PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS AN EXTRACT FROM WHAT YOU’LL READ IN MY EBOOK ‘BUILDING A HOUSE IN THAILAND’- DETAILS BELOW.
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.
And speaking of settling in I am coming across many weird selections I made to bring from Canberra:
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.
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.
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!
Render is a wonderful hide-all. It allows a total mess on the blockwork to be covered up and end up looking super professional.
And the end result? Everything I wished for:
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!
The most comprehensive reference manual on building a house in Thailand. An e-book of 120,000 words arranged in a number of sections including the initial planning stages, a daily report on the construction process, later updates after we move in, a few summaries and a section on more general background topics such as land titles, Usufruct contracts, utility expenses and the daily cost of my building project.
So, what will you find here?
Firstly, I am a retired government employee not a builder so you won’t find a very specific how-to building book full of technical details. However, what you have bought is a very detailed 884-page coverage of how an enthusiastic amateur like me survived the Thai building challenges and ended up with a wonderful home that I still find hard to believe I have achieved.
Although the house we built is unique to us and may not be anything like the style of dwelling you plan to build, you will find many of the processes, frustrations and hints I share very relevant to almost any domestic construction project in Thailand. Topics covered such as creating a cool house, planning and design tips and specific topics like septic and water solutions are mostly likely generic to your situation, or parts of them will be, so will be a useful addition to your research material.
I have tried to make the book a good read and not just a dry list of dos and don’ts. It is written in a casual style as though I was chatting with you and I hope that makes it more engaging. In each chapter you will live every individual day of the build with us plus some of other events and activities and share our excitements and frustrations. Even if you aren’t about to build in Thailand, I believe the book includes enough interesting material of one farang’s story to hold your attention.
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. Mike
Undoubtedly, we would not have the quality home we now have without the book, we had no idea even where to start until we found Building in Thailand eBook. We did manage to avoid most of the traps that we could have fallen into, we are extremally thankful for the authors attention to detail and common-sense approach. Chris
I have had the good fortune to have used the first edition as part of Yuri and my plans to build our home here in Surin. To say it is a good reference book is an understatement. The practical advice and your self deprecating style make it a great read. The anecdotes and asides all add to its appeal as both a “how to manual” and a fascinating insight into what lies ahead for people like me who have only just commenced a similar journey. Far better armed for what’s to be encountered. Greg
The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.