Tag Archives: house

Insulation

Last week, we found closed-cell insulation panels on Craigslist. So, off we went on an hour drive. We bought 1000sf of two-inch foam and 1000sf of four-inch foam–for the low price of $1,000 total! The two-inch foam has an R-value of 16. The minimum required by code in our area is 13, so we’re ahead of the game. The ceiling, of course, should have more insulation, and I think we’re about 3-4 R-levels higher than the minimum.

We’re better-than-required kind of folks. Ha.

We’re installing it by gluing it directly to the metal walls between the framing studs. Apparently it functions as a moisture barrier if used by itself, which is good. Scott is going to put in a couple of solid days on it this weekend, so I’ll post some pics when progress is made.

Here’s a pic of all the foam in our trailer:

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Yeah. It’s a lot.

And, for fun, here’s one of the pile as we were picking it up. Yes, I stayed in the truck and let the dudes load it.

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We are leaving the sections that still need windows installed un-insulated. After the insulation is put in, and we get the funds for windows, Scott will cut out the metal where the windows will go, frame and install them, then finish insulating those areas.

Next comes plumbing, installing cabinets/appliances/shower, and then we can MOVE IN! We’re ready, so we’re going to do all the finish work (painting, putting up covering over the insulation, etc) once we move in.

Walls are cut out!

It’s been awhile since I updated you, but don’t worry–you haven’t missed much.

Hubs has been chipping away at cutting out the walls, but between buying a new-to-us truck, prepping to sell our two extra vehicles, Scott needing to work some at his job-job, and some health issues, things have been a little slower than we might prefer.

But, drumroll please:

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The walls are finally all cut out!! You can see at the very end of the first container that there’s still a little wall. That’s the dividing wall between the bathroom and bedroom. The wood beams you see are temporary supports until the cross support beam is welded onto the roof.

We walked around today measuring and planning the electrical. Early this week we’re going to buy the doors/windows so those holes can get cut. Once the doors and windows are input and the single wall framed out, the electric will go in. Next step will be insulation. We’re considering hiring someone for that part to move us forward a bit more.

NEW STUFF

We still have our king-size frame and box springs, but our mattress was ready to be retired when we sold our house. Last week at the auction, Scott-husband purchased this lovely item:

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A brand-new fancy-schmancy gel mattress. Mmm-hmm. I can’t wait to sleep on that thing.

The week before that, he wondered if I would like this:

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When I spazzed out in excitement, he told me he’d already bought it. It’s a lovely crackled-blue and copper that will be great as the bathroom focal point. We weren’t going to put in a tub–and it will decrease our space (though we’ll still have plenty)–but come on. Look at it. We have no choice.

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In other news, I’ve reached a new peace about our timeline. We would have preferred to be finished the the 15th (which is a week from tomorrow). Obviously, that’s not realistic. Don’t get me wrong–I am SO READY for this lovely project to be finished and to be living in the house. However, I’ve decided it’s not worth getting stressed about some self-imposed timeline. We’ll be in by summer. I can live with that. It’ll probably even be significantly before real-summer, and that’s just not so bad.

Part of the delay was Scott’s health last week. Because he was unable to work for a few days, our friends weren’t able to come help as they’d intended. On the upside, they’re coming for a day or two next weekend, which will be a huge help. It’s very possible that all the windows will be put in and the wall framed up after their visit. M. was a contractor for a long time, and his wife, K., has some mad skills as well.

Finally, let me say thank you to Mother Nature. I’m not sure what we’ve done to deserve this much beautiful weather in the middle of January, but I’ll take it.

Laundry

You know, I like to consider myself resourceful. Able to take on any challenge. Creative. Capable. Awes–

Um. Anyway. Back to the point.

When we first moved onto our property we had no way to do laundry. We had water, and we had a washer and dryer in storage, but there was no water line (just a water hose from the pressure tank in the well to the camper) and no wiring for electricity. We did have a cinderblock outbuilding which was structurally very solid, but which desperately needed a new roof.

I, being the sweet and slightly delusional wife I am, told Scott, “I can wash our laundry in a bucket. Plenty of people do it. It’s summer, so I can just hang the clothes to dry. You have plenty of other stuff to do without dealing with hooking up a washer and dryer.” I mean, my grandmothers grew up doing laundry by hand. Hard, sure, but just a part of life…right?

Picture this: it’s May, so summer-ish. I have a whole load of regular laundry to wash. I have a bucket. I have an old concrete foundation by the well house that I think will be perfect to set up on. I fill said bucket with water and a little soap, put the clothes in, and agitate for several minutes, then leave them to soak awhile. After a bit more agitation, I dump the water, add fresh, and agitate to remove the soap.

Problems: I am soaking wet within three minutes from a mixture of splashing water on myself and the summer humidity of Arkansas. There are bugs everywhere. There is vegetation everywhere, and I can’t figure out where all these rusty old-fashioned nails on the ground came from (I’ve had a tetanus shot, thank God), and did I mention that I have a bucket of wet clothes I need to hang on a line? Did you know clothes that have not been spun in a washer¬†are heavy? Yeah. Like they weigh down the clothes line to within an inch of the ground, and I’m trying to figure out how to keep the dog from grabbing a pair of my lacy unmentionables and running off. My clothes line, along with my very obvious camper, is also just in sight of the road, so I’m trying to determine where exactly we rank on the redneck scale and whether putting my nicer pieces of clothing on more obvious display increases or decreases our score.

Note to self: Your grandmother may have done this, but folks used to own way fewer articles of clothing. And they were washed less frequently. 

Ring, ring–

“Hey, baby. What’s up?”

“Yeah…about me handwashing our laundry. I just did a load, and I think I was being unrealistic about the chances of that happening often enough to keep us in clean clothes…”

“Oh, I know. I’ve already got the washing machine in the truck. I’ll get it hooked up within a few days.”

Good man, my husband. Smart too.

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.