Interestingly I had already shot two or three other projects to cover this week! But whilst away on a two week road trip I found an even more perfect shoot to cover every angle of the description.
First I will start with the story of this image from the Information given on the board outside this building.
The Grand old Teak House has witnessed incursions, and revolutions and invasions for more than 100 years and every joint, knot and plank reeks of Thai history.
It bespeaks heritage of the finest kind, yet today sits in shambles, tied to a future of despair because of beaurocratic red tape and unwillingness to restore it to its magnificent former glory.
Only one man seems prepared to pour his heart and soul and money into Khum Wichai Racha House, Veera Star, a 66 year old retired Vietnam war veteran, the house his love that brings nostalgia into his life. But it has cost him –dearly. He has lost everything possibly even his last home in Bangkok in his efforts to reclaim the house.
Mr. Veera found the house in 1992; it was in very bad condition. Its tattered timbers covered with vines and twisted out of shape. With his wife’s blessing he decided to buy the two storey house hip-roofed teak house from its owner for 4 million baht. It launched a personal adventure using his personal savings to try and restore it. In fact in the first five years he had spent 6 million baht. The house began to take on a new revitalised look. It soon began to eat into savings and he sold other properties to continue the work, but these were also running out!
He sold the last ten of his other properties and a durian orchard, with no more cash flow the debts began to rise, finally the house itself was seized by the bank!
Mr. Veera turned to the Finance ministry of fine Arts, it said it would it would help but nothing happened. Today a total of 10 million baht is outstanding on the property and it’s land, he has given 1 million to the bank and there is 9 outstanding. Today the Bangkok Commercial Asset Management manages the estate. So here it stands waiting for someone to either pay off the debt or realise it’s historical worth or for the bank to sell it and it be made into something else?
So you see once I saw this building in its current state I felt that I had to tell it’s story….