have attached below for anyone interested. DeKu quote Feb 2015 1 DeKu quote Feb 2015 2 The young guy Peter had sent up was very enthusiastic about DeKu’s product, which you’d sort of expect, but he was a quiet nineteen year old and not a sales type in any way. It was only as we took him back to the bus station that he shared more about the company. This was lucky because to start off with after we picked him up there was no conversation at all and I will share why that was because it gives you an insight into an aspect of Thailand you may not pick up if visiting here. In living with Gaun, my Isaan wife, for over nineteen months now, I have come to realise that as far as she is concerned are two groups of people in Thailand. There are those people from Isaan, a large mostly rural area of Thailand in the North East, who speak Isaan, which is pretty much Lao, and everyone else. Isaan people wherever they meet have an immediate connection and the first line of conversation is to work out where each person lives. The closer to each other’s home base the better!

Isaan. Our home is to the left and a little down from Udon Thani. Vientiane just over the border in Laos is actually their capital. Many people don’t know. Very easy to visit from us – not that I have yet but we have been to Nong Khai, which you can read about HERE, situation on the Mekong River.

Well, when we collected the DeKu man from the bus station I think Guan assumed that because he was from Chonburi, which would make him an “other”, no great effort was required. During the measuring at the house it became obvious that he could speak Isaan and not only that but he was from Udon Thani, which is 80 km from us – a double bonus. All was in chat mode from that point and that’s how we got an insider’s opinion of DeKu and their product! One of the interesting observations the DeKu guy made was the number of farang who visited the Pattaya showroom looking for a high quality product at a Global house window/door price. It is a sad consistent in life that in most cases you do actually get what you pay for. The Week 18 update will be one to look out for if you want more information as to DeKu’s product, as we are flying to Bangkok on Tuesday with three main tasks on our list. I have to renew my Retirement Visa by 25 March, and that requires me to get a statutory declaration from the Australian embassy verifying that my income exceeds 800,000 THB per annum. You can read about the Retirement Visa in huge detail HERE.
This was the day we also finalised the kitchen design and placed an order with Global House. A 50% deposit was required with a 15 day delivery time. We have been dealing with a young lady called Jen in their kitchen area and she has been great. Everything promised has come through and she is efficient and good to work with. In fact Global House in Nong Bua Lamphu is a real credit to the company. We always get excellent service and always in a friendly way. I could almost invite the staff over for the housewarming! Ordering the kitchen was another very positive moment. It is a pivotal step in finishing the house. In my mind it goes tiling finished, kitchen installed, granite benchtop measured and ordered, electrical fitout, doors and bathrooms done and windows installed. A three week timeline starting about now. The kitchen ended up costing close to 115,000 THB or A$4,600.
The kitchen plan from left to right across three walls.

The kitchen plan from left to right across three walls in a U shape.

The kitchen plan from above also showing how it flows into the inside dining area.

The kitchen plan from above also showing how it flows into the inside dining area. The siding door on the right leads to the outside eating area with a Thai kitchen and BBQ.

We also bought two bedside tables, which isn’t too exciting but the colour of the timber is the theme that is being carried throughout the house in all the wood we use, including the kitchen.
These are from Global House and are surprisingly good quality. 2,890 THB or A$115.00.

These are from Global House. Real timber and not flatpacked like so much you see here. 2,890 THB or A$115.00.

Building in Thailand eBook

When my wife and I bought some land in Isaan, which is a region in the north east of Thailand, and then started to build our house I started to record the daily events of construction life. For twenty six weeks I wrote a weekly blog update about all the aspects of the build and included as much detail as possible for others who might be thinking of going down the same path. I was surprised by the number of readers I attracted as a result of writing on this subject, many of whom followed the entire build from beginning to end. 

Based on this continued interest I thought I would revisit my original words and bring them all together under the one heading in the form of an eBook. Included in this process has been some extensive updating and expansion of many of the original posts and the addition of the many COMMENTS, which are designed to expand your knowledge and save you time or money or both!

Read more HERE and find out how to obtain the eBook.

I am loving your book – just on my second read at the moment, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything first time around (which actually it turns out I did!).  

Just a note of thanks at this point ……. I am a fairly methodical sort of bloke, but there are many issues which your book highlights which I just wouldn’t have thought about – or if I had, I may well have assumed they were “standard” building practice [U-bends, drain positioning, barge-board alignment] – if it hadn’t been for your excellent descriptions!!  I will probably still “miss” something – that’s the nature of building/design – but thanks to you, it shouldn’t be anything too mission-critical.

The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.