The Revenge of Captain Kidless’s WIFE…

26 Nov

RR Update: The last two months have just been exhausting. We’ve traveled, unraveled and even babbled… from lack of sleep and overwork. We didn’t do anything resembling cooking a turkey (we never liked that neighbor kid anyway) until Sunday.

Did we go out “Black Friday” shopping? I’d rather suffer from the “Black Plague” or get a nasty case of the “Black Death”. I make it a point to avoid the “Minions of Madness” at every opportunity. Besides that, we’re really “Buy Local” kinda folks. I’d rather support local families, small businesses and craftsmen, than buy overpriced Chinese crap from Big Box Stores. 

This week, we move part of our ISBU operation to a larger facility, we reorganize and we start getting prepared for the New Year and THREE new projects that are going to test not only our resolve, but  our tempers – when dealing with the rigors of extended travel and those TSA goons.

So, you know what time it is…

That’s right… Mailbag Time.

Dear Ronin,

First, thanks for keeping it real. As we follow your exploits, we can see that you really CARE about families.

In our personal conversations with you, we KNOW that your focus is to insure that families are safe from whatever comes…

But, what about when it’s a kid coming home from college? 🙂

Our son is returning to the nest, after facing the grim truth that good jobs (especially jobs in his trained field) are hard to find in this economy.  So, we’d like to use the next few months building him a bedroom, using one of those 20′ High Cubes that you love so dearly.  You see, we turned his old room into a crafts room (she’d been waiting patiently for 18 years) and frankly, the wife isn’t giving it back up. Her exact words were;

“He’s outta my womb and I’m keeping his room…”

So, I need to add on, or move out…

But, is it possible to do this (a) on a budget of say… $10k, and (b) on a scale that will accommodate a “large” kid? He’s a 6 footer. Most of the time that we see “ISBU Bunkrooms” they look like they’re designed for midgets or “Lilliputians”.

I’m a pretty good carpenter and I can use basic hand tools without requiring a trip to the emergency room. So, I can do most of the work myself. We’ll insulate on the exterior (ala “The World According to Klein) and we’ll use Hardiplank on top. SIPs and Standing Seam Metal Roofing over the top, naturally.

We’re leaning toward a “nautical” look, if that helps any…

Any suggestions?


Captain Kidless … almost…


Dear Captain,

First, never argue with a woman who waited 18 years for anything. Clearly she has patience. And, as revenge is a dish best served ice cold, you’ll never get any sleep again, wondering if “this is the day”… LOL!

Second, a LOT of kids come back home after college. It’s a sad Testament of the times. Jobs aren’t staying in America and Corporate America is tightening it’s belt and holding it’s breath.

I can tell that you’ve been paying  attention. Insulate OUTSIDE and you get maximum insulation performance, you gain space inside, you get a moisture and vapor barrier for free and you even add some structural integrity to that big metal box.

Don’t make me mention that you can’t  beat SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels)  and SSMR (Standing Seam Metal Roofing). Oops, I mentioned it. LOL!

When you decide on using this roof system, you get an easy to build, trussless (because unless you’re doing something bizarre a SIP roof of this size will support itself),  super-insulated roof system that you can not only build yourself, but one that requires little in the way of maintenance – for decades.

Find a 20′ High Cube. In most parts of America, it’s going to cost you about $100 a foot.

Adding it onto your existing homes isn’t all that difficult.  You can cast your own sonotube pilings and then “sister” it up to an existing exterior wall. You’ll find a reciprocating saw useful at this point… LOL!

(Yes, I’m over-simplifying this step. We can talk about it more later. It REALLY IS simple to butt an ISBU up against your house and then annex the new space.)

Today, however, we’ll address what you can do with that space, to make it workable for a kid past playing with Hot Wheels and Train sets.

Many readers of the blog know that I’m a huge fan of built-ins. Building in furniture actually makes sense as it not only defines space, but it reduces maintenance.

Those “damned Germans” have the right idea about this “organization” thing… they build “room systems” that literally fill one entire wall of a small room. Why? Because they are SMART, that’s why. This is ideal when defining ISBU spaces. We’re going to take a lesson from them.

Why are they “those damned Germans”? Well, it’s because I am constantly amazed at what they come up with. Some of the stuff is just brilliant. Or… perhaps it’s just Mercedes envy… LOL!

The image I’m showing you comes from the House of Berg. All I’d really do to change this is to reclaim the area under the little staircase and add a few more drawers. Look, why reinvent the wheel? They did it, it’s brilliant,  it’s good looking and even better “living”. Kudos to them.

Better still, you can build it yourself using basic hand tools…

Would I make any changes? Sure.

Recess a LCD TV into the closet at “bed’s end” and he’s got cable TV, and nobody fights over the remote.

Add a flip down table behind that bed and he can work in bed or have even have breakfast in bed…

For that matter, you could add a pull out table under the mattress area of the bed (like pulling out a recessed cutting board in the kitchen) with a drop down leg… and then he has a large work area when required.

Better still… I’d also consider installing a fold out table in that far hanging closet to allow your son a workplace for his laptop computer. A large but slender drop table could land on a pre-installed ledge on the opposite side of the container. To make it better, build a table with a leaf that folds out – to double the table depth.

Install a large sliding glass window in that side of the container to bring the outdoors in and brighten up the space and you have a very comfortable bedroom that has all the comforts of home without eating up a huge  amount of space.

Best of all, you can easily do this in a 20′ High Cube ISBU using really good materials, in most parts of America… for under $10 Grand.

Use recycled (read “found” or reclaimed materials) and you can reduce that construction budget even further.


One Response to “The Revenge of Captain Kidless’s WIFE…”

  1. Dan FitzGerald (@moto_dcf) November 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    The only though that occurs to me here, would be to make the unit as self-standing as possible so that your son can take it with him when he gets that elusive job and he will have a nice head start on home ownership.

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