Call me “Doctor Franken-Container…”

20 Jan

I’m getting overwhelmed with mail from people that are frankly… overwhelmed.

They look at all the pretty pictures on the “glamor housing” sites and then they hear me talking about DIY, and they get as nervous as zebras around lions.

Look, ISBU architecture isn’t really about “Treehugger”.

The reality is that these boxes lend themselves to easily reclaimed space, as MODULES or WINGS.

In fact, I just patented (okay, so it’s “patent pending”) something we’re calling  “iWINGS”.

No, it’s not a fan site for an old TV Sitcom, or even Paul McCartney (although I do LOVE his music).

G_d Bless his left-handed lil heart! 🙂

I did it, in part to establish a modular building set that allows a family to put modules together to FORM a cost effective, affordable, high performance home. The other part? I did it to showcase what will hopefully become a series of “constructed components” that will allow a family to build their own home… BY THEMSELVES, FOR THEMSELVES.

This requires a base plan that is flexible, energy efficient and sustainable.

So, you’ll tune the house to your climate. Not all homes work in all places, after all. You don’t just drop a house on the ground. You orient it to the sun and the views.

(And if it’s ME, it’s in THAT order.)

What do you look for in a base plan?

Well, first, you look for an easily achieved design that will help control production costs. After all, you’re going to be doing this out of your own wallet. Bankers hear “shipping container” and start laughing hysterically.

At least, for now. Some day…

Where was I? Oh yeah…

Look, I’m not going to start preaching “Spec House”, or “full-blown Architecture Wonder” (complete with overblown budget).

It’s not what I do. I’m teaching most of you to do this YOURSELF. As in, you keep all your pennies for building and pretzels. 😉

In the past, I’ve shown you ISBU houses built around (1) 20′ CORE ISBU that contains all the goodies you crave. I mean, it’s hard to do without a kitchen, bathroom and running shower, right? Plus, we threw in a laundry room and even a mechanical space for the hot water heater.

I’ve shown you how to take containers and connect them together with a common space, to form an “uncommon” home.

But I’m getting email from families that want to build a more “traditional” house. In fact, I’m getting a lot of email from NEW families that want to start out with two bedrooms/baths and add on as they grow.

AND… I’m getting email from Seniors and “empty nesters” that want something smaller and more manageable that will allow them to live in peace (as opposed to constantly maintaining the pieces).

What do they need?

Well, you need a home that is:

  • flexible,
  • designed to take many forms as need be, and…
  • it needs to be affordable to build.

Beyond that, you need it to do this without compromise or at the sacrifice of performance.

Sounds like a tall order, huh? Not really. You just need to think it thru.

Yes… you knew this was coming… you’ll need it to be able to take advantage of passive and active solar systems so that you can add panels to the roof, to create power and domestic hot water.

What else? Okay – I’d recommend rainwater collection and Energy Star approved and rated lighting and appliances.

And let’s throw in some thermal mass – say concrete or tile floors to help with heat gain, as well.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to look at how you’d accomplish this… by building ONE iWING at a time.

Stay tuned.

Image Credit (Lion Love): Chan4Chan

Image credit (Sir Paul): TopNews

No Lions or Zebras were harmed in the creation of this post.

Paul McCartney can never be harmed. He’s IMMORTAL! 🙂


4 Responses to “Call me “Doctor Franken-Container…””

  1. David January 20, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Although don’t you think Apple might have a patent on i[anything]? 🙂

    Thanks for all the education.


    • Renaissance Ronin January 20, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      iPOX on ‘dem guys! 🙂

      In our case, we’ll argue that the “i” is for ISBU. 😉

  2. Jackson Wilson January 20, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Don’t you teaching families how they can “do it themselves” and patenting an idea like that an oxymoron of sorts ?

    The idea of patent protection is that you have the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or distributing the patented invention without permission or reward.

    • Renaissance Ronin January 21, 2011 at 6:55 am #

      While you make a good point, there is another side to this coin;

      At RR we help teach families to DIY their own homes. As we do this, we develop techniques and even potential products that are used in this endeavor.

      The bottom line is that we are developing techniques and products to try to save families money. Therefore, it’s very important that we take the protection of our ideas seriously and the way to do that is to patent them.

      A patent is a legal document that grants you a monopoly on your product.

      I’ve heard it said that a patent is a “license to sue somebody.” While it may sound harsh, that is exactly what it is. But wait, there’s more…

      We see it as a license to PREVENT lawsuits.

      Here’s why:

      Any good lawyer will tell you that a patent for any product is of fundamental importance. Without one, you can’t do much at all. You certainly can’t make, assemble, manufacture, give away or even (gasp!) sell your product.

      And you’ll also find that nobody in the business world is going to take you seriously unless you’ve taken this step. Most manufacturers or potential buyers/licensers or licensees won’t even see you if you don’t have one. You have to be able to show that you’ve at least applied for it.

      Without a patent, you have no claim to ownership of the idea, service or product you’ve worked so hard to conceptualize and create.

      It’s like building your house and then just giving someone else the house keys.

      If anyone attempted to steal your idea and patent it him/herself, you’d be protected because you applied first.

      Take this a step further.

      If we develop a process and then teach you to turn that into a product, anyone reading this blog can patent that idea and product as their own and the PREVENT you from using it without first compensating THEM.

      I’m told that they are called “patent trolls”.

      It happens all the time.

      If we “own it”, nobody can take it from you.

      This can’t be stressed enough: a patent is a must.

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