some thoughts from Dozer
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Innovative California Spanish Style Villa

image dsc20753.jpgJust back from a viewing of a rather unique construction project in progress, that of Cruzing & Mr. Cruzing. They are building a California Spanish style villa. Mr. Cruzing, a Thai national and his American wife, lived many years in the states where Mr. Cruzing worked as an architect. Cruzing comments that We are building as close to U.S. standards as possible; but you know how that goes, sometimes you can find what you need and sometimes you can’t.

This isn’t a comprehensive review of the project, but rather some of my thoughts and impressions about interesting aspects of the projects.

special roof tiles

image dsc20752.jpgimage dsc20750.jpg First off, the roof tiles are terracotta Mexican tiles that were manufactured in Thailand, but are not commonly used here. These tiles are about a 1/3 of the weight of the standard CPAC roof tiles which are commonly used. They are laid out in an interlocking pattern – and there is no need for special cap or side pieces. The cost per tile is similar to the normal heavy CPAC tiles. Aside from the aesthetic beauty of the tiles, I’m all for anything that reduces unnecessary weight in the roof structure itself.

special cinderblocks

image dsc20762.jpgThe ciderblock tiles used are special heavy duty ones. Here you see the 6″ heavy (13 kilo each) and 4″ high quality block along with the standard cinderblock. I have seen the 13 kilo blocks used and really like them, but haven’t seen the 4″ high quality blocks before. The cost per block for the 4″ (the mid size one) is only about 5.5 baht apiece (as compared with 3.5 baht for the normal one). I really like these 5.5 baht cinderblocks, many times stronger than the normal cinderblock and only an insignificant budget increase.

double wall construction and no foundation pillars

image dsc20751.jpgThe house is being built with double wall panels throughout. If you’ve been reading along you know I highly recommend this type of construction. This shot here shows the heavy blocks are used and filled with concrete. There is also rebar run though the cinderblock opening to add strength to the walls. The gap in the middle of the wall cavity will be filled with an insulating material.

The design of the house is such that foundation pillars are not necessary. This is because the hollow openings in the cinderblocks are concrete filled and rebar is inserted, making each opening after this process, a mini foundation pillar. This was a design feature of the house which Mr. Cruzing mentioned took a lot of convincing to get the contractors to believe it could even be done.

external stucco coat

image dsc20766.jpgThe external stucco is applied to a thickness of approximately 1 inch to add even additional strength. The cement for the stucco coat is handmixed and then special dyes are mixed in to add color. This process eliminates the need for paint. The dye itself is rather expensive and was procured in Bangkok, the brand is Bayer.

crawl space

image dsc20755.jpgimage dsc20746.jpg

The use of crawl space has obvious benefits. For one, all electrical and plumbing is accessible via the crawl space. The other thing Mr. Cruzing pointed out, is that that he would rather excavate into the existing soil which has been there for thousands of years, than bring in fill dirt.

improved septic

image dsc20758.jpgThe septic used has one tank to accept waste and then two adjoining leaching tanks. Mr. Cruzing says this is a much better method than the standard cement drainage ring method.

vinyl windows

image dsc20765.jpgThe windows used are much more expensive than the standard aluminum windows which are commonly found. These are manufactured from pvc type plastic material and there is a double window pane in each.


image dsc20749.jpgimage dsc20748.jpgThere will be access to a small roof area that will hold solar panels from the garage. The roof area will hold 14 panels which cost appx. $250 a piece. Mr. Cruzing mentioned that at this point in time the use of solar isn’t really cost effective, but is basically an interest of his. There will be a solar room which houses batteries etc. for the solar panels. The power generated by the panels will power the hot water heater and also be supplemental electricity.


image dsc20768.jpgThis house will be around 300 square meters which includes a living/dining area, family room, kitchen, laundry room, small thai kitchen, two bedrooms with walk-in closets and in suite bathrooms all built around an outdoor courtyard with an entry tower approx. 10 ft in diameter.

The budget for the house is currently between 2.5 and 3 million baht. The project is currently about 50 % done.

This house project is innovative and is not just done ‘the same old way’. I like the combination and use of local materials and the layout and design of the house itself. Look forward to seeing it upon completion in a couple of months.


  1. Good to see a different design.

    Some points I would note, perhaps dozer could pass these on to the owner of this house. Solar electricity is indeed expensive, so why use it to heat water when a relatively cheap and effective water heater can be bought. I would be inclinded to have solar electricty of in house use and solar heating for the water.

    One advantage of teracotta tiles is that they absorbe some rain water, this then evaporates when the sun comes out and cools the tiles – The effect is not huge but every bit helps.

  2. itchy – actually I may have misspoke on the heating of the water. I think they are doing it the way you suggest. In any event, I’ll be posting details with pics once the project is finished. thanks.

  3. added for Carlyn: Just to clarify: We are not using solar energy to heat any water or to run any A/C. It will be used for Sak’s tools and a few kitchen appliances and my washer and dryer, and that’s pretty much it.

  4. innovative spanish villa

    Been there, got one of those and its a mess, but yours looks really nice, glad to see someone getting away with the conventional hollywood houses. In Thailand you can do almost anything thats not dangerous. I dont understand why people aren.t much more adventurous

    Tiles look great where did you get them. Can you give dimensions, weight and recommended overlap. We call those Spanish tiles in UK. They are ok if well made and are all the same size. Bad ones have a tendency to warp which makes them difficult to keep in place, they can also be leaky like my guest house in greece

    I agree, the standard 50mm cinderblock have about as much strength as a digestive biscuit. Will look out for the 100mm version, what does it weigh (dry). How much are the heavy duty blocks

    Double wall Yes well you certainly have to do something otherwise you end up with a hot box like my villa. Has anyone done a cost comparison with superblocks against a cavity wall method? If you add the cost of cavity insulation as well?

    How are you placing your vertical rebars – in between adjacent blocks or inside the cavity? Did you use one for each vertical run? I would use one every third block combined with a horizontal run every second course – should be riot proof. I wouldnt fill up all the cavities of the cinder blocks with concrete, apart from the cost you also greatly increase the thermal mass (heat storage)

    No foundation pillars?

    You got me a bit worried here Did you dig a foundation trench first, If so how deep and how did you make the strip foundation? What reinforcement did you use? How did you get house papers as they expect to see a minimum of 6 columns (hok ton) I presume you will make a top beam suitably strapped to the rebar to distribute the roof loading.

    External rendering

    The normal is 10 mm both sides. Its probably overkill to go for 25mm Indeed the dye is expensive. You could have made a skim coat of 3mm and plastered on top of the base coat – save money there (more beer vouchers)

    Crawl space great couldnt agree more. fill earth is a pain because it always tends to settle and cause flooring cracks – which lets in termites

    Septic tanks sounds good, btw what do you do with your washing machine water? dont put it into the septic tank, it could kill the helpful bugs I drain mine to a shallow pond filled with gravel. A certain type of rough grass grows there and seems to eat up all the phosphates.

    PVC? I hope it was reputable uPVC specially treated against UV damage. Ive never seen PVC used in the Middle east. The sun UV is so hot it even damages concrete – yes really

    Solar power

    Well Ive already blown a fuse on this one on this site. Dont use automotive batteries They wont stand cyclical discharging. but you can make hot water easily and cheaply enough by direct means, see my article.

  5. Hi : Where do you fnd the special Bayer dye for concrete?


  6. Sorry, didn’t answer sooner out at the building site for a few days. My husband says any building supply should have it. If you are in Pattaya area I know Thanee (sp) on sukumvit road in Na Jom Tien has it, 1 kilo for 200 baht. Pricey, but worth it not to have to paint!!! If they can get you bigger bags at a better price I don’t know. The thing about the beyer colorant (they call paint in thai for some reason) is that it doesn’t fade like the other colorants.
    Hope this helps. If you’re in Na Jom Tien come and see us.


  7. I ever saw this house by myself and feeling love at first sight with this house.This house have a lot of smart system.Every details are important.Design under functional and reasonable.Smart house.Innovative structure and Easy to care and maintanance.I realy want the house like this.By the way the owner are kindly so much.

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