Finally… A Container “Purist.”

14 Mar

Recently, I’ve been toiling with trying to find a way to figure out how to actually “make a living” teaching people to build their own homes, using ISBUs.

This has been brought on by the fact that taking care of my wife (who has Stage 3 Cervical Cancer)  and caring for a 2 year old little terrorist doesn’t give me much time to go out and make a living.

I’m their primary care-giver. He’s teething. She’s crying. He’s crying. Sometimes, I’m near crying myself… It’s exhausting, I assure you.

To say that our life is hard doesn’t begin to cut it. It’s a struggle just to keep the lights turned on. But, we get up each day, determined to make a difference, and bring everything we can, to everything we do. That includes helping a lot of other families build homes, homes that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

It’s just about the only way that we can help people right now.

Does this blog help you?

Are you learning enough from it to give thought to building an ISBU or “alternative home” of your own?

Does it inspire you to wonder IF you can actually build it yourself, and then take the next step?

If so, I urge you to  make a difference, and even help yourself in the process.

Can you help? YES.

Please, consider helping us with the expenses to run this blog. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and it’s the only way we have to help other families, in similar shoes.

Every family should have a home. YOURS, and MINE… TOO.

Please help us do that. If  I can’t figure out a way for this blog to at least carry itself, it’s going to die. There’s enough impending death in our lives, without adding this to the list. PLEASE help, if you can.

There’s a Paypal button up there on the right side of your screen. Please, help us continue.We cannot do this on our own, any longer.

Now… here’s another glimpse of WHY you should support this blog:

I’m one of the few people in the country that actually KNOWS how to build ISBU homes. Ask around… ask guys like Dave Cross at SG Blocks how many homes I’ve built or how long I’ve been doing it. There’s a reason guys like Peter DeMaria are fans of mine. (First, it’s mutual. These guys are “Corten Gawds”…) And second… The “Big Kahuna’s of Corten Madness” KNOW me.

Lot’s of people TALK about building ISBU homes, but few people actually have. YOUR project will probably be their first one. And that means that you’ll be paying for their education, out of your own pocket. That’s idiotic, unless you have money to burn.

Want an example? I recently talked to a guy who was told by several contractors that that he “couldn’t live in a Shipping Container.”

“His circumstances wouldn’t allow it…”

Then he found a guy who offered to build his Shipping Container Home for him… for $175 a square foot.

Needless to say, “L” said no.

So he started asking around, and then he actually went looking… for ME.

I’m calling this project; “L’s Bells…”

Many of you know (from reading my blogs and other writings), that I’m an “Insulate on the outside” kind of guy, when it comes to ISBUs.

What do you do when you get approached by a guy who actually WANTS people to know that he used ISBUs?

First, you shake his hand.

And then, you shake him by the shoulders… until you come to the grim realization that he really HAS thought this thru, and he’s ready for the fight that is surely to come.

And THEN… You (gasp!) insulate those ISBUs on the inside!

Now (we’ll call him “L”) decided several things before he even thought about talking to me.

  • He wanted his house up on pilings, at least 10 feet in the air.
  • He wanted to not only leave the Corten corrugation visible, he wanted to “enhance the patina” using a process (of mine he saw on one of my projects) that speeds up the oxidation. Starting with BROWN containers, he wanted them to turn “muddy brown” ASAP.
  • He wanted to use blown in cellulose insulation – packed pretty tight, to prevent it from settling and creating cold spots. And…
  • He wanted a clerestory roof, with a sleeping loft.

He has part-time custody of his son, so he needed a cool place for him to sleep, thus the requirement for the sleeping loft.

Oh yeah, he also wanted to use some old insulated truck doors he found, as part of his “design” scheme.

They were similar to ones I’d used to create a “disappearing wall” in a bedroom, so that the room could be opened to the outdoors with the flick of a switch. In THAT project, I set up the Master bedroom so that you could literally open the wall, and roll the bed out onto the roof.

“L” didn’t actually want to move the bed, he just wanted to open the room up to all the fresh air he could get.

Oh yeah, did I tell you… “L” is a paraplegic? So, that 10′ climb to the front door is going to be via a ramp system.

Just under 900 square feet of living space, plus a sleeping loft.

Knowing that you can’t get a conventional construction loan to build an “alternative home,” he borrowed from relatives,  missed meals, and scrimped and saved… until he had about $58 a square foot to build with.

That puts the budget at about $54,000 and change – “decorator ready.”

There won’t be a  “formal” garage,  he’ll just park his van underneath it.

If you want to commit to a similar project, or even bring me in to “help you” build one yourself;

You can contact me on my consulting site, located here:


Because folks, unless Renaissance Ronin starts paying it’s own way, it’s going to get closed down…

We LOVE this blog, and we want to continue it, but the time has come to either make it work, or let it die. I can’t work this hard “for free” any longer. The “Sharing” has to go both ways.

Stay tuned.

3 Responses to “Finally… A Container “Purist.””

  1. Yaasmeen March 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    Hellooo Mr. Ronin,

    I’d be glad to help though, not with much (I too am poor and am looking for alternative ways to house my family, our home was also lost recently). But, I thought if maybe you asked all 182,000 + viewers/members to donate even 1 dollar a year that would be a good amount of money! Thank you for all you do and I hope every thing works out for you and your family!

    • Alina March 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

      I wish I knew what to say to make everyone reading this comment understand that this guy deserves, and will pay forward, every dollar he is given. I know this from experience. Click the paypal and make a difference for him and his lovely family. He’s a friend worth helping and a friend worth having three of.

      • renaissanceronin March 18, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

        Thanks, Alina.

        “…A friend worth having three of?”

        What? Are you a glutton for punishment? 🙂

        We love this blog. We know that we’re helping people. We just can’t do it ‘alone’ any longer. I’m praying that people get involved. I really am.

        Renaissance Ronin is one of the few places that talks about “actually doing” and not just “marketing hype,” or perpetuating old myths, outright lies, and BS, perpetuated by corporations that just want to get into your pocket.

        I’d hate for Renaissance Ronin to die.


        aka: Alex

Comments are closed.