Monthly Archives: November 2014

An update and a floor plan

When last we left you, we’d had an interesting first delivery in which the driver had to “walk” his trailer up the driveway. We were scheduled to have the rest of our deliveries this week.

After talking with the head of the towing company we used, it was determined that they should not deliver the next three. It took much more time than they’d anticipated to drop, which means they were behind on other deliveries. Once was fine, but they can’t do that continually. While this was a disappointment, I would still recommend this company for folks who have a more flat/wide area to deliver to.

Luckily, our backup option was pretty straightforward. The company we purchased the containers from (ConGlobal) has delivery. The only question was how long we would have to wait, since they only have one driver with a roll-off truck and are typically booked out a bit. I, of course, assumed it would take until next week to get ahold of anyone, given the holiday. My spouse, however, is much more willing to make holiday-week phone calls than I, and miraculously, someone got back to him. ConGlobal had just had several days’ worth of cancellations, and Scott’s was the first message the shipping manager heard after he processed the cancellation. We got in just about ten days from now. So, yay for hubs.

In further “yay” news, this delivery will cost about $100 less per container than the towing company, and the trailer they will use is about twenty feet shorter than the first delivery, which means this should be a much easier experience. Hopefully.

For sticking with me through the shipping part, check out our floor plan below! It’s missing a window or a door here and there we haven’t decided on, but it’s basically complete. It is (almost exactly) to scale–40 feet long and 24 feet wide. The vertical interior bathroom wall represents a container wall that will be left partiallly in place.

The bedroom closet will be against that bathroom wall. The hot water heater will be in the bathroom.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 8.48.40 PM

It’s about 960 square feet, which is 540 square feet less than our old house. If you subtract the two bedrooms we didn’t use, the hallway, the second bathroom, and the laundry room, you’re getting on up to the difference in square feet.

(Girl note: I’m going to be honest and say I think having two toilets is always a good idea. However, we’ve been living with only one for a year, so we’ve somewhat adapted. Additionally, once Scott finishes his warehouse on our property in the next six months or so, he’ll have one there, which at least gives us the option if there is an emergency.)

For tonight, that’s all, folks! Happy Thanksgiving!


Delivery (November 24, 2014)

tl;dr: Container one has been dropped safely. It was an adventure, but it’s here. I had a beer with dinner to recover. Scroll for pics.

Long version:

Our property has two driveways. The main one is about 80 feet long, a bit twisty, and somewhat steep. At the top of the drive, about twenty feet left, is where we plan to place our containers. To the right, there is a drive around to the other driveway and other side of the property. The space where the containers are going is fairly tight, as we sit against the side of a hill, making our flat space narrow than it may first appear, given we have 2.3 acres.

We used a towing company out of Memphis that came recommended by the folks who sold our containers to us. On the one hand, the delivery dude has been very patient and professional. On the other… well. I should have taken a picture of it coming up the driveway, but instead I’ll show you what I did take.

These photos are the container being dropped.

These are photos of the truck going back down the driveway, empty.

These photos are of my dog, who has decided she is going to be a trucker.

I spoke with dispatch several times before the truck came, hoping to ensure we had as much manuevering room as the truck required. Unforunately, it turns out dispatch doesn’t really have the full picture of information required. They told me, and I quote, “As long as we can get up the driveway, we can put it anywhere you want it.” That may turn out ot be true, but it’s not as simple as all that. The trailer is 60 feet long. Combined with the truck itself, we’re talking around 67 feet of truck we had to get up a driveway and around a fairly sharp turn. It also needs quite a bit of forward drive space to pull out after beginning to drop the trailer.

The driver had to drop the container in a random spot so he can come in from a different direction at a later date, reload it, and drop it where we want it. He’d hoped to make these four deliveries in two days, but delivery one took around three hours, so we’re not convinced that’s possible going forward.

This was clearly not the driver’s first rodeo, thankfully. He’s got three more deliveries to make for us, so he made sure to look around and formulate a plan of action for the upcoming deliveries.

Watching this for three hours was, honestly, incredibly stressful. The driver was very calm and patient through the process, but I was a wreck inside. I’m glad everything turned out as well as it did. Hopefully the next few deliveries will be less exciting.

The lesson here? If you have a strangely oriented space, make sure to talk directly to the driver who will be dropping your containers. If possible, it’s even a good idea to have them come check out your land first. Our containers came from Memphis (about a 2.5 hour drive) so we didn’t have that option. Also, find out what kind of truck they are bringing and how long it is. A normal tilt bed trailer and truck would be about 20 feet shorter than what is delivering ours. It would have been our preference for a lot of reasons., but at this point, we’re going to continue with the company we’ve got.

You live in a what? (Part 1)

Once upon a time, (ie, last year), we lived in a house in a regular subdivision, with normal, middle-class type folks. We had three bedrooms (but we only slept in one), two baths (well, sometimes we used both of those), a great kitchen/dining/living space, and a separate office that enabled us to sometimes spend time in the house together-but-separate.

It was beautiful. And frankly, it was too much space.

Don’t get me wrong–I could have lived there for the rest of my life. I loved that house. My spouse remodeled it, the yard was great, the neighborhood was nice, walking trails were close, and so on.

But–there’s always a but–we would have been saddled with a mortgage for another 25 years or so. We had neighbors who were just so, so close. We liked them, and we liked our dog having a girlfriend across the street, but we just wanted a little more open space. We couldn’t grow a garden without investing considerable money, due to a strange combination of factors: where we had enough sun, we had too much water. And we had two (and a half) whole rooms we never used.

I really wanted a veggie garden. Maybe some chickens. A goat sounds good. A soap shed…yeah, I’ll take one of those too…

So, we sold our house, bought some land, and, more or less, here we are.

After much debate (and a year in a camper) we decided to be rebels and build a shipping container home.

Stay tuned for part two!

You live in a what? (Part 2)

Or, why on earth we might decide to live in some old cargo containers.

It wasn’t that we sold our house planning to live in a used cargo container–not at all. We’d planned to build a metal building, half warehouse/half living space. The price was reasonable, and the design was what would work for us.

But then we got to thinking about money. And speed of construction.

Well, mostly we got to thinking of speed. After a year in a camper, desperation starts to kick in.

Me and the hubs had considered cargo container homes before, but dismissed them on the grounds that we needed warehouse space for his business, so we might as well go the metal building route. Plans change though, and we decided to build even his warehouse out of old cargo containers.

After researching seriously, we found that cargo containers are made of thicker metal than metal buildings, are capable of holding over 20,000lbs stacked on top of each one (ie, super tough), and are actually a great size and shape for putting together to make a small home. Ours will be right at 960 square feet, with an open floor plan.

And the cost is very, very low compared to a traditional house. Well, it is if you have a spouse who can do most of the labor, which I do. We will be mortgage-free in 3 years. In these times, that’s a rare and beautiful thing.

So, as of today, we’ve purchased our three containers, and they’re due to be delivered next week.

Join us on the adventure. I’m sure it’ll be a wild ride.