How’s the air UP there?

28 Oct

Greetings, Campers!

We’re doing a lot of “Coastal” stuff lately. From Goleta to Galveston to  Gloucester, ISBU homes are literally “springing up”, seemingly right out of the ground. And what do these coastal “Corten Castles” have in common?

They all sit on stilts, up off  the ground.

Most people think “house on stilts” and they conjure up images like this:


Image Credit: Wall Street Journal – Home of the Day

Pretty cool, right? Well, if you have about 9 years and $11 million dollars, you too, can have housing like this in some “fairy tale paradise”!

Don’t get me wrong. I think this home is absolutely fabulous. I can easily picture it being built from Corten Containers. We designed and then helped build a similar home in France a few years back that looked out over acres and acres of vineyards. It’s spectacular (and even “zombie proof”). LOL!

But, homes like this aren’t the “norm”. They simply don’t fall into the definition of  “affordable build” for our families. The rest of us live on “Planet Earth” and we have different needs.

Many of you know that we’ve designed and built several ISBU homes that sit on pilings (stilts) up off the ground. This is particularly useful when you’re faced with things like flooding and heavy weather. I talk about building your pilings using concrete and rebar, cast inside cardboard Sonotube casings, all the time. Why?

Want a great view? LIFT that Corten House up off the ground!

Render by Rene Gonzales, AIA – Miami, FL

Want to improve your home safety by beefing up your security? Lift those steel boxes up off the ground!

Heck, you can even park your ride underneath!

My 1,600 square foot ISBU Studio on our “farm/ranch/cult/whatever…” 😉   will sit on concrete pilings 12 feet up off the ground, overlooking the river, deer, elk and my trout dinner (which if I can work out my roll casting, may be caught off my back deck!). And it WILL have a “retractable staircase” so that you can repel those pesky invaders… Amway Salesmen…. um… er… wait, that’s not it. Retracting the staircase at night will secure the home from any and all beneath it that want to do anything sneaky. It will also keep your kids from sneaking out in the middle of the night… unless they repel down from their bedroom windows… Hm… Maybe I need to build taller pilings! You know, like those fire towers we see in the mountains. Robe usually comes in 50′ lengths, right? So, I’ll make the pilings 60 feet.

Oh just stop it! I can hear you gasping. Kids are made outta rubber. They’ll probably BOUNCE that ten feet, easy… LOL!

Are you starting to see a pattern?

Pilings reduce the need for big thick foundations. Pilings get your home up out of the muck of winter and any errant acts of nature that Ma Earth tosses at you. Pilings get you increased views. Pilings add security to your home. Pilings deter unwanted guests.

2-4-6-8! What do we most fabricate? Pilings! Pilings! Yeah!

Around here, we like to “Let the Corten Fly!”

Well, according to a pal of mine, the message is getting sent to “places far-flung” too.

This single ISBU Container Home is being built, “high in the sky” on stilts… in India.


Image Credit:

Krupa Jhaveri is the guy letting the Corten Cat outta the bag!

I thought I’d let you know about this super sweet shipping container tiny house on stilts that’s being built right now in India. This is the first time I’ve seen a container cabin like this on stilts so since it’s so unique I got excited about sharing it with you. I’m always a fan of elevating structures a little bit not just for safety from floods, etc. but just for the sake of improving the view from the house as well as creating the opportunity to make an outdoor space that’s higher up than usual (like a balcony).


In India, they apparently use grills quite often instead of windows. The builder fabbed these himself and I just LOVE them! After seeing these, it’s really gotten my creative juices flowing!

Now, imagine this humble little Corten Cottage tucked back into the woods, or out by the lake, or sitting on a rural riverbank someplace. Imagine it with a “green roof” so you could go up and pick herbs and look for dinner (elk, deer, bison, rabbits…) at the same time!

More photos of this project in India are available for you to see here.

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