A Corten Treehouse in the Woods!

5 Sep

Greetings, Campers!

Happy Freakin’ Labor Day, AMERICA!!


Yeah, it’s me again! That “metal craving miscreant” who dreams of living in a steel cocoon, while all those “naysaying bastards” drift slowly out to sea, after the next hurricane races in and kicks their butts!

Yikes! Where did THAT come from? Geez, I gotta check my med’s again! 🙂

Seriously, while I pound my head against the wall, trying to get these poltroons (um… okay… “authorities”) in Mississippi to understand that building a house out of a steel box makes good sense, I’m working on a few other projects, helping friends achieve a level of success I can only dream about, for now!


Recently, we came across a windfall. A guy we know has several containers stockpiled that have received damage while being offloaded, moved, or even dropped! And, he gave us the keys to the yard where they’ve “dumped them,” and told us that we could have whatever we could haul off.

So, like “good little recyclers,” we sent out our steel contractor pal, to inspect the boxes for damage, so that we could figure out how they could be used.

And, although most of them so far are unusable as “complete units,” most of them could be salvaged, if you kissed their little butts with a plasma cutter, and sectioned them off! And thus, a dream was born…

What do you do, when you have several 8′ x 16′ – 20′ x 9.5′ metal boxes, with one end cut off?

You build “treehouses!” Yeah buddy, Now we’re talkin! You build a “little house” that would make some of those “Little Houser’s” CRAZY! After all, you never know when society as we know it is gonna cave in, and you need a bulletproof place to run to! 🙂

I have a guy in our ranks, who has a big hunk of property that looks out at the Gulf Of Hepatitis… um… er… Mexico. And,  since it’s in an “unincorporated area,” building codes are easier to deal with and P&Z Nazi’s are less “active.” Thus, he’s all for experimenting, so he’s given us “carte blanche” to build a few experimental units, to see what can be done, if you stay up way too late, drink way too much coffee, and just generally run amok with power tools. Obviously, he’ll eventually own whatever we build (unless I can work something out, or find some way to blackmail him… 🙂 ),  but in the meantime, we’ll get to use it as shelter.

So here’s the deal…

There are several huge oaks on the property, and one of them got some pretty severe damage when Hurricane’s Katrina and then Gustav smacked them around. As a result, we can use one of them, as a platform, to build off of.

We’re gonna stick one 8′ x 16′ box up into that tree,  and do a “Swiss Family Are you outta your freakin mind?” cabin. We’ll build a staircase up to it, using a metal staircase that we salvaged from a hotel rebuild, after Hurricane Katrina tried to eat half of Biloxi.

Remembering that you have 9.5 feet of height in a High Cube, we’re gonna have to be “crafty” to disguise the box… but it should be a cool platform for the ultimate “Little House in da Woods…”

And I have another idea up my sleeve.


No! Not this… but ain’t it cool?

I have several pieces of culvert pipe, that got left over from a DOT highway project. We’re talking huge pipe, sections approximately 10′ long, by 10′ in diameter. (Okay, the inside diameter is about 8′.)

I’m thinking that we pour a footed slab, that will carry the weight of a section of that pipe, and then drop that sucker down onto it. Now, I’ve essentially got a 10′ high platform to set a section of those ISBU’s on, and  I can build up from there.

(Plus, I can use the created “cavity” of that pipe section for storage, or anything else I can figure out, as we move along.)

Now, 8′ x 16′ isn’t much, but if  I stack two container segments one on top of the other, I have a 128 square foot main, and the opportunity for a 64+ square foot loft above it, plus maybe even some nifty sleeping lofts above that, if I use something like a clerestory or even a shed roof to cap the whole shooting match off.

FYI: I figure a loft plan is best, so that the “cabin” doesn’t start feeling like a coffin.

I don’t want to lose any of the square footage to an entry, so here’s what I’ll do;

I’ll build an exterior deck, that hangs off the front of the house. It’s only gonna be big enough to sit out there and look at the mosquitoes buzz by so it won’t take any great engineering feat to make it happen.  We’re talkin’ 8′ wide by 6′ deep, here. Off that, we’ll hang an 8′  “catwalk”  (4′ wide) that will lead to another deck structure, that will double as a carport.  This way, we have another 8′ x 16′ “out door room” to use as an extended living space, when weather permits.

We’re gonna cover it and then screen it in, to prevent the mosquitoes from making a meal out of us.  As it is, I have to tie Joshua to the ground, as the mosquitoes around here are known to have carried small children off… 🙂

So, we just added 128 more square feet, as “mild weather space.” Plus, it’s gonna serve as a cover for a car parked under it.

Like I’ll ever be fortunate enough to actually own a car, again… 😦

A big ceiling fan should keep the room cool enough to allow us to sit out and enjoy the view. A staircase from that deck, will lead down to grade.

Over the next few days, I’m gonna do some sketches, to give you an idea what we’re thinking about.

46871652This’d make a dandy starting point, huh?

I’m thinking about something along these lines, but 2 story, with a sloped “south-facing” roof constructed out of  SSMR (Standing Seam Metal Roofing). It’d be nice to use some roof surface for water retention. And in our case, the connecting deck will be a screen room, with solar panels on the roof of it, to help make power and  maybe even some hot water for an outdoor shower.

Figure that much of the south facing walls will be glazed, either with  commercial glass panes, or “fixed” sliding glass doors,”or maybe even some glass block (that we traded/bartered for) thrown in, as “illuminating accents.”

As I think this through, I’ll post the progress.

And then, you can tear them apart to your heart’s content.  If we can figure out how to do this “fast, fast, fast…” I may move into it myself… until we either move out of Mississippi to someplace that uses logic for making rules, or the powers that be decide to leave us alone long enough to build the house we really want… 🙂

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin


2 Responses to “A Corten Treehouse in the Woods!”

  1. Plasma Cutters September 18, 2009 at 2:02 am #

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    • renaissanceronin September 18, 2009 at 10:33 am #

      Thanks for the ad! Sheesh… 😦

      I’d appreciate it even more, if you’d send me a sample of your product line…

      Hell, I’ll even do a review! 🙂

      Note to readers: Never heard of these guys. Never bought from these guys. But, if they send me something good to test, I’ll pass whatever I learn, on…

Comments are closed.