The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes True

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The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes True

Postby nanbuilder » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:06 pm

I remember sitting with my dear old Dad watching 'The Good Life' many many years ago. I was a young teenager then and ever since I have had that dream of being self-sufficient. Now the time has come to give it a crack in Nan Province on a beautiful piece of land measuring a little under 1.5 Rai. Wifey is not so keen to bear the brunt of the translation issues - but I know she can do it. Our dream home is a single floor bungalow of around 200 sqm. Will be working on a presentable sketch over the next week good enough to share. Planned start date for the build is early October 2011 and hope to be finished by Songkran. Here are a couple of pictures of the land for starters.

Looking from the access lane down the slope to the SW
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Looking up from the bottom of the land to the NE
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby geordie » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:15 am

I used to love that program but based in surbiton it was 5 mins from where i live and it lost its glamour a bit a soon as i ran into the red tape kingston council throw up but not a problem over there i hope
How self sufficient are you intending to become ? i noticed on your other thread you commented about you would be up to your knees in water if the river flood,s plan ahead :?: :?:
my comments may be wrong but never deliberately
If it aint broke, dont fix it
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby MGV12 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:18 am

nanbuilder wrote:Wifey is not so keen to bear the brunt of the translation issues - but I know she can do it.


Good to see a new build story thread commencing ... very best of luck with the build and everything associated with it ... like your mental health! The translation issue can put a strain on the best of relationships .... she will try hard to convey to them what you want and from them their questions or concerns but the biggest stumbling block is usually the technical language use in construction. I would suggest you go through the thread 'Thai names for Construction Stuff' for starters and maybe print out a list of important words to help her out. Letting her know that you know she is doing her best and appreciate the technical language problem will help .... a bit ... she is probably just concerned about getting something important wrong and letting you down.

“Some days I am an optimistic pessimist ... other days I am a pessimistic optimist”
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby gliffaes » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:41 am

Id suggest you are on site EVERYDAY checking everything inc all measurements if all the stories on here are anything to go by.
Measure twice cut once.
Expect the totally unexpected at all times :lol:
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby thailazer » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:53 pm

Nanbuilder.... Nice looking property! We are hoping to do the same on 2.7 rai that we have. We already have about ten producing Longan trees, several new fruit trees planted, and a pond that is currently feeding the neighbors fairly well. (Not that we mind a bit of poaching. They are all nice folks.) Do you have any plans sketched up yet?
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby nanbuilder » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:02 pm

geordie wrote:I used to love that program but based in surbiton it was 5 mins from where i live and it lost its glamour a bit a soon as i ran into the red tape kingston council throw up but not a problem over there i hope
How self sufficient are you intending to become ? i noticed on your other thread you commented about you would be up to your knees in water if the river flood,s plan ahead :?: :?:


Hi Geordie, yep I am on it - very wet in Nan these days. Where I am standing is right on the lowest point of the land. 30 paces from where the photo was taken (up the slope to the northeast) marks the flood plain boundary which is where my deck will be some 150cm raised (+) - roughly where the small half dead tree is. The knee-deep bottom border will be dug out as large pond roughly 15mx20m.

We intend to grow veggies and fruits with a high market value + mushrooms further up the slope beyond and adjacent to the house. Free range chucks and eggs. Also plan to grow/sell big Prawns/Crayfish in time. Selling this produce will I hope pay for the water and electricity, our food and fuel for the truck We will never be totally self sufficient as I need the gallons of the cold amber nectar and my UBC Sat + Internet + the odd trip to CM. But that is all I need and this is already covered by a modest pension.
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby nanbuilder » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:08 pm

MGV12 wrote:
nanbuilder wrote:Wifey is not so keen to bear the brunt of the translation issues - but I know she can do it.


Good to see a new build story thread commencing ... very best of luck with the build and everything associated with it ... like your mental health! The translation issue can put a strain on the best of relationships .... she will try hard to convey to them what you want and from them their questions or concerns but the biggest stumbling block is usually the technical language use in construction. I would suggest you go through the thread 'Thai names for Construction Stuff' for starters and maybe print out a list of important words to help her out. Letting her know that you know she is doing her best and appreciate the technical language problem will help .... a bit ... she is probably just concerned about getting something important wrong and letting you down.


Good advice MGV - I think you hit the nail on the head. I will try try try to be very patient and have already decided that pics and sketches to supplement explanations of expectations will be the way to go. Thanks for the pointer on the Thai names - very good info there. Many thanks.
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby nanbuilder » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:13 pm

gliffaes wrote:Id suggest you are on site EVERYDAY checking everything inc all measurements if all the stories on here are anything to go by.
Measure twice cut once.
Expect the totally unexpected at all times :lol:


Hi Gliffaes, thanks for the encouragement. The plan is to build a small detached chalet room 4x4m en-suite before the actual build starts so that we can live there and (one of us) be on site at all times. The type of 'room' you might have seen on an upmarket Thai resort. Part of the longer term strategy is a possible 'homestay' so the chalet would be one of three on current planning.
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby nanbuilder » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:19 pm

thailazer wrote:Nanbuilder.... Nice looking property! We are hoping to do the same on 2.7 rai that we have. We already have about ten producing Longan trees, several new fruit trees planted, and a pond that is currently feeding the neighbors fairly well. (Not that we mind a bit of poaching. They are all nice folks.) Do you have any plans sketched up yet?


Hi Thailazer, we also have some very mature Longan as you can see. Unfortunately a couple of the small ones need to be relocated (if at all possible) and one large (very very old) one is for the chop - we will replace with many others to be planted on the northern border line - the orchard is really quite big.

The first sketch plan prior to architect consultation should be posted here before the end of the week - that is if I can tear myself away from reading all the superb threads here in CTH.
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby Smithson » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:20 pm

Good luck with the build. If you've any ideas/plans for self sufficiency, pls share as this is something we are also trying to do.
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby nanbuilder » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:20 am

Smithson wrote:Good luck with the build. If you've any ideas/plans for self sufficiency, pls share as this is something we are also trying to do.

Thanks for your interest. Will share all I can in due course - I am going to be on a steep learning curve!
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The Home-stay Room Design

Postby nanbuilder » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:48 am

As I mentioned on my introduction thread I am planning a small home-stay in the fullness of time consisting just 3 detached rooms/chalets/bungalows.

I realise now (from the great info on CTH) that I need to be on site from day one - and I feel I should live there full time. So I have decided before the main 200 sqm+ build commences I will complete one homestay room. There is an added advantage here as the extended family and friends are local builders/labourers from an adjoining village, as well as trusted dad and uncle living in our village. By giving them the job of building the first home-stay room, seeing the quality, observing roofer, electrician and plumber, I can get a good pointer on how the main build 'might' progress. Additionally I think they can do this without cement deliveries - just use an on-site mixer. Well that's the theory anyway. So the first plan just drawn (prob very badly by yours truly) using floorplanner.com (thanks gliffaes) is attached below. I actually think I can reduce the footprint down to 5x5m and I now realize the balcony furniture is too small duhhhhhhh. I wonder how much the cost saving difference between 36 sqm and 25sqm - I would be happy with queensize bed. Grateful for comments/advice/critisism/tips :?: :idea: You can view a large version in the picture gallery.

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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby fredlk » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:26 am

An extractor fan in a bathroom without glazing seems unnecessary and most likely won't often be needed.
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby Smithson » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:03 pm

Definitely a good idea to start with a small project, rather than jumping in at the deep end. The biggest problem I see with Thai builders is there tendency not to plan and check their work, which leads to costly mistakes and delays. Another thing is they never order enough of anything and keep rushing back for more, which is slows things again.

For the small project, you don't need to worry about over ordering as anything left over can be used on the larger build.

I notice you plan to run grey water into a tank. Why not run a hose that can be moved around to water areas as needed? This is very common in Australian cities, besides saving water, it will also save time.

IMO, to be close to self sufficient in LOS, you need to look at every aspect. For example, you may find the cost of fertilizers, transport and labor eat heavily into any profit from fruit. It might be best to first start trying to grow for your own consumption.

Making buildings as efficient as possible will save electricity costs, consider designs with plenty of daylight and ventilation. I think Nan has cool nights most of the year, so air con could be kept to a min. Having the house 1.5m of the ground will help cooling considerably.
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Re: The Good Life in Nan, My Self-Sufficiency Dream Comes Tr

Postby pattayapope » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:29 pm

Looks like a nice simple design although the scaling looks a little off as it looks to be 6 meters wide and 8 meters long, better to check again as it might look a lot too congested if it is actually 6 meters by 6 meters including the patio.

I built two small bungalows and the foot print is 4 by 6 with a 1.5 meter patio on the front, the bathroom is at the back with glass blocks to let light in and an extrator fan (good to remove any smells). The main room has one window and double patio door and inside is a double bed with bedside tables, two chairs, coffee table, small chest of drawers, TV stand and small fridge. I originally planned to have two windows but the TGF said you cannot put the bed against the toilet wall so I deleted one window mainly for security reasons and put the bed against this wall.
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