The Titan of Tiny Homes!

29 Jul

Okay, some of you saw this yesterday, because my fat fingers, or the scheduler (I blame the scheduler) released it too early. It wasn’t supposed to run until the 29th of July.

So, if you’ve already seen this…

Good stuff is worth re-reading! πŸ™‚

After the release of my new book;

“Introductions to Container Homes and Buildings”

I was deluged with people interested in my view that a 20′ High Cube ISBU can make a splendid “Tiny Home.”

Some of them wanted an “overview”, a “walk-thru” (if you will) about how you could turn a small ISBU into a Tiny House that could be completed (affordably and economically) in one place (like… say…Β  your backyard) and then hauled somewhere else behind your truck or SUV.

So, after giving it some thought, and using a few “similar projects” as “inspiration points”, here is my “general take on Tiny Steel Houses.”

Okay, so my spin on this is not exactly “a more traditional and conventionally constructed Tumbleweed Home” (made famous by a very talented and inspiring guy named Jay Shafer ), it’s more like “the mad scientist industrial approach” to modern “Tiny Home” building.


I like to think that maybe someday I could become the “Michael Janzen” (a “pallet-headed” genius if ever I knew one) of Steel Housing…

This is a guy who said (and I quote);

“Shouldn’t the true value of a home be measured by the happiness and security it brings instead of its size and cost?”

-Michael Janzen

Ah crap… he’s smart, too…

But wait! A “pallet-head”? I called Michael a “pallet-head?”

I stole this from his blog to show you what a genius he is. We’re talking housing. FREE.

Yep. Michael has “pallets on the brain”, and he uses them to do some of the most intriguing and innovative things that anyone can possibly imagine.

“Just like Mike”, we try to rub pennies together and turn them into quarters.

And using Shipping Containers to achieve “transportable affordable housing” does the same thing. ISBUs repurposed to build a “rolling tiny home” simplify several first “Tiny Home” steps.

In the beginning…

First, dropping an ISBU on a foundation made of masonry blocks, pilings (that you cast out of scrap sonotube), or even a footed slab, is a cinch. Line it up, and drop it down. Securing it is pretty simple too, that ISBU comes with “attachment points” built into it. It’s a terrific place to start tying that house to the rock. And yes… “common sense” rules apply.

If you aren’t old enough to know what “common sense” is, please follow this URL…

Disney Freakin Land

Still here? Good.

Unlike a traditional “tiny house”, some people decide to put these gorgeous little homes on wheels.

I hate these “Tiny Mobile House” guys with a passion. I HATE them!

Why? Why on earth would I hate someone with the ability to haul his/er little home masterpiece along behind him, every freakin where he/she goes?

Because I’m jealous! I don’t have one! I lust after them!

Have you seen some of these rolling homes? There are Tiny Mobile Houses out there that look like they belong in museums… not stuck in traffic trying to get out of Los Angeles at rush hour.

So, how do these Tiny House afficianados make these homes so mobile? Well… they do that by dropping the home onto a small trailer that resembles that Uhaul single car trailer that Jed rented when “he packed up his kinfolk and moved to Bever-ly…”

And that fact gave me my starting point.

If I were to do “it”… if I wanted my house to be on display to everyone that ever got stuck on Pacific Coast Highway, making them cry uncontrollably into their steering wheels over the sheer awesomeness of my “towed abode…”

… if I really wanted my home to be “mobile,” I could just find a decent single car hauler-trailer, and rehab it.

But “AH-HAH!” you say…

… those “Tiny Housers” already do the same thing!

Well, maybe they do, and maybe they don’t…

But I’d just use “more beef”, because I just roll that way! I wanna be the “Tim Taylor of Titanium Tradewinds” when I grow up… Arr, arr, arr… πŸ˜‰

But you don’t have to buy a new trailer or go to some exotic fabrication shop to have them build you “the mother of all trailers.”

Now most of you know that I don’t have wads of Benjamins to toss around like tickertape. When I think of Paris, I don’t think of Paris Hilton driving her Bentley to an exclusive Hollywood party, I think of US Marines crawling around in the dirt and mud, at Perris Island.

I’m betting that many of you think likewise.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll look at how you could do it.

Stay tuned.


9 Responses to “The Titan of Tiny Homes!”

  1. Madrigorne July 30, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    I saw the tumbleweed houses years ago – ran across Jays website when he was still based in Iowa instead of way the frak out in the hell of California… I totally wanted one, I still totally want one, but I am not going to spend fourtyTHOUSANDdollars on a teenytinywheelie house no matter how frickin adorable it is, or how much I want one.
    I also ran across the Finnlife Cabin Kits at Tesco – put out by the Finnforest company of Finland. They are Beautiful, and not horrible expensive, and only for sale in the UK (cries).
    Have you ever considered a Corten Container Conversion Kit? I think it would sell pretty well – Corten container not included (my alliteration, let me show you it) I am in a mood today as bills have reached their zenith and its up to super-me to keep us afloat. Woo!

    • renaissanceronin July 30, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

      Hi Madrigorne!

      I love Jay’s stuff, but it is pricey, I suppose it’s because quality isn’t cheap, huh?

      Plus I heard a rumor that Jay moved “out to Beverly” to singlehandedly save California from itself… (Just kidding!)

      I’m gonna look at Finnlife Cabins, as if YOU endorse them, they must be cool!

      And you read my mind about the kit. I’m thinking if this goes well, you’d have a plan and a materials list at the end, so you could DIY – do it yourself, in your garage (or carport) and then roll on down the road… mounted up to those “cavalry” wheels…

      (For those of you “lurking”, you might have to built it in two pieces and assemble it at the end, or just build it “outside.” It’s not like it doesn’t start out “weathered in.” Few of us have garage doors that open up 12 feet high.)

      Corten Coolness!

  2. Yaasmeen July 30, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Hello Ronin,
    My husband and I are actually going to attempt this. About a year ago we purchased an ISBU, the City of Milwaukee told us we could not use it in building our home, so we needed to find something smart and useful to do with it. We stumbled across Tumbleweed Tiny Homes and saw the Popomo. The plans require the use of a 20′ flatbed, which would be perfect for a 20′ ISBU (we just recently bought the plans). Anyways we’ll be trying it out at the end of august, we will also be blogging about. Wish us luck and we wish you and yours well too!

    • renaissanceronin July 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

      Take lots of pictures, and keep up posted on how it goes!

      I really do think that this would be a really cool combination. If we can help, with ideas or “problem solving” (or even just “attaboy” encouragement!), just holler!

  3. ted yrizarry August 2, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    And yet one more insiteful reason to go 20 foot high cube…Ugh.
    For me it seems like a great “instant” solution along the proper mindset of Corten Cabins. If one were to build a trailer that easily accomidates a 20’er..then you could drag it (kicking and screaming) along behind you. Maybe add some leveling jacks and you’d be all set with your own little bullet proof RV! Or…build it like a one room cabin just like the pioneers would have (if they had plasma cutters and welders) and drive it to your site and set up on blocks. Drag a few of these into the woods over a little time and soon you have your very own little compound! Complete with several little modules (can you say mother-in-law suite?) for when folks come a-callin’!!!

    • renaissanceronin August 2, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

      Hi Ted,

      I hate to keep rubbing in the “20′ Dogma”, but you can see it’s merits, huh?

      First, you’re keeping your head down, right?

      Second, ISBUs aren’t anti-ballistic. You know that. So unless you’re gonna “armor that ISBU”, no “bulletproof” for you, bucko! The closest you’re gonna get is to be “more weather resistant.” πŸ™‚

      But, you’re GETTING it. Build in one place, haul to another. Build modular, and GROW the cluster out to suit the needs of your tribe.

      Or, just build ONE and disappear in traffic on the 405 and take in the sights and scenery. When you get tired, just pull over and impress the the H-E-double-L out of the rest of the RV’ers at the rest area! πŸ™‚

      Or head for the trees in search of “Winnie the Pooh and his cronies in the Hundred Acre Woods”…

      Can I get an “Amen”?

      • Madrigorne August 3, 2010 at 9:40 am #

        Amen. πŸ˜‰

      • Yaasmeen August 4, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

        AMEN!! πŸ™‚

  4. ted yrizarry August 3, 2010 at 5:38 am #


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