Archive for November, 2011

Retiring In Thailand House Build Project Finished – Photos Of The Finished Retirement House

At last Kanyah settles down to live in the retirement house she has built in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Let’s Get Straight In With The Photos

Click On Any Image To See A Bigger Version

Nine Monks Performing The House Blessing Ceremony (Keun Ban Mai)

This photo shows the nine Monks perform the House Blessing Ceremony (Keun Ban Mai) presumably to bring good luck and fortune to those who live there. Until the House Blessing Ceremony (Keun Ban Mai) is done the owner of the house can’t move in to live there, according to Thai Buddhist Tradition.

View Of The House From The Road

How the house looks from the front – the road side. The new gravel drive on the left and the garden on the right yet has to have the landscape treatment.

Side View Of The House From The Neighbour’s Side

Here the shape of the house is clear. You can see the main house roof and the balcony roof. Looking at the detail the ant-burglar bars to the ground floor workshop and the second floor windows are visible.

The Utility Building From The Neighbour’s Side

The massive size of the Utility Building is clear to see. The narrow window on the left indicates the toilet and shower room and the large window on the right is to the ‘washing and ironing room’. (I have another plan for that room – so I’m not complaining too much.)

I can understand the window to the toilet being on the rear of the building but I would have thought that Kanyah would want to overlook her own beautiful garden when ironing the clothes… Strange.

Above, A Complex Arrangement Of Building Forms And Materials Combine To Generate Mystery And Architectural Mastery

I love this photo. If Kanyah took it knowing that it was a brilliant composition – an exciting and beautiful composition of shapes directions and materials – then I have seen a new side to Kanyah that I never knew existed. This photo could easily be part of any renowned Architect’s portfolio.

Another Great Photo Showing The Stainless Steel Handrails On The Balcony

This is more of an ‘informative’ photo than the ‘pure art’ photo above. Nevertheless notice how the view at ground floor level through the ‘car port’ to the front drive and gate adds interest to the house. That ‘car port’ space was intended to be used as a car port originally but now that Kanyah has paved it with marble terrazzo I don’t know what it will be used for. Just a collecting place for junk or a table tennis or snooker table maybe?

I designed it to be available for additional accommodation in future if we need it.

Natural Wood Lightweight Steps And Stainless Steel Handrails Leading Temptingly Up To The Balcony

I altered the original Architect’s design for these steps specifically to be steps and not the stairs that he designed. The difference between ‘steps’ and ‘stairs’? Steps have a vertical fill material between the treads. I took that out so that you get the gap you can see between each tread to make the steps look light.

Originally I wanted wooden handrails (balustrades if you like) and only agreed with Kanyah’s idea of stainless steel when she said it was cheaper than wood!

I’m glad I went along with Kanyah’s idea because I really do love the stainless steel handrails. They emphasise the ‘light’ look and help give the house a touch of the “Wow!” factor.

What do you think? Please feel free to comment below.

Rubbish All Around – Why Can’t They Tidy Up?

By the way – and this is something you’ll see in many of the photos – why do they leave bits an pieces of junk lying around. It makes the place a bit like René Magritte’s modern art paintings who put common everyday objects at laces in his paintings where you wouldn’t expect them to be, just to shock you.

Image of René Magritte's Man and Dove Painting

René Magritte's Man and Dove Painting

It’s like these Thai’s purposely placed junk around the house just to annoy you.

Don’t know what I mean? There is a plastic bottle at the base of the steps. And on the left of it is a Thai floor brush. Further over on the left is a Thai home-made ladder. You’ll see this junk in most of the photos.

Above, the stairs (steps actually) have that light ‘look-through’ feel.

The design intent of the wooden steps leading up to the Mai Malay wooden balcony was to make them look light and airy. This has been accomplished by leaving out the stair risers and using thin sections of wood.

The polished Mai Malay (Malaysian hardwood) floor of the balcony is well shaded from the sun and protected from the rain by the low overhanging tiled roof.

Another view of the wooden balcony floor but at low level which shows the full extent of the balcony and the beautiful red colour of the wood. Also clearly visible is the wonderfully workmanship of the polished stainless steel handrails locally made in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Although the red coloured hardwood is from Malaysia (called Mai Malay in Thai) it makes a wonderfully warm and welcome flooring.

The hand made Thai teak wooden doors to the accommodation on the second floor level and the polished stainless steel security gates.

Beautiful hand made in Pakchong (Pak Chong) Thai Teak wooden doors and hand-crafted stainless steel security gate with the highly polished balcony floor make a very lovely view and easy on the eye when relaxing on the balcony.

The highly polished and ornate hand-made stainless steel balustrades and handrails together with the natural Thai wood of the stair landing and the white-painted concrete structural frame of the house make a stunning vision.

An optical illusion that takes a bit of mental dexterity before you realise that the wooden planks in the centre of the photo are actually the vertical wall of the house not the flat balcony floor.

Interesting view of the stairs showing masses of stainless steel on the handrails and lovely re-coloured wooden stair landing.

This photo shows the steel anti-burglar bars fitted to the second floor bedroom window. It’s not clear how the steel anti-burglar bars are secured to the window frame or wall of the house, and whether they are made from stainless steel or not.

It’s no surprise that the anti-burglar bars fitted to the ground floor model engineering workshop doors are made from highly polished and decorative stainless steel similar to all the other stainless steel handrails around the retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

This is the same white stone drive that runs all the way past the house to the rear garden. The drive is higher than the garden area and is held in place by a small brick retaining wall.

This photo of the white stone front drive is taken from further away from the road so that the full length of the drive from the road to the house can be seen.

The driveway is made from small white stone pebbles (I think marble chips) and passes beside the house into the rear garden. It gives access to the land at the rear of the house.

Proof that Kanyah has moved out of The Mansion in Pakchong (Pak Chong). A Pile of her things collected from her travels around the world and sent to Thailand from our house in the U.K.

80 Days To Fit This Ugly Western Kitchen!

Kanyah told me she had bought a kitchen for 50,000 Baht and they wanted another 40,000 Baht to fit it.

40,000 Baht to fit a kitchen! Taking a Thai craftsman’s wage at 500 Baht/day that’s 80 man-days!!

Nearly 3 months to fit a kitchen.

I later learned that she hadn’t bought it and when I saw this photo it’s obviously a shot of a show kitchen still in the showroom.

I quickly warned Kanyah that the bamboo mat lining to the walls of our house were not strong enough to support the upper cabinets.

She didn’t believe me but after checking with her Thai neighbour she agreed.

Hopefully this grotesque western monster is still in the shop.

Another finely composed photo from Kanyah showing the stainless steel handrail curving towards the house with the teak doors in the background.

View of right-hand part of the massive utilities building. This is the toilet and shower room side.

Left hand side of the utilities building. Note the lack of windows! Looks more like a jail than a washroom.

Why did she put the window at the back?

Notice the concrete forecourt in front of the building where the car is standing.

The photo of the shower unit in the utilities building shows again how much space there is in the shower/toilet room.

The WC in this photo of the inside of the utilities building is not the objective of showing the picture> The purpose is to show how much room – wasted space and expense – there is in the building.

As with the other photos of the shower room/toilet in the utilities room on the ground floor of the retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, this picture also shows what a huge room it is.

The roof water collection system comprises rain water gutters that collect the rain water from the roof and downpipes that then deliver the water to the rain water plastic storage tanks.

Storing rain water collected from the roof of the retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, is essential to be able to irrigate the garden in the dry season. This plastic water storage tank is one of two that we have to store the collected rain water.

This plastic water storage tank has the number 2000 in bold letters on the packaging so I assume it’s 2,000 l capacity. (2 m3)

Another plastic rain water storage tank to store the rain water collected from the roof.

The super-strong Thai Teak wood doors are enough of a deterrent to keep the casual burglar from trying to get into the model engineering workshop at our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, but these stainless steel gates will make breaking into the workshop virtually impossible even for the most determined burglar.

The strongest Thai teak wood was used for the hand made doors for the model engineering workshop in the retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

The massive electric water heater has been sized to suit the bath that Kanyah has had put in her bathroom. in our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand. In front of the electric water heater you can see the stainless steel sink in the workshop.

The stainless steel sink is to wash my hands and dirty metal model parts in my model engineering workshop in our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Notice the tiles around the sink. Actually it’s a wash-hand basin. I wanted a massive industrial sink suitable for dropping heavy steam locomotive boilers about 2 ft (600 mm) long in for cleaning after they have been welded. What chance of that with this punitive little basin?

Have A Laugh On Me

Click on the image above. I mean it.

You’ll love it. Honestly.

That’s all for now. Took me 3 weeks part time work to put this Post together hope you like it.

Please leave a comment below.


Kanyah Is Now Living In The Newly Complete Retirement House In Thailand

Kanyah Is Too Lonely In Her Newly Completed Retirement House At Pakchong (Pak Chong)

Now all the building work is complete and the shock of living on her own is too much for Kanyah.

A sobbing Kanyah phoned me three times in the last few minutes to tell me how lonely she was in the house all by herself. Yes, yesterday they had the house blessing ceremony (Keun Baan Mai) and her sister and nephew’s son came to visit her from Kamphaeng Phet. The had her family with her and all the monks performing the ceremony.

Her sister and nephew’s (Jalan’s) son stayed overnight in the house but now (now it’s mid afternoon in Thailand) they have all gone home and she is alone by herself and very lonely.

A Lifetime’s Dream Come True And She Doesn’t Like It

After spending a lifetime waiting and fighting to get her own house in Thailand and spending nearly a year putting herself under great stress building one in Pakchong (Pak Chong) the truth come home to hit Kanyah hard. She doesn’t want to live there because she is alone and too lonely.

Well, I can imagine her feelings at the moment. I had a great sense of ‘loss’ when I finished my degree exams many years ago. After all the stress and being busy, working hard and being surrounded by builders, suddenly all the people are gone, all the work is complete and there is nothing left to do an no people around.

Kanyah just has to focus on the next stages of the retirement project. For her it’s getting the house furnished and sorting out the garden. She has got to learn to slow down and relax and to be comfortable with her own company.

Unfortunately it’s one of the great challenges that people face when they retire. Not many can cope with it very well.

A Few Bits And Pieces To Finish Off And Send More Money

Kanyah told me that there just a couple of things to finish off at the house:-

  1. The water tanks have been delivered and the builder has to finish them. Kanyah didn’t explain what that meant but I assume it’s providing water pumps and maybe a downpipe from the gutters.
  2. The water supply to our house is (if I am understanding what Kanyah is telling me) is not from a municipal water supply but is a local supply from a well set up by the local people. Hence the water is not clean and the builder told her she should fit a water filter. She mentioned 20,000 Baht but she’s not sure about that.
  3. Also it seems the fitting of the kitchen is not quite complete.

Buying Furniture In Thailand

When I asked Kanyah if she had anything to sleep on last night, she said no, she just slept on the floor as did her sister and Jalan’s son. That’s OK for Kanyah but not for me.

(She just phoned again, with the same news: Her sister has gone back home to Kamphaeng Phet and she is all by herself and lonely, etc, etc.)

Anyway she asked me to send more money to buy furniture, so I guess I’ll do that. The last thing I want is to arrive in Pakchong (Pak Chong) to live in a bare house and then to spend my time on holiday chasing round furniture shops.

Apart from the fact that I hate shopping, I just know we would be arguing about whet furniture to buy.

Setting Up My Workshop And Buying Machine Tools

No, let her buy the furniture and I’ll spend my holiday setting up the workshop, including buying some machine tools from Bangkok. (More on buying machine tools in Bangkok on the Retirement House Finished – Today Post)

Stop Press – Changed My Mind About The Furniture And Garden

Kanyah just phoned – again – and we discussed buying furniture and sorting the garden.

Starting with the garden she said that she wouldn’t do it until I came because it would be very expensive and we have to design it together.

Then she said she wanted to buy marble stones. (I guess she means paving stones to cover that mass of concrete she has had laid.) I said NO to that. I’m sick of throwing money away on non-essentials.

Next I mentioned buying furniture. Of course she would need more money but I was thrown back when she mentioned how much she wanted.

500, 000 Baht!. That’s £10,000 or $15,000!

I can understand spending that much in the West (e.g. in the UK) but I’m not spending that much in Thailand.

So I told her to buy the basics only. Basics being a fridge, freezer, bed and chair and table (for me)

That’s all for now. Now the retirement house really is officially finished. But still the pain and the spending goes on…

Today Is The Official Completion Of Our Retirement House In Packchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, As Kanyah Moves In

7th November 2011 – Another Difficult-to-Forget 7/11 Date

Today’s the date that as I reported in the Move-In Date Fixed – Thailand Retirement House Build Project Finished… ? Post the monks will come to bless the house and Kanyah will move in to reside there.

The retirement house build project is officially finished.

Silence From Kanyah In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Kanyah phoned me yesterday to tell me (again) about the monk’s visit today. But she was very subdued and didn’t sound at all excited. “Send me more money” was the theme of her call.

But she did mention that two water tanks to collect water from the roof had been delivered – each tank 4 m3 capacity. She also said that she had bought a kitchen for 50,000 Baht and had to pay more for the builder to fit it. When I pressed her for details of what was in this kitchen she had bought she said that it was a cooker and kitchen cabinets like in the West. So much for my theory of a Thai kitchen on the Move-In Date Fixed – Thailand Retirement House Build Project Finished… ? Post

I’m not surprised that she hasn’t phoned today – it’s Kanyah’s way. No phone call, no photos, nothing.

Kanyah received for house address (Baan Lek Tee ) on 29th October 2011 as I reported on the
Thai House Address – Baan Lek Tee In Thai Language Post and promised to send me a scan of it to put on the website. That was well over a week ago and nothing arrived so far.

Fine when she wants money and I send it to her immediately. But she can’t even be bothered to send me a scan of the house address or any progress photos. That last time she sent me photos from our retirement house build project in Thailand was on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 3:15 PM and that is just two weeks ago.

Thinking Of Marrying A Thai Woman And Building A Retirement House In Thailand?

My advice? Read this Post and all the other Posts on this website, read the Dont Retire To Thailand page and think carefully. Above all don’t rush in.

What Next in The Retiring In Thailand Story?

Well, “all” we have done so far is to buy a car in Thailand (Toyota Hilux Pickup), bought some land and built a retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

I haven’t done any retiring at all so there’s that to look forward (?) to…

But let’s get practical.

  • She (we) need furniture for the house.
  • I need to buy my machine tools and hand tools for the workshop.
  • I want a big freezer stocked up with farang food and a bigger fridge stocked up with cool beer.
  • I need an Internet connection, my work desk and executive chair…

And my next trip to Thailand is for Christmas and New Year coinciding with the Pakchong (Pak Chong) Cowboy City festival.

I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s festival as recorded (complete with movies) on the Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Happy New Year 1 page and this year it can only be better.

My Model Engineering Workshop In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Maybe I’ll send some money to Kanyah for her to buy the furniture so that I can spend my visit looking for machine tools. Steve W tells me that there are streets in Bangkok selling second-hand lathes and milling machines at reasonable prices.

Here are some photos of machine tools for sale in Bangkok that I have found on various Thai websites:-

Image of Second-hand lathe for sale in Bangkok 003

Second-Hand Lathe for Sale in Bangkok 003

Above, this second-hand lathe for sale in Bangkok, Thailand is advertised on the website.

Below is a half-decent milling machine for sale on the same website.

Image of Second Hand Milling Machine for Sale in Bangkok 003

Second Hand Milling Machine for Sale in Bangkok 003

My ‘Beautiful’ Workshop Floor Will Be Messed Up In No Time !

Above, these machine tools do a messy job of machining metal. A lot of oil is spalshed on the metal cutters to lubricate it an keep them cool. The metal cuttings (swarf) fly in all directions making an oily dirty mess everywhere.

The ‘beautiful’ marble terrazzo floor that Kanyah has put into my workshop See the (Mission Creep – Costs Escalate – Time Overruns – Photos Show Why) Post will be completly ruind as soon as one of these heavy machines is dragged into position.

Here’s another website selling machine tools in Bangkok:-

To save you leaving this page I have posted a photo of a typical machine tool of the type I’m likely to be putting in my workshop below:-

Image of Second Hand Lathe for Sale in Bangkok 001

Another Second Hand Lathe for Sale in Bangkok

I must admit that these machine tools are a bit bigger and older (worn out) than I really want. It’ll take me some time in Bangkok to find small machines in good conditions with lots of accessories.

So, I have my goal set for this forthcoming visit – to set up my model engineering workshop in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

After that, it’s back to the UK to earn more money to replenish my depleted pension pot so that I can eventually retire in Thailand.

I expect that Kanyah will stay on in Pakchong (Pak Chong) until the (UK) spring or summer to give her time to make the Pakchong (Pak Chong) house garden ‘beautiful’.

About Steve W

Steve is very knowledgeable (in general but also about Thailand). Some photos of Steve’s houses on these pages:-

I met Steve out in Pakchong last Christmas and we have kept in touch ever since. His Thai wife is now expecting twins.

Steve (unlike Kanyah) just sent me some photos showing the progress on his retirement house build project in Si Khiu Korat near to Pakchong (Pak Chong) and I’ll upload those to the website in the next few days.

Move-In Date Fixed

Thailand Retirement House Build Project Finished… ?

Fantastic news from Kanyah yesterday!

She has consulted with the monk and a date for the house blessing ceremony (keun ban mai) has been fixed as the 7th November 2011.

I don’t know anything about the Thai house blessing ceremony except that Kanyah can move in to live in the retirement house she has built in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, after the ceremony.

Finishing Off The House Build

Although the house has ben “finished” for a long time there are still a few things left to do to finish it off.

Talking to other people building a house in Thailand not finishing seems to be a common trait amongst Thai house builders.

These last bits and pieces, according to Kanyah include:-

Burglar bars for the doors on the second floor. Apparently these are made from – guess what – stainless steel – and just have to be fitted. I haven’t any photos of the burglar bars from Kanyah but I can imagine something along the lines of the main gate to the front drive.

Insect screens on the doors and windows. I’m intrigued how these will be configured. Opening windows, burglar bars and insect screens. Quite a lot of components to coordinate and still allow the windows to open.

The kitchen. I don’t expect Kanyah to put in a fitted kitchen as you would find in a western house. I’m imagining just gas stand alone burner perhaps with two rings supplied from a gas bottle. The original house drawings and specification had a granite work top with fitted kitchen sink but I have no idea what Kanyah has had fitted.

Image of Retirement House Thailand Kitchen

Retirement House Thailand Kitchen

The hot water machine. Yes, that what she called it. I suppose she is talking about the hot water heater. I think she said it cost something like 8,000 Baht. Sounds like and expensive water heater to me. And why the plumber didn’t fit it wham all the rest of the water pipes were installed beats me.

Kanyah Is Living With The Neighbour

Apparently Kanyah moved out of the hotel – The Mansion in Pakchong (Pak Chong) – on 31st October. She told me that she is staying with our neighbour while she waits to move into the house. Her belongings are locked up in my workshop.

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