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28 March – 3 April, a week of settling into the new house, another kitchen and the wall.

Only those of you who have spent time living in a basic Thai village house can appreciate what a pleasure it is to move into a western style home again. I don’t mean to imply that I have been living on the edge for the last five months because the family home provided all the basics; shelter, a comfortable bed, a western toilet and a hot shower. Not exactly doing it tough.

What it couldn’t provide was comfort, cool from the 40 degree temperatures we are getting at the moment, quiet and cleanliness. The latter only as a result of the design of the house which leaves a large gap between the top of the walls and the start of the roof. The roof beams sit on top of the walls and the space has never been filled in, a common situation here, maybe providing extra ventilation. Although it may allow the cool air in and hot air out it also gives easy access to the sugar cane residual, which floats everywhere after they burn off, gekkos and dust, and Isaan is a terribly dusty place in the dry season.

My house wonderfully sealed, so although keeping outside clean is a constant challenge, inside is everything the family house wasn’t.

Still in that moving in phase but what a delight. My view as I open the bedroom door in the mornings.

We are still at that moving in phase but what a delight. My view as I open the bedroom door in the mornings.

And speaking of settling in I am coming across many weird selections I made to bring from Canberra:

Gaun unpacks some of the things we brought out from Australia.

Gaun unpacks some of the things we brought out from Australia. Pizza plates and microwave dishes – really! Spot the ugg boots 🙂

There are four main jobs to be completed before we can say a thankful goodbye to builders and they are: (1) the Thai kitchen (2) the pond (3) the front wall and gates and (4) the granite benchtop for the kitchen. This week three of the four were being worked on.

The design of the house provided for two outside living spaces, a lounge area on the East and a dining area on the West. Breakfast and mornings to be spent on the West, the cool side before moving to the East late afternoon for drinks in the lounge area. Yes, it is a hard life.

Showing the two outside areas on opposite sides of the house.

Showing the two outside areas on opposite sides of the house.

My original drawn plans for the house didn’t have an outside kitchen included for some reason. It was always my intention to have one both for my Aussie BBQ and for when Gaun wants to cook up something especially spicy, usually incorporating a sauce which the Thais call “fish dead long time”. I rest my case for outside cooking facilities.

I had sort of gotten used to this view of the Thai kitchen.

I had sort of got used to this view of the Thai kitchen.

We had bought three good quality plastic cupboard units from Global House and they had made the move across from the family home waiting their turn to be included in the build. This was their week!

The Thai kitchen starts to go in.

The Thai kitchen starts to go in.

Render is a wonderful hide-all. It allows a total mess on the blockwork to be covered up and end up looking super professional.


The kitchen in Ming is now working on tiling.

And the end result? Everything I wished for:

My BBQ on the left. Looking towards the guest bedroom door.

My BBQ on the left. Looking towards the guest bedroom door.

The view the other way.

The view the other way. That dining setting was bought from Global House needless to say. Expensive by Thai standards but the table takes four people to move and the chairs are very solid – a two hand lift. Super comfortable too. Will outlast me.

This was always part of my philosophy for building a house in tropical Thailand. I didn’t want to construct an air conditioned prison with no connection to the outside world, especially once the garden gets established. There are certainly times when retreating inside is a sensible thing to do but equally there are periods where being comfortably outside is also an attractive option. An icy cold beer and a steak from the BBQ, Aussie and NZ steak can be bought from Makro for those locals reading, and all would be pretty good with the world. You can see that I have started testing the beer in the photo above.

Just as an aside for those of you who have been told to expect to be eaten alive by mosquitoes, and that’s what I thought having read forums, not so. I have lived in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and now in Isaan for a while and although there are mosquitoes around especially at dusk, they are far less of a problem than during a Canberra summertime. Spray is a good idea as a precaution but if you forget it is not a certainty that you’ll get bitten. Now that may change in the wet season but even then it wasn’t a major problem in Chiang Mai anyway.

Because the Thai kitchen wasn’t included in the plans it was outside Ming’s original quote for labour. He ended up charging me 4,500 THB or A$150.00 to build it.

Because we don’t have an internal kitchen until the granite benchtop arrives in Week 23 Gaun has set up the Thai kitchen for everyday cooking. Pick the odd one out. Answer the microwave. I have two of them, one I bought in Chiang Mai and another that arrived with my Australian stuff. Honestly I have no idea what I will do with them. They form no part of any process involving Thai food and I can’t see them being used for when I cook Western style either. Take them off your bring to Thailand list unless you want to continue to buy TV dinners!

Because we don;t have an interall kitchen until the granite benchtop arrive in Week 23 Gaun has set up our

Gaun like any Thai person could cook a feast for 20 people in no time using this kitchen.

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.