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  1. #1
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    Finding and Building a Residence for Mr and Mrs MTSINTERNATIONAL

    This thread post is based on actual events. As only some of the events that lead up to the final outcome of this project have occurred and others have yet to occur, the progress updates where be periodic. Comments and constructive suggestions welcomed.

    As far back as 1997, the decision was pretty clear that the retirement residence for Mr and Mrs "MTSINTERNATIONAL" would be in Thailand. The question was, "where"? Being from BKK with resident family members there, the spouse was more inclined to want to reside in or close to BKK. I, on the other hand, prefer some solitude and for that reason alone, let alone the long and endless list of other reasons, prefer having my residence out of Bangkok. So, until we had a joint consensus of where the Mr & Mrs "MTSINTERNATIONAL" Thai residence should be, we looked, but took our time. We looked in BKK, we looked near BKK, we considered Prachenburi area, and we looked in Hua Hin. There was no apparent evidence of reaching or getting closer to a consensus and since it is just the two of us, we were looking for something that we could both live with.

    We were then living and working outside of Thailand but in another Asian country which was only about a 5 hour plane ride away so we were not in any hurry. Anyways as time passed and we got closer to the planned retirement date of 2008, our efforts to find the future location of the retirement “dream house” location became our dedicated mission, beginning in 2005, during our many and frequent trips to Thailand. By then, we had made many trip to the Rayong and Sattahip area of Thailand. Both Rayong and Sattahip, as most readers of the TD forum are well aware, are both on the same side of BKK as the new airport. Additionally, the highways between Rayong/Sattahip area and the new airport and BKK were planned with major portions completed and others still in the process of being completed. So, with the commute time between BKK and a site where we were both content on setting up our residence reduced to a time and distance that was far enough away to provide the desired privacy yet close enough which we could go on a 1 day road trip, we agreed on the Rayong/Sattahip area. Great. We would be near the water, near the golf courses, close enough to restaurants and city stuff yet had plenty of undeveloped land, and we had some family in the area but not so many or so close as what the family members would be had we lived in the BKK. Don’t get me wrong, I love the family but having some distance so that visits are not unannounced or an everyday/ever night occurrence is best for all involved. Enough said. So, Rayong/Sattahip area it was.

    During our many visits to Thailand during 2005 and 2006, we looked at land lots inside a development and land with no association with a development we looked at prebuilt houses and floor plans for a house to be built on our own land.

    We were flexible about some things and no so flexible about other things. We preferred a single floor house. I was not so sure that I wanted to be taking steps 20 years or so from now but we did not rule out a 2 story house floor plan.

    I wanted a swimming pool and that was pretty much a given.

    A small garden was something we though we wanted but not a mandate.

    I wanted a wall. Not one of those 1 meter high walls or a wall that could be seen through. As I said before, I wanted some privacy and with the swimming pool, I thought it best to be able to have a wall to a height that I determined and not of a height that I was limited to because of the rules of the development.

    Anyway, we looked and looked and looked. The wife and I are pretty much in tune with what each of us like and don’t like so after walking out of place after place that we looked at, we had a good idea that neither one of use particularly thought it was for us.

    We saw some beautiful places that we liked but they were either out of our established price range or there was something that did meet our established criteria. No pool, or the pool was only the size of a hot tub or the color of the pool tiles were hideous; or the development had restrictions on how high the perimeter wall could be; or the land was too close to a major road; or the land was too close to the Navy installation where explosives were assembled; or the lots of land were smaller than we desired and when we expressed interest in purchasing 2 lots next to one another, one or the other lot was not available or the developed required that a house be built on each lot. For one reason or another we were unable to immediately find what we were looking for.

    We did find one development that met our criteria. The houses were well constructed, they each had a pool, option for building either 1 or 2 story house of the builder/developers design which we liked the designs, and a wide choice of lots. We picked the lot that we liked and not being a couple to rush into anything, decided that we would discuss and think about it for a while. We wanted to keep our options open and wanted to look around a little more. We ended up going back to this development site multiple times but were still not ready to commit.

    While driving around one day in an area slightly North East of Pattaya, we did see a house for sale that was appealing. We called the number on the sale sign and within minutes we were granted access to the house to look around. Perfect. Everything was perfect. The pool, the size of the land and the individual rooms. The colors of the paint were appealing and the house floor plan was perfect. The kitchen was western and it was hard to find anything really wrong with the house. All was perfect except that the location of this house was closer to Pattaya city than what I desired and the access road from Pattaya to the house was narrow and heavily traveled with motorcycles. Anyway, we looked at the house no less than 3 or 4 times and in each case, we (it was mostly me) walked away with the same conclusion of the house is nice but the location is not exactly what we want. The spouse was convinced as well as I was able to explain my logic for not particularly caring for that exact location. So, we decided to look some more.

    Next day, were are visiting at the spouse’s father who happens to be staying at one of his houses, this one in Sattahip. After, making that friendly visit we head off in the direction of Utaphao, Ban Chang and Rayong province. After looking at a few housing developments in that area we passed Pala Beach area headed toward Sukumvitt, I think it is highway 3 as well. Anyway, a sign, looking what I thought said “Land for Sale” in Thai, caught my attention and I put on the car breaks. The spouse confirmed my intuition and indicated that the sign did indeed say “Land for Sale”. We proceeded up the small coconut tree lined soi to check things out…..

    This is what we saw:




    This is the sub soi leading up to land site lots that were for sale. Beginning just to the right in this picture where the banana tress are located up to about 1 kilo there were lots of approximately 100 sq meters. Only a few lots had been purchased and only one lot had a house already built. On the left side of the sub soi, the empty lots started after approximately 250 meters up to the same 1 kilo distance. As I recall, the pricing of the lots ranged from a high of 5000 baht per sq meter for those lots closer to the primary soi to 3500 baht per sq meter for those furthest back from the primary soi. Lots in between were priced at 4500 baht per sq meter. As the site of these this land lot sites are not way upcountry, the price per sq meter may seen a little high but in reality, after doing considerable research, found that the lot prices were extremely fare and reasonable.

    Upon entrance to this sub soi, the area looked like a preferred area in which to build. It was quiet and off the main and secondary soi up the sub soi. There were 2 golf courses within 3 -4 kilometers, seafood restaurant and a non tourist beach 1.5 kilo down the 2 lane coconut lined secondary soi, and not too distant from LOTUS Shopping and highway access. Things were looking up.

    (more on this project to come)

  2. #2
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    As we proceeded up this sub soi, this 4 lot parcel of land (just under 1 Rai or 400 sq meters) appeard attractive. The frontage of the property is East - West with the front corner of the below picture being the North West corner. It is a corner lot with a North South running side alley way.


  3. #3
    Member BosseO's Avatar
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    Wifey and I bought a 412 sqm plot in the area just 2 weeks ago. 1.6 km from Payoon/Pala Beach. It is in a development with about 50 houses built. The land was 3.125 b. a sqm. We will build a big 2-story house of 246 sqm, that (hopefully) according to the contract, will be finished in August. No private pool, but there is land enough for it. With our present changes of the house plans it will cost us around 3.6 mil. b. total.

    BosseO.

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    just under 1 Rai or 400 sq meters
    I thought that 1 Rai was about 1600 sq meters or 400 sq wa

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by johpam View Post
    just under 1 Rai or 400 sq meters
    I thought that 1 Rai was about 1600 sq meters or 400 sq wa
    "Mea Colpa"!

    "My Bad"!

    I stad corrected.

    U R correct johpam.

    I'll make the adjustment in my master copy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BosseO View Post
    Wifey and I bought a 412 sqm plot in the area just 2 weeks ago. 1.6 km from Payoon/Pala Beach. It is in a development with about 50 houses built. The land was 3.125 b. a sqm. We will build a big 2-story house of 246 sqm, that (hopefully) according to the contract, will be finished in August. No private pool, but there is land enough for it. With our present changes of the house plans it will cost us around 3.6 mil. b. total.

    BosseO.
    Sounds nice neighbor. I'd like to compare plans someday. The development sounds familiar. Gated community near golf course? U in country now? U going to be in country mid to end of Jan 08?

  7. #7
    Member BosseO's Avatar
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    Yes, there is 5 golf courses not too far away. No secret that the place is called Payoon Green Ville. My wife refused to buy a plot outside an area with security.
    Left LoS last Sunday. We will be back as soon as our house in Denmark is sold or latest in May for an inspection trip.

    BosseO, not danish just relocated by employer.

  8. #8
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    Driving up the sub soi, here are some of the then available lots. The top picture is looking West. The bottom 2 pictures are looking East. When last at the site in Oct 07, I was advised that most of the lots had been purchased.






  9. #9
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    Stop the car! We stopped the car and got out to look around at this corner lot area of about 1 Rai (400 sq wha – thanks “johpam” for pointing out my previously stated conversion). Using the mental picture of that house from North East of Pattaya that we saw and liked (except for the location) as a modeling template, I envisioned the placement of that house with a slight redesign to fit on the land that we were currently looking at. The vision was just what I was looking for. I did a rough sketch of my thoughts of how the house, pool, driveway, and garden would be positioned on paper and showed it to my lovely bride (not that she was a recent bride for me but none the less “my bride”). She was unable to envision any other way but in showing her the rough sketch layout, we were able to discuss. It was a 2 way discussion with some minor adjustments to the sketch and weighing the pros and cons.

    15 minuets later I asked, “What do you think? Do you like it?”. “It’s ok” was her response.

    Although the spouse already knew what I though we were looking for, I reiterated all the things that I liked about the land, the location, the price along with what I thought were advantages for this particular lot location.

    OK, where is the land owner?
    As we got back in the car and started to return back to the entrance of the sub soi to see if there was a phone number on the “lots for sale sign”, an elderly Thai man walked our way. We stopped and talked to this elderly Thai man and as we found out, he was the owner of the land. We walked the land and we asked him a whole bunch of questions.

    the following few pictures show the site land lots that we were looking at and discussing. this top picture is from the North East corner looking South West.


    the below picture is along the West side looking East.


    the below picture is from the North West corner lookin South East.




    Khun was able to answer all our questions to our satisfaction. Khun showed us the lot chenault markers, pointed out the tapioca farm to the south of the land and pointed out that an Aussie had purchased some of the land just across the sub soi and down about 50 meters. Khun indicated that the lots beginning at this sub soi and alley intersection which was approximately 200 meters from the entrance way were less than the lots closer to the secondary soi. Khun quoted the price of the land at 4500 baht per sq meter. I asked if there might be a reduction in the price if one was interested in more than 1 of the lots and he indicated that we could discuss that if I was in fact interested in purchasing. We informed Khun that we wanted to look around some more and would contact him if interested.

    The spouse and I hung around, walked the land some more, and were able to talk to a Thai couple that had just moved in to their newly constructed home. They were friendly enough and provided the insight we were looking for as it relates to the land, the area, and the seller of the land. All seemed OK.

    the below 3 pictures are of houses in the immediate area and adjacent to the land lots we were looking at.






    As we returned to the car and proceeded toward the exit and secondary soi, Khun the land owner was there at the corner. As it turns out, his son owns the house there on the corner and his other son and daughter-in-law own a noodle shop there on the corner.

    We stopped and talked to Khun some more. I told him that we were interested in the four lots of land, asked what kind of reduction in price he might consider, and what he wanted for a deposit until we could work the details to have money transferred and change the chenault. Khun reduced the price slightly, indicated that the deposit was 175,000 baht, and we set a date for 4 months down the road for closing the deal. The deposit papers we drawn up and signed, the deposit money handed exchanged, and we all had some drinks to seal the deal. An hour later we were headed back to the hotel in North Pattaya.

    It wasn’t 30 seconds after we got back in the car that the spouse says to me that she did not realize I had the amount of money with me for the deposit and wondered why I had not conferred with her about the purchase. Hummm! After a few minutes of discussion I did determine that she was not opposed to the site of the land purchase so I further reflected on the “OK, Up To You” innuendo that she gave me while we were looking at and discussion the potential for building there. With that out of the way and her now realizing that I had consulted and received what I though was her concurrence we proceeded back to North Pattaya and celebrated.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEA Traveler View Post
    15 minuets later I asked, “What do you think? Do you like it?”. “It’s ok” was her response.
    In my experience, when the wife says "It's OK", she actually means "I hate it". Nevertheless, nice thread, and thanks for sharing!

  11. #11
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    Those last two houses look like gigantic heat sinks to me.
    Does anyone in this country ever think about environmentally friendly house plans instead of concrete blocks?????

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ban Saray
    Does anyone in this country ever think?
    Nope.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat a. boozer's Avatar
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    As I live in Ban Chang, and am often in the Phayoon/Phala area, will be greatly interested in hearing more about your house building. We had a new home built, finished in March this year, we were extremely lucky in having found a not only competent, but adaptable builder, which certainly eased the project.
    Last edited by a. boozer; 28-11-2007 at 10:26 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteshiva View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SEA Traveler View Post
    15 minuets later I asked, “What do you think? Do you like it?”. “It’s ok” was her response.
    In my experience, when the wife says "It's OK", she actually means "I hate it". Nevertheless, nice thread, and thanks for sharing!
    Thanks Whiteshiva but I advised my spouse a long time ago to "Say what you mean and mean what you say". So, with that in mind, she does just that. And, after the spouse and I discussed the issue, she was totally in agreement with the advantages of locating and purchasing where we did. She is now on board with what "OUR" decision was. (Wow, I lucked that one out with the spouse didn't I? or possibly I'm not out of the woods yet.... we shall see... ).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ban Saray View Post
    Those last two houses look like gigantic heat sinks to me.
    Does anyone in this country ever think about environmentally friendly house plans instead of concrete blocks?????
    It is possible that the only interest in "green" in Thailand is for the "green back" .

    Not that it is correct but people in general tend to stick with what they know, not with what is necessarily the best.

    Let's remember, we expats are the ones who are the few odd balls, not the other way around...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by a. boozer View Post
    As I live in Ban Chang, and am often in the Phayoon/Phala area, will be greatly interested in hearing more about your house building. We had a new home built, finished in March this year, we were extremely lucky in having found a not only competent, but adaptable builder, which certainly eased the project.
    Stay tuned boozer, I plan on having this story completed by next year this time. The story line may be adjusted to "the good, the bad, and the ugly" but it will be a story non the less.

    Congrats on your home purchase and finding a builder you were satisfied with. I think I have the same as there are some honest and reliable locals around. Just hope mine is one of them. I've seen some of his work and it meets the standard.... the wifes standard and I'm going to be keeping as close an eye on it as I can so we shall see. You have any pics and constructive advisement on what to look for? I'm accepting PMs....

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    (Approximately 4 months later)
    Oct 2006

    Getting the finances in order was not too much of an issue, it was the carrying around of the balance for the payment of the land that I didn’t feel comfortable with. We called Khun Land and arranged to meet to look at the land, make payment, and have the Chenote changed to the wife’s name. Yup, sometime you just gotta take that chance but after being together for 12 years and having a great relationship for that time period, the odds were in my/our favor.

    I signed off on the paperwork that indicated that I had no financial interests associated with the land purchase and that the funds were totally those of the wife. The wife likewise completed all of her paper work, paid the associated fee and that was that. We were now land owners.

    Khun Land had a little bit of a hard time getting the paper bag full of money out of my hands afterwards but after he promised to buy the seafood dinner that evening down on Pala Beach I released my grip on the bag full of baht.

    With the deal closed, the wife and I met with the owner of the house we looked at in North Pattaya. I will call him Khun D. Anyway, having established a relationship with Khun D., having a good feeling of his ability and integrity as well as his building practices, we discussed with Khun D. about his being our contractor for the project. We had decided to use the house that Khun D. built in North Pattaya as our template in which to start our project. Khun D. provided us with a copy of the complete set of engineering designs and floor plans from which to layout our floor plan and for the next 9 months to a year we further developed the plans as we wanted for our house project.

    During the next two weeks that we had left in Thailand on this trip, I wanted the 1 Rai of land cleared of the vegetation and have some dirt layed on the land to elevate the land above the street level. Additionally, we had wanted a perimeter wall to be placed at some time in the not to distant future. We advised Khun D. of our thoughts and we layed out the game plan. The next day, the land vegetation was removed. See below pictures:






    and two days later the dirt for land fill started to arrive. In the end, the land fill effort took 2 full days and 137 truckloads of dirt. Here are some pictures of the trucks bringing the dirt.













    I counted the trucks and upon completion, made payment. That was in October 2006.

    The plan was to start construction of the perimeter wall 2 months later, let the dirt settle, and then around a year later, sometime in early January 2008, begin construction of the house. After all, that would allow some time for the dirt to settle, for us to work the details of the floor plan that we wanted, and to get our affairs in order for retirement.

    Construction of the wall was started and completed in December 2006. Here are some pictures of the wall being built.

















    The wall is approximately 2 .2 meters in height and is a full block width on the front (North) and West side. The South and East sides of the wall were ½ block width. Plenty thick enough. The pillars were built to accept electrical wire for the placement of lamps on the top of the pillars and there is exposed rebar at the top in which to secure some additional iron railing at the top of the wall if we decided we wanted it. At the front of the wall, we allowed for both a vehicle entrance and a pedestrian entrance. Here are some pictures of the completed wall (minus lights, entrance gates, and top railing).







    Until the next update, happy posting!!!



  18. #18
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    (Approximately 1 year later)
    October 2007

    It has been a year since we were in Thailand and were anxious to see the completed wall and area near our planned house construction site. On our drive from North Pattaya to the future residence of MTSINTERNATIONAL in Ban Chang, Rayong province, we stopped and picked up about 50 bamboo stakes ¾ meter in length and some colored ribbon. I had my plan to use the stakes and ribbon to layout the floor plan of the house on the land site. Upon arrival at the site of the future residence of MTSINTERNATIONAL, we examined the wall and noticed no irregularities. Khun had cleared away the small amount of brush that had grown on the dirt placed there a year earlier and all looked well at the site.

    The construction of the Auusie’s house 50 meters down the road had progressed and resembled a house now but still had a way to go. One thing that I did notice about the Aussie’s house was that he had vinyl framed windows installed. Although I had planned on also using vinyl framed windows, the style was somewhat different than what was being used in the Aussie’s house. Anyway, it was good to see that some progress was being made in the neighborhood.

    For the past year we had be corresponding with Khun our contractor about our tweaking of the floor plan but it wasn’t until we layed out the floor plan with the bamboo stakes and ribbon that we were able to make our final adjustments. Both the wife and I were pleased with being able to see and walk the actual layout in true dimension and Khun was good enough to hear what we had to offer about the final resulting floor plan modifications. OK, no more changes right??? Don’t bet the farm. Until it’s done there is always the opportunity to make changes.

    Here I am staking out the floor plan on the land.







    After walking the house floor plan layout, we made an initial trip into Rayong city to look at and price tiles and wood flooring. The next day and for the following few days we went to Home Pro and several of the other local Pattaya home supply stores to again look at tiles, wood flooring as well as to get an idea of the type and price of counter tops, kitchen cabinets, door hardware, sinks, mirrors, towel racks, toilets, cooking range, etc. For any one who has done this before, you know that it isn’t that difficult to come out more confused than when you went in. Anyway, we had a good idea of the style, colors, and prices of items and although we were not yet ready to make a decision, this information provided the basis for our planning process to continue.

    We then proceeded back up to Bangkok to the teak wood door capitol of Thailand to look at the various styles and prices of teak wood doors. There was much commonality to the styles and pricing and I found it a matter of whom was able to best provide good solid information on their product, the process for making the doors, describing the various wood finishes offered and whether or not delivery to Ban Chang was included in the price. We found 1 shop where a manager or possibly the owner spoke English and was able to describe his products and the door making process with profound knowledge. He allowed us to take some pictures of the various style doors that we liked and he priced these doors for us.

    Here is a picture of the double teak wood door that we selected as a very possible choice for our front door. It comes framed, each door is 90 x 200 cm, and has a finish of A/B.



    The other exterior doors and interior doors are all 80 x 200 cm and will have an A or A/B finish as we specify. Here is a picture of the other door (at this point the picture displays an unfinished door) that we selected as a strong candidate for use.



    The teak door for my office will be paned with glass and we have not yet picked that door out. Additionally, I have French doors and side windows planned for the exit to the patio where the pool will be located so they have not been identified here either.

    I’m getting one heck of an education here though and I’m sure it will continue into the construction process and thereafter.

    With progress on the house planning process well on it’s way, we decided to focus our attention on the swimming pool. If not for anything else, we decided on having on overflow pool system, set the dimensions for the swimming pool set at 5 x 9 meters with a ¾ circle spa at one end, 3 meter wide steps leading into the pool from one of the long sides, and a seating area along submerged 50cm under the water line on the same wall that the steps are on. Equipment type and manufacturer are still being reviewed with some insight being provided from both sources here in the USA as well as resident expats in LOS. Again, I’m getting a lesson, this time as it relates to swimming pool equipment and maintenance. Understanding that I still want to make a few adjustments, several of which I will mention here and note that the drawing swimming pool drawing below has yet to be updated. 1) the light at the bottom of the steps will be relocated to be inside the spa area. 2) the depth of the deep end of the pool will be reduced from 2.5 meter to 2 meters. 3) steps or some type of walk out to be included at deep end of pool. 4) I’m not totally satisfied with the steps on the long side of the pool so I’m looking at making some type of adjustment there. Anyway, I'll include a copy of the draft pool drawings in the next post:

    So, from October 2007 until now, we have continuously reviewed the plans and housing supply, appliance, fixture, and paint brochures, made some minor adjustments and selections of appliances and paint colors we want, and have consulted with our project manager, contractor, pool contractor and interested professionals on this project. We have our plane tickets for a trip to Thailand in mid January and will have the ground breaking for construction of the house on 18 January 2008. As things proceed, I’ll continue with this posting but in the meantime, any helpful suggestions that reflect a professional’s experience in this matter will be accepted. Thanks in advance for all who offer good positive and professional comments offered in layman’s terms.

    Until the next post….
    Last edited by Marmite the Dog; 04-02-2008 at 12:39 AM.

  19. #19
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    Starting to look very good, ST. It's good that you went for the earth straight away as now you can start to build for real. Our soil has to settle awhile so we won't be building for a few months yet. Nice wall, by the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loombucket View Post
    Starting to look very good, ST. It's good that you went for the earth straight away as now you can start to build for real. Our soil has to settle awhile so we won't be building for a few months yet. Nice wall, by the way.
    I appreciate the kind and encouraging words LB. It should start getting interesting during our January trip with the ground breaking construction beginning. Yo have any information on the background, meaning, and what should be done with the construction ceremony?

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    Member BosseO's Avatar
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    "look at tiles, wood flooring as well as to get an idea of the type and price of counter tops, kitchen cabinets, door hardware, sinks, mirrors, towel racks, toilets, cooking range, etc.'

    We did that run when we were in LoS last time, still couldn't find a supplier that could build a kitchen as we want it to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BosseO View Post
    "look at tiles, wood flooring as well as to get an idea of the type and price of counter tops, kitchen cabinets, door hardware, sinks, mirrors, towel racks, toilets, cooking range, etc.'

    We did that run when we were in LoS last time, still couldn't find a supplier that could build a kitchen as we want it to be.
    yes, I know what you mean. Anything out of the local ordinary practice is something of a streach.. although I'm finding out that my guy is good with being able to do what we want. Lucky so far...

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    Cacoethes scribendi
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    Quote by SEA Traveler " About the ceremony"


    Umm... That's a hard one. I know that there is a blessing ceremony, with a monk. There is also something about putting money at the bottom of the first pillar or the first hole. If you look at some of the more established members threads: Dr. Andys or Hillbily's (from contruction famous threads) I think it goes into some detail with pictures. Failing that, there are a number of knowledgable folks on this forum and they will be able to put you right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loombucket View Post
    Umm... That's a hard one. I know that there is a blessing ceremony, with a monk. There is also something about putting money at the bottom of the first pillar or the first hole. If you look at some of the more established members threads: Dr. Andys or Hillbily's (from contruction famous threads) I think it goes into some detail with pictures. Failing that, there are a number of knowledgable folks on this forum and they will be able to put you right.
    Got it LB. Thanks. I'll look where recommended...

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    Member BosseO's Avatar
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    We scrapped the concrete frames that they build in as standard in the house. Then, 'all' kitchen cabinets we saw were supposed to be built into the concrete. We have to find a builder that can build a framework and cabinets in the same kind of wood, preferable teak. Sure, a lot of laminate around but that's not what we want.

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