People ask how we get all that stuff into ISBUs when we’re building cabins and homes destined for “places out and away”…
Here’s an example of HOW you can fill a box that rocks;
Pretty cool, huh?
Mose people who read the blog or our Facebook page know that we’re caught in the cold grips of a pretty severe Arctic Storm. It’s been at or sub-zero for weeks.
As rural residents, this brings several issues to the forefront as you deal with the cold, blizzards, lack of mobility and safety. In the woods, you’re on your own.
Many of you that are following our “farm exploits” know that as of Spring 2014 our poultry and rabbits will be housed in 20′ ISBUs (Shipping containers) that have been remodeled, insulated and heated. The reasons for this are numerous, but include defense against predation, Mother Nature and “two legged miscreants bent on getting free eggs and meat”. The fact that they are actually “movable” should mean the we’re gonna break the record for the World’s Largest Chicken Tractors… LOL!
We posted a short blurb on Facebook, to see if there was any interest in this. Within about an hour, we received 17 PMs (private messages) asking for ISBU (Shipping Container) Chicken Coop images.
So, again for the record – In SPRING 2014… our poultry and small livestock (rabbits, etc…) will be housed in ISBU based Corten Steel outbuildings.
As we get these ISBU based “Chicken Castles” laid out and constructed, I’ll share them with you. Let me get them going in the right direction, huh? : )
I posted this to “seed” interest as many of us are seeing our livestock and birds oppressed by predation and theft. We’re trying to figure out a cost effective, weatherized (self contained) way to accomplish it. ISBUs allow a ready made, transportable, weather-resistant container that is perfect for creating strong “livestock systems.” The nice thing about using 20′ ISBUs is that they are easily moved with a forklift. Couple that with some recycled rigid insulation, a small bank or Photovoltaic panels on the roof to make power for heat and operate fans for venting, etc… and you have something pretty impressive.
Oh, those wacky Brits…
People who read the blog know that I love recycling and repurposing materials.
Pallets are among one of my favorite resources to explore.You can do a lot of cool things with these cast off shipping components:
Cool right? Here’s some more ideas;
Then, I saw this;
This is a “temporary theater” in England. The Shed, which was opened in April 2013 and is due to close in February 2014, was designed by Haworth Tompkins Ltd. Sited at the front of the National Theatre at Southbank, this innovative theater will present some of theater’s most exciting artists in an intimate new performance space on the South Bank.
If you look closely, it almost looks like it’s made from recycled pallets. Of course it isn’t… but it COULD be. Every Spring, the kids around here build structures in the middle of fields to have “paintball wars”. Other kids build forts and playhouses, as their parents push them back outside after the cold of winter has slipped away. This gives me plenty of ideas…
While the reason it was recently publicized had nothing to do with it’s construction…
(It had to do with the entry ramps provided by another company to insure safety…)
I wanted you to look at this structure closely and think about HOW you could utilize pallets to do something similar. What if you were an artist and you wanted to build a”summer run” outdoor event? What if you were an entrepreneur and you wanted to enclose several kiosks into a impromptu “commerce park”? What if you were a promoter and you wanted to build a temporary concert venue? Hmmm?
Okay, I’m going back to shoveling snow. It’s -6 here without the wind chill factor. “Factor” that in and it’s -19 right now. There aren’t enough gloves or thick socks in the world, let me tell you… Brrr!
We’re working around the clock right now. bracing for a big storm while we manage all the fires that are burning…
We’re literally strung out from Montana to the Philippines…
I received an email the other day that really made me think about the things that families consider when planning and building their ISBU homes. More and more, as house footprints are decreasing , the quest for storage is increasing. There’s a disconnect between downsizing your structure and downsizing your possessions.
The family that contacted me (we’ll call them “Family X”) was really struggling, trying to determine HOW to build the smallest home possible and still maintain their rather large collection of memorabilia and “stuff”. I’ll address this in depth later (when we have more time as we’re really up against it right now), but for now, here’s some thoughts;
We are currently working on the design for building our ISBU two story home. We’re planning on building using a pair of 40′ containers on each floor. The idea is to build a 1200+ sq foot (3) BDRM (2) bath home that will eventually go off-grid as our finances allow. The problem is that we’re “collectors” and we need more storage than we’re seeing. People call us hoarders. There may be something to that…
We’ve been planning this for a while now, after a few years of research. We’re amazed that people know you everywhere. Beyond all the families that you’ve helped here in the US, we have friends in New Zealand that you helped build… who know people in OZ that you helped as well. Is there any place that you haven’t built an ISBU home?
Have you seen any cool storage ideas that we might incorporate into your design that might allow us to incorporate more storage? We need your help.
We’ve been doing this a long time. During those decades, we’ve gotten our passports stamped a lot.
I suppose I should counsel you to consider “downsizing your collections” but that’s another Cable reality show, huh? LOL!
I’ve run several posts on the blog about using staircases to incorporate additional storage. We’ve found that it’s one of the most overlooked areas in the home for “parking those collections”.
Have you considered offsetting your ISBUs to provide space between the containers that can be reclaimed? You have to the potential to create some really inexpensive square footage, simply by moving those containers 8-12 feet apart. One of my “new” favorite reclaimed space concepts moves those ISBUs 12 feet apart. Not only do you end up with more square footage that is easily reclaimed, you get something like this (at one end of your home):
And… take it a step further. A really smart person would incorporate even more space in that staircase using a “hatch” system to reclaim that space under the stair platform. Sure, it might take on a “nautical” theme (imagine a sailboat with storage lockers built into the decks), but you could really get a lot of storage out of an arrangement like this, including your “extended pantry and gear storage” areas, within easy reach during hard times. This is especially important if you’re considering an “off-grid” home.
Here’s another look at that Korean build;
You could build a neat sitting area in the lower section as the stairs wrap around. I’ve thought about doing something like this to allow for great storage AND a nice place for kids to to homework or crafts. I’m always telling people to “think out of the box”. Sometimes it works to let those boxes create new space, for you.
Keep us posted about your home build!
Here at RR, we often talk about “symbiotic life”. We’re talking about letting your home live with your landscape in harmony.
Sometimes, we’re so successful that you can’t immediately SEE the home on the property.
While this cabin isn’t exactly invisible, it does pose some interesting opportunities to “blend” structure into site.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Washing the house takes on a while new meaning with all those mirrors, huh?
You’re gonna need an industrial sized barrel of Windex!
From the website:
On the weekend of October 12th in Joshua Tree, California, artist Phillip K Smith III revealed his light based project, Lucid Stead. What was expected to be a two day event for a handful of viewers, turned into over 400 people making the journey over two weekends. People as far away as New York City and Canada traveled to the California High Desert to experience it. Numerous media sources have asked to do cover stories on the work. Thousands of photos professional and amateur, were taken, posted and shared across blogs and social media sights. In just over 30 days, Lucid Stead officially became a phenomenon.
Composed of mirror, LED lighting, custom built electronic equipment and Arduino programming amalgamated with a preexisting structure, this architectural intervention, at first, seems alien in context to the bleak landscape. Upon further viewing, Lucid Stead imposes a delirious, almost spiritual experience. Like the enveloping vista that changes hue as time passes, Lucid Stead transforms. In daylight the 70 year old homesteader shack, that serves as the armature of the piece, reflects and refracts the surrounding terrain like a mirage or an hallucination. As the sun tucks behind the mountains, slowly shifting, geometric color fields emerge until they hover in the desolate darkness. This transformation also adapts personal perception, realigning one’s sensory priorities. A heightened awareness of solitude and the measured pace of the environment is realized.
Smith states, “Lucid Stead is about tapping into the quiet and the pace of change of the desert. When you slow down and align yourself with the desert, the project begins to unfold before you. It reveals that it is about light and shadow, reflected light, projected light, and change.“
Legend has it that on this day in 1621, a bunch of guys wearing black and white outfits (some of them decked out with big shiny buckles) sat down and broke bread with a bunch of the locals (Native Americans).
That seems logical enough, seeing as how those Pilgrims fled oppression and then moved to someplace where they could find a new life… and there were already people there, when they landed those boats.
In school, we were taught that the Pilgrims and the Puritans got all dressed up and then ate turkey backdropped by a mountain of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Um…. Nope. First, they didn’t do this in November at all. It was more like late September or early October. If you’ve ever traveled to that part of the country this time of year, you know that it’s too damned cold for “outdoor parties” in November. That part of the country was still at the tail age of the Ice Age and winter came early and it came HARD. Hell, the snow drifts were taller than most of those guys, even with their big hats on!
I can buy that when they DID gather together, they put on their “Sunday go to meeting” garb. I mean, when they partied, they dressed for it. I’m betting life was hard and boring. If I’d lived then, I’d have put on the good clothes and then… insured everyone saw me. (I’m funny like that.) The rest of the time, they wore simple clothes tailored for farm and field work. Modest clothes. You know, no exposed ankles or boobage. That’s witch stuff. More about that later.
No, Virginia, contrary to what they taught you at Berkeley, they didn’t wear tie dye or flipflops. That kinda behavior would get you branded as a witch and then… they’d BBQ your butt in the middle of town. Hey, some people will do anything to build a fire to huddle around… and then eat a free meal after… especially when food is scarce and the weather is in the teen’s. LOL!
No, they probably didn’t wear big shiny buckles like you see on TV. According to historical archives, they didn’t even HAVE them. We’re told that those big buckles probably came about 100 years later, arriving in the boats filled will new colonists. Fashion moved slowly in those days.
Good thing that TV moves faster or we’d never have known about these trend-setters…
Pilgrims didn’t eat mashed potatoes. No, the Irish didn’t steal them all! Stop thinking like that. Now those sneaky Germans… they might have stolen them… but… I’m pretty sure that potatoes didn’t grow in that part of the country yet. And, it’s pretty hard to eat something that isn’t there. I learn this lesson every time I go to the pantry in the middle of the night to find a pop tart (Sorry @Lori Shemek) and discover that my little boy has eaten them all.
The Pilgrims did shoot everything out of the sky that they could, but wild turkeys were (and are) pretty smart. Ben Franklin commented on it later when he nominated the wild turkey as our national bird. So, I’m betting that the poultry on the table was probably duck and geese. If they’d have landed on the other side, they’d probably have hunted birds too. They’d have probably shot ducks and geese and even eagles… and the occasional Seahawk (because they are slow moving and easy to hit and apparently only do great things about one season every hundred years), only to discover that Seahawks were scrawny and stringy beasts, loud and boisterous, but rarely capable of doing anything that contributes reliably and redundantly to civilized society… @Alan Amend
The Pilgrims prayed, ate, talked, squawked and generally partied like “Pilgrim Rock Stars”. From what history records about the culture of the times, I’m betting it was pretty stodgy, boring stuff. I’m betting that the music sucked, too.
It was so boring that it didn’t happen much after that. This was either G_d getting bored watching a bunch of black and white clad knuckleheads look down their noses at the locals… or the fact that disease, weather conditions and poverty just killed the repeat performance. It might have been a combination of all of those things. Historical records only record that it didn’t become an annual event until much later.
As colonists came and went, the remembrance of that meal was talked about, discussed, and then carried off with them and eventually it spread all over the US. This leads me to another impression of that first party. Apparently Joe Walsh (or possibly Keith Richards) was at that first party and he/they raised hell. I mean, how else would anyone remember it for a decade after?
Hey, it could have happened. Have you SEEN Keith Richards? He could be 400 years old, easy.
Thanksgiving was an opportunity to put away food rationing, food planning and resource coveting. It was a chance to just put it out there on the table for everyone else to see.
“My table is bigger than YOUR table…”
That was important back then. Women didn’t look for guys with big hands or big feet… they looked for BIG tables.
Thanksgiving was a way of building morale. “See, we worked our butts off and we’re gonna make it through another winter. Hell honey, your mother will probably make it through winter… mumble, grumble snort…” They were thankful for all the work they’d accomplished. They were thankful that they had all their poop in a group and they didn’t have to be afraid of winter. They were thankful for those who had survived all the hard work.
They were probably thankful that their kids weren’t being raised by “Spongebob Squarepants” or “Dr McStuffin”…
As you sit down at that table today, thinking about the football that you’ll be watching while inhaling pumpkin pie later (after you arm-wrestle your M-I-L for the big slice)…
… think about what you’re really thankful for.
What are you thankful for – that you’ll still have tomorrow, or next month or next year?
Will you still have food in your pantry?
Will you still have meat in your freezer?
Will your family be warm, dry, well nourished and well slept?
Will your family still have a roof over their heads?
Many families next month, next year… won’t have any of those things. Many families don’t have that NOW.
As you think about giving thanks, please remember how much you really have to be thankful for.
Wherever you are today, whatever you’re doing, whoever you are with… give them a big hug and remind them just how thankful you are that they are there with you. In the blink of an eye – all of that can change. Please, as you travel, be safe and spread the love. A little love goes a long way. Love builds bridges that last a lifetime. Build some bridges with your family. Let them remember this day and then carry it forward. It’ll give them a gift they’ll be thankful for, for a long, long time.
We’re spending the rest of this year focusing efforts to insure that families in the Philippines (and other places hard hit) have things to be thankful for too. We’ve decided that money we would have spent on the holidays will be used instead to help with emergency relief operations in the Philippines.
If you want to help, if you want to aid other families in need, if you want to help families become reunited with those they were separated from in the typhoon… if you have a few bucks to spare to insure that other families in harm’s way are warm, fed and tended to, cared for by first responders and volunteers who gave up time with their own families because other families need them so much more… we’d love to hear from you.
There is so much to do and so little time.
If you want to help us help others during this holiday season, you can PayPal a donation (every single penny helps and will go straight to providing aid to the victims of Haiyan) to our PayPal ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re a manufacture or distributor of gear that can be used by rescue workers and first responders and you want to help, PLEASE email us at: email@example.com and put “Haiyan Relief” in the subject line.
If you’re a firefighter, an EMT, a Paramedic, a Doctor or a Nurse that wants to spend some time over the holidays helping those in desperate need, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Rescue Workers” in the subject line.
Have a happy holidays, folks. I’m signing off and heading to bed for a few hours. I’ve been up all night monitoring Philippine Emergency Relief Op chatter on the HAM radio.
Greetings Corten Campers!
As you know, we’re working our proverbial butts off doing EMO (emergency relief operation) management in the Philippines. Right now, it’s pretty much 24/7. First it was the Oct 15th Earthquake. Then, Typhoon Haiyan tried to tear the rest of country into pieces. Typhoon Haiyan did a pretty good job. This is Haiti times ten. We’re going to be there for years – helping families rebuild their lives and cleaning up all the damage and rebuilding.
Between that and several projects that we’re working on (including some really exciting luthier work – building and reworking guitars as gifts for American soldiers – in time for the holidays) and trying to weld every container together that we can, to form the world’s largest Corten Castle…
(Okay, I’m kidding about building a massive Corten Construct… or am I?)
We have a family in Arizona that wants to build a multi-family compound using ISBUs (shipping Containers). They live in the Sedona area and they do NOT want their structures to intrude on the natural beauty of the property. It’s “rocky, craggy beautiful.”
What would happen if you mixed Chris Angel (that zany Las Vegas Magician), some concrete and a stack of Corten Shipping Containers together?
(Yeah, yeah… we’ve all heard the “rumors” about mob guys in cement shoes who got “incorporated” into Casino foundations. That’s NOT what I’m talking about. I’m talking about “Corten Concrete Magic”… LOL!)
I’m talking REAL MAGIC! You might get some thing that looked like THIS:
You can do amazing things with concrete and pigments these days. You can build rocks that look so real that they are indistinguishable from “real” rocks sitting right next to them. We’ve actually built hidden entrance/exits this way, many times.
What if you gave that technique a shot of steroids and did it to the entire home/site structure? Interconnect the residences using something like DOT Culvert pipe, give them the same treatment and you’d have a concrete reinforced Corten Community.
The photo above is actually a “Cave Hotel” located in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa unless I’m mistaken. It’s built using “conventional construction”, but you can see what it is… it’s structure clad in concrete and stone… just like we’re suggesting. The difference is that we’ll use lightweight concrete “sprayed” into reinforced forms built on site to duplicate existing “rocks”.
This isn’t an inexpensive proposition – but with some time and some creativity, you could have You could build something that looks like the photo you see above. IMHO – you’d have the best of both worlds and then some;
Would you live in a home built like this?
We would, in a heartbeat…
People following our Facebook pages know that we’re working around the clock helping provide aid and comfort in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan.
So while we’re working, we thought that we’d share some really cool ISBU (Shipping Container) buildings with you.
This unique shipping container apartment building was built by a celebrity chef/entrepreneur named Alejandra Dellepiane. Alejandra decided that Jose Ignacio, Uruguay needed a hotel. And Alejandra used ISBUs to build it. Why did Alejandra do it? Well, because it had never been done in Uruguay before!
Aside from the wooden decks, flower gardens, firepit, jacuzzi and grill, it’s all ISBU. This beachside hotel is surrounded by a forest of pine trees. The location seems almost ideal!
And, best of all, they incorporated Solar Hot Water and LED lighting, to make the building more efficient.
Many of our readers know that we are actively involved in emergency and rescue operations globally.
Typhoon Haiyan in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is once again testing us as we try to help as many as we can reach.
Thousands are dead.
Hundreds of thousands are injured.
Millions are displaced.
We’re working around the clock right now. We’re tired, hungry and frankly, dragging, knowing that whatever we do, it won’t be nearly enough. And despite all that we’re doing at this end, it’s easy to feel like we’re not doing enough as others do the heavy lifting – on the ground (in the debris and carnage) looking, digging, searching for victims of this terrible disaster.
If you want to help, please think about WHERE and to WHOM your donations and volunteer efforts actually go. Please think about how much of your donation will actually get to the people who need it. There are already reports about well-known aid organizations in the Philippines filming the carnage (to raise money), but not actually doing ANYTHING to aid those in need.
A good friend of ours that is heavily invested in the financial sector recently reminded us of this:
“Another example worth considering…
Consider a small charity ($1,000.000) with an operating efficiency of 80%. It has $200k expenses, primarily fixed. $1 million donated, and $800k actually goes to the stated purpose of the charity.
Compare that to Goodwill. $1 million donated, and only $175k goes to the stated purpose. The first $725k is used to pay the CEOs compensation. The only reason these large charities can state such an “attractive” efficiency ratio is because their extreme size actually allows them to pilfer the charity, i.e. their large inflow dwarfs their absurd fixed costs (compensation).
Also – these large charities will serve as feeder-funds to some of the smaller charities. This feeding comes with rather draconian strings attached. Most smaller charities will decline the money, because it corrupts their mission. When they feed the money to the other charities it counts 100 cents on the dollar as efficiency, regardless of the fed charities operating efficiency. Guess what a lot of these subordinate charities are? That’s right – 100% affiliated subordinates of the feeder, with abysmal efficiency. They pay excessive consulting fees the management of the feeder (superior) charity. This allows the larger charity to mask their compensation, and protect their own efficiency rating…
Be careful of charities. They are very, very, very often set up as a tool for financial or political advancement.
I have a good amount of experience in analyzing and suggesting charities. Personally, I recommend the small, grass root charities. Often, they may not have the best operating expenses on paper, maybe somewhere in the 70% range, but those numbers are deceptive. Especially when the CEO and founder has a NEGATIVE income from the charity, because they are putting so much of their own money into it.
Please consider supporting First Responders, those brave men and women on the ground in the carnage, risking all to help others. They need supplies, food, shelter. This costs huge amounts of money in lands torn apart by disaster. Remember that know that these families, these people in the streets fighting over scraps… could just as easily be US. It’s time to get our hands dirty, folks. If you’d like to help, please contact us.
God Bless Us, every one.
We’ve been talking a lot lately about “tiny houses”.
Corten Containers can lend themselves to the creation of small and really cool spaces, but once you’ve accomplished that, you sometimes have some yard left over!
The way I see it, the more I build in the yard, the less lawn I have to mow. right? LOL!
What would happen if you built a teepee on a raised (insulated) octagonal deck (that sat on pilings up off the ground to get you out of the snow and muck…)
What if you then sprayed SPF (spray foam insulation) on the inside to not only insulate it but to add a vapor and moisture barrier…
What if you then sprayed it on the exterior with lightweight concrete?
What if you added photovoltaic panels to runs the lights and electrical appliances?
What if you did it, in about two weeks?
What if it looked something like… um… THIS?
You’d have a 24/7 shelter that was easily four season. And that’s exactly what some guy (I”m still trying to find out WHO) did, in the California Desert.
Let’s step it up a notch…. By building it large enough, you’d get a sleeping loft up where all the heat got trapped.