Category Archives: Uncategorized

May Update (and, about a book)

Well, on the upside, not much to report means no problems, so I’m happy to report there are no problems this month (except for a tiny fly issue; see below).

I’m taking a trip for a couple of weeks later this month, so I spent yesterday evening trying to get as much of the rest of the late spring seeds in the ground as possible. That’s two weeks of growing I don’t want to miss out on!

We’ve got a problem with “drain flies” in the bathroom. They’re similar to fruit flies, but smaller, and they, as you might have guessed, take up residence in drains for their procreative activities. There’s nothing like trying to put in contacts and wondering if flies will land in your mouth.

Yum.

Well, in other news, I’ve been thinking about writing a book for awhile, and I think I’ve finally been convinced. While by no means a complete DIY text, the idea is to write something that will give you a clear idea of the reality of building a cargo-based home. Many books have been written on the topic of cargo container building, but they’re, for the  most part, idealistic instead of reality-based. I want to provide something that will give a real taste of what you can expect, how to troubleshoot some issues, and some useful resources to use in your adventure. I’d love to know what you think! If there’s anything specific you’d like to hear about, let me know that, too.

Happy Thursday. Relax; the weekend’s almost here.

 

 

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Dehumidifiers

So, in case you weren’t already sure, moisture can be bad.

You may remember our trip to get insulation. We put in up, which went fine. We sprayed the seams between each board as time allowed. When we first moved in, it was hot. The A/C worked as a dehumidifier, plus when the inside it cooler than the outside, there is no condensation inside.

But then…winter hit. And it was warmer inside than outside. And the dripping started.

On the upside, the dripping allowed us to see obvious places the insulation had not been properly sealed, which we were able to address quickly. But in the interest of removing any pre-existing moisture, and keeping excess moisture out in the future, we decided we needed a dehumidifier. We purchased one for cheap on Craigslist, which certainly functioned, but was so loud I just about couldn’t keep it on if I was home. That one has now been moved to the bathroom (since we don’t have a fan in there).

We saved a little dough and bought a quiet dehumidifier…which I love and keep on all the time. The drips totally stopped.

And, for the sake of conservation, we use the water pulled from the air to fill the animals’ water bowl.

We’ve got some thoughts of adding a slanted roof over the house, which should further decrease any potential moisture accumulation.

Life in a house

Yes, yes, shocking how long it’s been, I know. Frankly, if you’re me, or if you’ve been following for a while, it’s probably not that surprising…what can I say, there’s a lot going on in my life.

Anywho, I’ve just had wisdom teeth pulled, and so am laying in bed all weekend. I got to thinking about this space and what I’d like to do with it…

First, I need to actually make that video walk-through I keep promising you all. It’s coming, I hereby promise. (Adding hereby to the promise makes it serious.)

Second, we’re obviously not 100% finished, but we’re finished enough that I’m  not living in frustration, which, frankly, is pretty good. As we complete new projects, I’ll document them and continue sharing. This year, we’re planning to scrape the rust from the outside surfaces and paint the house a normal beige-y color. Later in the year, or maybe next year, we’re going to put a very basic roof on. This has to do with some dripping we’ve experienced, which I’ll post about later this week. I’ll keep you all updated on these new, bigger projects.

Third, I want to evolve this space into an ongoing conversation about what it’s like living in this space–people’s reactions to it, unusual experiences we might not have in a typical house, etc.

If there’s anything specific I can answer, feel free to reach out!

Thanks for reading–

L

So Many Good Things…

Oh man, where to begin? I feel like so much has happened since our video tour, but I guess the main thing is that all the windows and sliding glass doors are in! If you’d rather, skip to the photos below.

The only thing left to install in this area of construction is the front door. We were going to use another sliding glass door, but we had a door with nearly all glass sitting around. We’re using it instead–it’s easier to install because less metal must be cut and less difficult framing is required, since it only has to be really seriously framed on the side where the hinges are. Annnnd…it’s also free. Which is good.

What we’ve bought recently:

2 sliding glass doors from Lowe’s: They’re Reliabuilt brand, vinyl framed, $295 each. They look good, function well, and were as easy to install as anything else. They’re not like, the high end of what you can buy, but they’ll do just fine–and we didn’t want to spend $1000 on each door, which was pretty much the next option.

1 window: Also Reliabuilt. $95 (about). Vinyl framed. 35 inches x 35 inches. This is a side-to-side slider, rather than an up and down slide. We prefer those.

1 gallon of paint: $30-ish.

Free Stuff:

You may recall the lady who sold us our cabinets gave us a window for free. It’s also 35×35, and a side slider. It’s the one we put in the back-facing wall.

Front door: (Pics when it’s installed–probably this weekend) My husband got this somewhere so long ago he doesn’t even remember. It’s a nice door, almost all glass, high quality. We knew we’d need it sometime. We decided to cut nearly $300 out of the budget by using this instead of another sliding glass door. And, as I said, it’s going to be easier to install and require we remove less metal. But I still get my glass for the light/view, so it’s all good.

The bedroom is at the opposite end of the containers. The center container (with the sliding glass door) is part of the living space. The living room area will be just on the other side of this window, but more in the container to the right than in the center one.

The bedroom is at the opposite end of the containers. The center container (with the sliding glass door) is part of the living space. The living room area will be just on the other side of this window, but more in the container to the right than in the center one.

Kitchen Window, Uninstalled

Kitchen window, uninstalled.

Kitchen Window, Installed

Kitchen window, installed.

View from Kitchen Window

View from kitchen window. Next year I might do something radical like cut that privet hedge you can see to the left. Then we’ll be able to see the neighbor’s pasture across the road a bit more. It’s lovely–they’ve got horses and sometimes cattle.

View from the window that faces that hill behind us. From this window you can see the laundry/utility room and a nice view of the woods. I'm hoping we see some deer! Can you see the air conditioner peeking from behind that sheet of metal?

View from the window that faces that hill behind us. From this window you can see the laundry/utility room (if you peek around) and a nice view of the woods–deer included.
Can you see the air conditioner peeking from behind that sheet of metal?

As a note of orientation, the window above is directly across from the kitchen window–they’re just on opposite sides of the structure.

Immediately after installation. You can see its accompanying piece of metal just outside.

Immediately after installation. You can see its accompanying piece of metal just outside. In the bedroom.

That's the metal Hubs just cut out. And that's our little camper behind it...

A little earlier in the day–That’s the metal Hubs just cut out. And that’s our wee camper behind it… Share the vision: Next year there will be an 8×10 deck with a sun garden just past that. Mmmm. 

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Of course, that's also the only room we're actually painting...

The bedroom is the only room we’re painting…except maybe one wall of the bathroom.

We'll trim the top and bottom with cedar.

We’ll trim the top and bottom with cedar. Also, the paint isn’t as minty as it may appear…

Okay; you have been updated. Feel free to ask questions!

On Tiny Homes

This is a special post for my friend Amy’s page. Amy and her family are in the process of planning a tiny home, and Amy also manages a Facebook page dedicated to tiny homes  in northwest Arkansas.

I don’t claim to be an expert on tiny homes. Our three cargo containers together will be 960 square feet, and that’s certainly not tiny. Small, arguably, but not tiny. Still, the planning of our house has given me some insight into how usable these containers really are–and how flexible.

If being portable is not a concern, I think cargo containers are a great route to go for tiny homes. One cargo container is 320 square feet, and even after insulation would be over seven feet wide and eight-and-a-half feet high, which allows for just a bit more vertical storage.

If I were planning a cargo container tiny home, I’d do a layout like this:

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This space is, as I mentioned, eight feet wide and forty feet long.

You would add a bar on that wall at the foot of the bed for closet space, and you could have barstools by the kitchen bar for eating. You could get smaller furniture to decrease your living space footprint as well. The hallway space is only around two feet wide in this sample, so you could certainly use, for example, a pedastal sink in the bath instead of a full vanity to allow for widening the hall. The full vanity does provide towel/etc storage space though, but there’s plenty of room to just include shelves or something.

I like this plan also because of bathroom access. One could easily have guests over and the bathroom would be accessible from the living area without the guest disturbing the home owner–and vice versa.

The bed is a queen size. The couch and overstuffed chair are also of a pretty average size. Again, you could change your furniture size depending on your individual needs. I’m one of those who likes her furniture to be pretty sprawling, and I wanted to show the larger end of the options.

I made the above mockup on floorplanner.com. You have to make an account, and can only do one floorplan for free, but it is the most simple and easy to use site I’ve found for basic floorplans like this.

I am impressed by those who feel tiny living is for them. We are not overly attached to clutter, but I do like to have my “things” around. My cedar chest, my cooking utensils, my comfy blankets. Books. A little space to spread out. My husband is self-employed and spends quite a lot of time working from home. I do a bit of contract work outside of my day job, which means working at home frequently. All that adds up to no tiny home for us. 🙂 Still, I hope this little blurb has given you something to think about as you pursue your home dreams, rather tiny, small, or regular-sized!

An update on building progress

Well, it’s been awhile since I updated y’all on the actual building process.

The welding is complete. We chose to weld only at the corner joints where each container meets its mate. We’re looking for a beam to go across the width of all three containers–it will be welded on as extra support, since we’re removing walls. It’s actually probably not that necessary, since most of the strength is in the corner posts, but we’re trying to be somewhat on the safe side since the middle container is having both side walls removed. (Note: we’re not professionals. Hire a structural engineer for that.)

Because my husband is a Jack of all trades, he decided to buy a plasma cutter. After some trial and error, here’s a pic from yesterday:

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Can you see the section of wall he’s removing? That “S” is from the outside wall of the container next to the one he’s standing in.

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Today, he’s cutting out the rest of this wall, and should finish up the second section tomorrow. I’ll post some pictures of that, and maybe a video, when it’s complete. With the walls cut out it’s going to look like a real house. Next is either roughing in the electric or framing the one wall we need to put out. We haven’t decided yet. Our contractor friend says either is fine, in this case.

Just for fun, here’s a picture of what I consider the front yard:

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Obviously, that porch is from the house-that-was-before.

That’s all, folks. More tomorrow!

The post we’ve been waiting for

…One of them, anyway.

The operators showed up at 10 this morning. Patrick, the gentleman who came out Monday to survey the site, was one of them. We were quoted $115 an hour (total, for two forklifts), and given an estimate of four hours. Additional fees included $85 for transport either direction, and $350 to have the 4th container moved from our storage facility. Patrick found the trucking company for us and contracted them out–which means he made the scheduling arrangements and we’re paying (probably with a little extra on top) through the construction company instead of direct. Still, it was the best price we’d heard, and the driver was accurate in his trailer length. It was 43 feet long, exactly.

Having the containers placed, including the one the driver dropped this morning, only took 2.5 hours, so we’re ahead a bit on what we’d expected to spend, which always makes for good news.

I’d describe further, but pictures, in this case, really are worth a thousand words:

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The driver picking up the fourth one at our storage facility.

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Crane 1

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Crane 2

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Two in place

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And they’re all in place!

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Kinda looks homey, right?

After all the stress and general up-in-the-air uncertainty about how exactly this was going to go down, I can’t begin to express my relief.

So instead, I’ll just show you this composite video: