A Sermon from ISBU-ville…

18 Oct

In the beginning…

I’m working on a series of posts that talk about the “nuts and bolts of ISBU construction”.

As I do, my email box fills daily, like a virtual wellspring of “Please Help Me…” currents and eddies.

The most common email lately is the “Can I really do this?” question as people start reading the “Dogma of Klein…”

(mostly in book form, as they read my book “Introduction to Container Homes and Buildings”.)

In the book, I tell them what  I tell you;

Keep it simple, keep it manageable, keep it affordable, and most of all… keep it in the family (and friends).

Here’s the deal;

You CAN build a home that you can afford.

It can even be GREEN, if that is your wish. You simply have to make good choices and then stick to them.

There isn’t any real requirement to take on a soul-sucking mortgage, again… unless that is your wish, your “choice”.  Build what you can afford. In most of my building families cases, the money falls at about $50k.

Look, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not going to be “easy”. Building your own home, especially one built from ISBUs can seem like a formidable task.

The guys that tell you (on a LOT of other “alternative housing blogs”) that “it’s easy” are misinformed. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but most of those guys have never even BUILT an alternative house, they’re just good “readers and myth-adventurers”.

If it was easy… everyone would be doing it, contractors would become extinct (like the dinosaurs) and the world would change as the financial system modified itself as “housing” was removed from the picture.

Life wouldn’t be “turn-key”, where you simply plunked down cash and moved into the home of your dreams.

Nope. Not gonna happen… You’re gonna live with a little construction “mayhem and madness”,  build your castle in phases as you save for “that next step”, and after a few years that would become the “normal” way of life as you and your home evolve together.

Contrary to popular opinion, this is how it USUALLY happens.

The beauty of ISBU construction is that the homes are “modular” by design. That means that you can plug more modules in, as time passes and money allows.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Hello? It’s HOW our forefathers did it.

Granted, they didn’t have the luxury of photovoltaic panels, solar panels, or energy efficient appliances. 😉

They started with a chunk of land that they staked out, bartered for, or just bought outright.

Then, they started building, using whatever they could find. Ummm… I hate to say this, but isn’t that what I’m teaching you to do, NOW?

Sometimes they had a hard design, sometimes they let the land  or the materials they had on hand dictate what they built.

But, they did what they could, with what they HAD. Ummm.. Hello again…

Today isn’t much different, except that the way we go about building has been modified by “want” instead of “need”, in most cases.

For example, the household kitchen is a sinkhole for cash. No matter where you start out, you’re going to find yourself remodeling it over time to include new cabinets, countertops or appliances, not to mention improving the flow of the space. It’s driven by the media, your neighbors (and probably your wife’s patience). It’s just the way it is.

In the beginning… again…

Make sure that what you build will last, and that the structure is solid. Try to keep things workable by “the common man” instead of drawing out designs that will be they very nature require expensive sub-contractors. For example, a 4 pitch roof is easily buildable by you and your friends.

An 8 or 12 pitch roof, on the other hand, is going to send most of you to the hospital or local emergency room, unless you’re VERY careful.

Stay tuned as we start looking at HOW ISBU and other types of alternative homes actually get built.


2 Responses to “A Sermon from ISBU-ville…”

  1. Scott October 18, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    Amen to ending the soul sucking “mortgagecycle”.
    Don’t want to ride that death cycle anymore!

    • Renaissance Ronin October 18, 2010 at 11:26 am #


      That IS one set of handlebars I don’t want to be flapping from… 😉


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