Finally, after 4 months we have completed our farmhouse renovations. From the outside there are few noticeable changes, but the interior of the house has changed beyond recognition.
Support Local Business
We like to support local business so where ever possible we hired local craftsmen and bought all the building materials from local suppliers. Occasionally we had to go to a big box company and we are fortunately not to far from Global House. The odd few things were purchased online but all in all, 95% of the build supported local businesses.
Native Stingless Bee Hive
The entrance to the farmhouse was left unchanged. Not because we liked the mish-mash of tiles or anything but in the retaining walls there is a large colony of native stingless bees. We figured they were there long before us and as they are very beneficial for the success of the fruit farm we didn’t want to disturb them. If anything, we want to encourage more to the farm so we have been siting bee boxes to allow us to establish colonies at other locations while planting more flowers.
We bricked one window up and build an outside toilet. We also built a brick shed. Sandwiched between the outside toilet and the shed is our wet-room.
The wet room has been transformed from a dark and damp place into a light and tropical space with modern bathroom fittings.
We have tried to create an industrial look throughout the house interior and to achieve that we have used bare brushed concrete walls and counters in the wet room and kitchen. As a contract, we have a bright yellow bathroom washbasin. The finishing touches will be the addition of lots of large tropical plants.
Katae’s favourite room is the kitchen. She wanted a lot of space so we knocked the back wall out and raised the ceiling. The old roof was demolished and we had a steel frame built with a metal roof above. The same team did something similar for the wet room and extended it either side to provide cover for the shed and outside toilet.
We had high windows on three walls to let in a lot of natural light, but not the sun due to the angle and over hang of the roof. We also now have a floor to ceiling sliding door to a deck and the orchard beyond.
There was a counter running along one wall, so we left that but applied a concrete finished to it. A breakfast counter was also built that is positioned to get great views of the gardens.
The kitchen sink looks over another part of the garden and all the grey water is directed to a grove of bananas.
Between the kitchen and the living room is a space we call ‘the lab’. We put in a ceiling and a sky light and built a glass wall to separate it from the other rooms. It is in this room we will be creating our own bean to bar chocolate under controlled conditions. Keep an eye out for Anarchy Chocolate!
When our builders started working on the living room they quickly discovered termites in the roof timbers. We decided to take the roof of and recycle the roof panels were we could. All the timber was removed and a steel frame was constructed in place.
Ceilings were also added along with recessed lighting. Incidentally, the whole house was rewired and we added more power points, plug sockets, USB sockets, light fixtures and a breaker.
Two bedroom door frames were squared up and made the same size and the whole house to this point had floor tiles laid.
In both bedrooms we kept the original floor tiles as the rooms are quite small and a bed and a rug would easily cover them. Both rooms had ceilings installed, new windows, lights and fans.
Every room in the farmhouse is painted white where we didn’t use the brushed concrete finish. This has help make the house seem much lighter and will provide a black canvas for us to decorate on.
Building in Thailand
The work from start to finish took four months. In truth it could have been and was scheduled for 3 months but it was the rainy season, and we had many rainy days lasting 4 or 5 days at a time when the contractors simply couldn’t do their jobs due to the bad weather.
The local contracting teams compromised of 4 builders, 4 metal workers, 2 electricians and 4 people who made all the doors and windows. They are all stand-up guys who did an absolutely sterling, trouble free job.
Farm House Renovation Cost
The total cost to renovate the farmhouse was… less than 800,000 Baht
This breaks down to:
- Builders – 215,000 Baht
- Building material – 240,000 Baht
- Metal work – 125,000 Baht
- Electrical – 55,000 Baht
- Windows and Doors – 77,000 Baht
No more building projects! Now the building work has finished and we have completed a big cleanup around the farmhouse, we have set our sites on planting around the house.
At the time of writing we are waiting for a deliver of top soil to be used as back fill. Once that arrived we can start the fun part of creating and landscaping a beautiful tropical, semi-edible, bee friendly garden. We have also earmarked a place to create a small kitchen garden.
View our progress by subscribing to the Thinglish Lifestyle YouTube channel.