Paitoon and Leaon Rochanayon

My grandfather bought this place in the late 1970s and built it out to his preferences. It’s a middle unit of a roll house/commercial space. It was to be a satellite place in an extension of the ‘headquarter’ which located about 5 hours north of Bangkok. In this house, notably, and is my favorite – grandfather put in parquet flooring throughout 4 floors, and many pieces of wooden furnitures. On the bottom floor, he built out a dental office for my mother, so she can operate her dental business.

The family always had things I now take for granted how it was quite exceptional in those days. I grew up with ‘regular’ toilets (as opposed to the squatting kind), showers (as opposed to bucketing it from the rain water in a clay reservoir), microwave ovens/stoves, washing machines, etc. To be accurate, we had multiple systems going. We were hybrid even before hybrid was cool. In this sense, he, and therefore the family, was very hip to adapting to new technologies while honoring old ones. While they were into televisions with remote control, movie cameras, and appliances, they still made homemade glue out of flour, seal packages with red wax, and swore by all of that. Grandfather did accounting with chinese calculator. Everything that can be reuse, were kept around. This is a virtue I hold highly, but too much of this “meaningful keepsakes” sentiment can become a problem.

Some 30 years later, this 5 story place had mostly became a giant storage. It became an inconvenience location to any given family member to live in, even though it’s very near a BTS skytrain station (something of a high plus these days in forever congested Bangkok.) It still is too near the intersection which is constantly jammed for the long red light. It holds now roughly 10 peoples’ worth of various items and history. The house, though not entirely neglected, is showing all kinds of damage more than age related deteriorations. This includes flooding from heavy rain. Much of the beautiful floor is water damaged by blockage of the drainage on the roof. All the inner water pipes are busted somehow (with a replacement rigged system outside of the wall). The worst is the house extension (1/5th additional length of the default building) is cracked down in the back because of nearby constructions had disturbed the foundation. But because it’s a track house, the main structure is fully enforced. Which I think it’s worth to do something with this place for the next 10 years or so.

I used to live in 2 of the 5 bedrooms here in my adolescent years. Both of those are the top 2 bedrooms of the highest floor. There are five bedrooms and 4 bathrooms altogether. One of my old rooms I had to turn into a master storage for the existing damage it has. The other top floor room now holds a collection of statues, Buddhas, monks, kings, and such. The floor below that, with 2 bedrooms, one of which is my version of a ‘suite’. It’s the only private room for guests. The other room kept locked up belongs to my uncle currently living in Los Angeles, CA. I haven’t seen the room, and have no idea what the condition of it is. Following floor only has one bedroom, it’s where I stay. It used to be grandparents’ room and was kept as such until I arrived 3 months ago and claimed it. Grandfather passed away in 1983 and grandmother in 2000 – only until now I cleaned out these sacred closets and put them to use. My family was NOT happy about this, but they are too far and too late to do anything about it. The 30-60 year old stuff in the closet then were put in boxes and bags, and stored up the top of stairs until further notice.

The following floor is now a common area with half of it serves as make shift sleeping area. The other half is a sort of a living room next to the kitchen. This floor has seen the most improvement. I rearranged it in a way that it can be kept open, revealing the scratched up, but yet beautiful flooring. Every so often I look around this floor and see the different feel it has now comparing to how the house had been in my memory. It now has life breathing through it.

The ground floor … This will be where things can happen There are many plans for this. So far, the old dental office in the middle of it is a bit depressing. It’s now just another storage room. The bathroom in the back is still functioning, but it’s not fancy. It constantly smells because of the sewage cover is cracked. This floor, however, is going to be well designed. We have to pursue a sort of a commercial venture to be able to host couchsurfing visitors. We still brainstorming of what’s possible. The idea is to keep it open so it can have multiple usage from a little smooties shop, to a meeting office, to a tiny photo studio. We are excited to solidify a plan once we can figure out the costs and labor involved.

To get started, along with some willing original Couchsurfers, we spent some hours hauling a tons of (in all our opinions, ‘useless’) items from multiple floors and multiple rooms up to the very top floor. We opened up some space to then be used to host other international travelers.

The small purpose is for me to resurrect a stagnant structure. The grandest of all purpose is for me to use this place as a point of thought exchange, network, connection, friendship, something that will foster individual growths. Between my interests>obsessions with music, mixed martial arts, photography, arts, comedies, films, performing arts, philosophical exchanges, social observations, and such, this will foster meaningful bridging of many personalities of multiple perspectives and cultures. I’d like to set up a place where these things can flourish with as many minds involved as possible.

This is just a preliminary stage and overall plans. The specifics will follow as the momentum builds.

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