Tag Archives: shipping container


Our friends joined us again on Saturday to help us get ahead on the house. Marlow was a contractor for a long time, and the ever-awesome Kat is always game for helping.

I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, and it was throbbing pretty badly, so I got to sit (sort of–I was all excited and kept hopping up to look at things) and photo-document. I can’t thank our friends enough for all their help. Guys, you know when you’re ready to build, we are there!

Initially, we were wondering if there wasn’t a way to get away with not framing every wall, but the reality is, it’s good building practice because it works. Framing gives you something to run electric on, adds little cubbies for the insulation, and gives you a way to attach whatever finish (drywall, paneling, etc) you want. Plus, you need studs to have something easy to hang pictures from!

Note: We didn’t finish the bathroom or the kitchen. Hubs is finishing those as I type. Pictures to come.

We did not do studs the standard 18 inches apart. The reason for this is that our containers are providing all of the structural integrity of the house. The studs in our case are, again, for ease of insulation installation and running electric. We did them every four feet, except in the kitchen–we’re doing those standard so the cabinets will be secure.

In all fairness, it may be hard to tell from these photos–but when you are standing in it, the space feels very large. There are no hallways or wasted space, which helps.

Framing the first wall. Moo Moo is helping.

Framing the first wall. Moo Moo is helping.

A view from the dining area.

A view from the dining area. Those posts in the middle are temporary supports. They will be removed when the support beam is welded in place on the roof.

More of framing the first wall.

More of framing the first wall.


The door into the bedroom, before it was finished...

The door into the bedroom, before it was finished…

Kat and Marlow cutting some wood.

Kat and Marlow cutting some wood.

Bathroom door to the left, bedroom to the right. The bathroom is framed for a two-foot pocket door, which means you have to allow a four-foot space initially.  The bedroom is a standard door width (32inches, I think). It will have a barn door.

Bathroom door to the left, bedroom to the right. The bathroom is framed for a two-foot pocket door, which means you have to allow a four-foot space initially. The bedroom is a standard door width (32 inches, I think). It will have a barn door.

I now know that framing standard walls is pretty easy–it’s framing for doors that takes a little more time.

There will also be a door from the bathroom to the bedroom. When you walk into the bedroom from the living area, you’ll be looking straight at the closet, so you’ll turn right to go farther into the room.

After getting the walls up, I actually felt like, “Oh, hey, there’s even more room than I thought. There’s even space for a little office zone for me.”

All in all, coming from the person who did no work, this was pretty cool. It was neat seeing how framing is really done. It’s also not super complicated. It seemed kind of like sewing–measure twice, cut once. And keep your body parts out of the nail gun’s way…

The following are just because I can:

Kitty approved.

Kitty approved. 

She got tired.

She got tired.



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:


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


Crane 1


Crane 2


Two in place


And they’re all in place!


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:

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!