Archive | Commentary RSS feed for this section

Don’t Vote.

2 Nov

I repeat:

DO NOT VOTE.

Look, no one is paying you to participate.

There aren’t any “Voting Cops” that will come drag you out of your house if you don’t go stand in line at a polling place.

This isn’t China, or Russia, or even (gasp!) Canada! 😉

We don’t need your opinion! We’ll figure it all out, without you and your two cents.

I mean, hey…

We’re doing pretty good so far, right?

Everybody’s working.

Everyone has an affordable home and great, affordable utilities.

We all have great Health Care.

And the economy has never been stronger!

So… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s what Ronin always says…

Wait… um…

Okay, some stuff could be better, I suppose. But, if we just let things keep going, eventually, they’ll fix themselves, right? Or some really smart guy or even (gasp!) a girl… will come along and fix it for us.

Gawd knows, if you vote, you’re just gonna screw things up.

And then how would you feel? Huh?


So just sit there on your butt, like a bump on a stump, watching reruns on TV, and let someone else (who is obviously smarter and more enthusiastic than you about “things Democratic”) decide how you and your family are gonna live.

It’s okay. We don’t mind… It’s not like this is a republic, or anything…

Your one single, lonely, solitary vote couldn’t possibly make any difference anyway.

And it’s not like you’re all that smart, anyway. Heck, your kinfolk probably won’t even let you choose the brand of toilet paper they use…

Still sitting there?

GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND GO PULL A LEVER!

This has been brought to you by the letter “D” and “The Ronin Initiative”.

My apologies to Will Durst, whom I basically stole this post from. Okay, I didn’t steal it, I just did the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version thing to it…

Okay, I didn’t just hack his post, I said stuff. Important stuff. Sarcasm is important.

Don’t like it? Tough Noogies.  It’s my birthday tomorrow. I get to be sarcastic If I want to. Says Me.

If you want to read a good post… read his, in it’s entirety, here.

Remember: Vote or Die. Do it or I’m gonna send the Voting Cops to your house to kick your butt.

I know where you live. I trap IP addresses.

Muwahahah!

Image Credit to Daryll Cagle – Love his work!

Home Design and Responsibility

10 Jun

Here at RenaissanceRonin, we’ve talked a lot about how you design your home, using alternative materials. After all, it’s what we’re doing, as we build our home out of shipping containers (ISBU‘s), and recycled aircraft hangar components. We’re not doing this to be fashionable, or “particularly GREEN,” or even to make a name for ourselves. We just need a durable, sustainable home, that will provide for our needs, within our budget.

(Hey, if you’d been paying attention to the words in the posts, instead of all those pretty pictures, you’d know that! Right?) 😉

Speaking of “pretty pictures.” No progress on the “My use of images makes WordPress puke” situation. I’m still working on a fix. The pictures will return, I promise. Hey, if for no other reason than they fill up the page, and I don’t have to write as much! 🙂

After all, it’s not just about saving money, it’s about creating a space to live in, that will provide for your needs.

And, that implies a lot of responsibility. Moral Responsibility.

No, I’m not talking about trying to make sure that you please the Baptists down the street! I’m talking about looking at every side of home design, while you busily fill those wishbook pages that will lead you to your design.

Again… I have nothing against Baptists. I’m just surrounded by them, and we like to “brother-lovingly” poke each other in the eye… Call it “theological differences…”  I don’t know WHY they keep telling me that “I’m going to HELL.” 🙂

Your responsibility for protecting and sheltering your family has to be weighed against more than fire, or a building horror like a collapse, or a catastrophic natural event. There is a huge body of research that defines the intimate relationship between homes and human behavior.  After all, you’re creating an environment that your tribe will live within, right?

But how do you do this? It’s hard enough trying to figure out which stick goes into what slot, without having somebody suggest that you have to go find a “house psychiatrist” to help you plan out your space. I mean, I’ve heard of “horse whisperers,” and “dog whisperers,” and even “gossip-mongers…” But, I’ve never heard of a “house whisperer.” Hey! That might make a cool reality show on cable, huh?

“Well sir, your home says that traipsing around the house in your tighty-whiteys with your “crack” hangin out like some overweight plumber, makes it’s windows shiver… So, just stop it, huh?” 🙂

Think about things like “sanitary surfaces, and safety.” Where you actually live has a lot to do with which materials you use. If you live in a place where there is a lot of humidity and mold, you probably don’t want porous surfaces all over the place that you’ll have to maintain. If you live in a hot environment, you probably don’t want cinder-block construction, or low ceiling heights that will trap the heat down into your “living zones.” Think about railings on staircases, and stair tread height/depth, and access to important rooms like the bathroom!

I was watching a cable show today about “beautiful houses.” And, although some of them were just fabulous, I was reminded that some of us tend to think of our homes as “beautiful objects” and not really places for human interaction and participation. It’s really not surprising that we see so many photographs in the media of beautiful spaces that don’t have people in them. The spaces that are created just don’t compliment humans.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to live in a museum, or an aquarium. I want to live in a calm, soothing environment that takes care of me, with as little input as possible. After all, I have TV to watch and frosty cold beverages to consume!

(Preferably in a soundproof room that my wife doesn’t know about, okay? She can conjure up a “honey-do list” that would make Bob Vila or those “This Old House” guys commit suicide in about three seconds flat!) 🙂

Here’s the deal. Good home design begins with great discussions. Talk to your family about their wants and their goals for your new house. Think about ways to streamline the maintenance, using good design as a fulcrum. Think about ways to eliminate obstacles and hazards. You can still have a great looking home, that looks like people actually live in it! You just have to think it through!

You’ve got to figure out what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t. And that will add a whole page of questions to your design list. If you don’t heed them, there isn’t any way you’re going to improve your design.

And, those unanswered questions will be a failure to your family (and their comfort and safety), later.

Enough for now, I just heard my wife, and I haven’t finished cleaning up the huge mess that “the kid” made! How does he DO that? Oy Vey!  🙂

If I only had a soundproof room… :p

Stay tuned!

Using ISBUs to build “Instant Homes…”

6 Jun

As many of you know, my family is fighting it’s way through the powers that be, trying to gain enough momentum to get a house erected that will keep us safe  and protected from the elements.

I suppose it would be easier to just give in to pressure, and build a house out of sticks, or even blocks. But, we’ve never been ones to follow everybody else around like “lost sheep,” and we’re not afraid to stick our necks out if we think it’s for the “greater good.”

You see, many people just can’t get “housing loans.” The economy and the housing shortage have made it almost impossible for many families in America to do anything but try to meet the rent each month, knowing that at the end of the year, they’ll have nothing to show for it but the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve paid their rental unit’s mortgage for the owners.

There has to be another road, and frankly, we’re looking for it.

Most of you know that I’m a big advocate of using Shipping Containers  (ISBU’s) as structure, just like a kid uses those plastic  building blocks. These steel boxes are incredibly durable, they’re plentiful, and given careful planning, they can be warm and cozy shelters in even the most severe weather conditions.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the concept of “modular construction” lately. The easiest way to build anything, is to break it down into smaller parts, and build it out of sub-assemblies. So, just think of these boxes as components, and then think about how you can “pre-fabricate” them, before you use a crane (or other muscle) to set them into place on your foundation.

And that foundation doesn’t have to be real complicated, either. Containers can be set on pilings to get them up off the ground. Pouring those support pilings using cardboard tubes,  concrete and rebar can be pretty inexpensive, compared to massive grading efforts, and complicated footings.

(2) 40′ High Cube ISBU’s can be turned into two nice sized bedrooms with a shared bathroom, quite easily. Just lay them side by side, and take the center sections out. You’ve got decent room runs, and a nice 9′ ceiling height, with ease. The containers will get welded together along the center seam (top, sides, and bottom) and you’ll have some bearing walls in the middle, to help support the roof load, so don’t worry about the span, for now.

If you were to take (2) of these bedroom assemblies, and set them a little bit apart on 24″ pilings placed about 10′ on center…

And by spanning the “gap” between them with 16′ floor joists to connect the sides together, you’re essentially creating a house with a crawlspace underneath it. Guess how you’re gonna insulate the underside of that house? You’re gonna crawl under there and spray it with the same close-celled foam that most of the commercial industry has been using for years. At r7 per inch, it isn’t going to take much of it, to insure that your floor stays warm.

Plus, you’re gonna get a nice “stepped” entry deck both front and rear, to access the house and the back yard.

Think about ways you can build these “sub-assemblies,” and then place them together, using a roof to span the gap between them. Think about the angles that they can be “splayed” in, to create “great rooms” with a narrower, more cozy room at the rear.

Or, just take (2) of these sub-assemblies, and lay them parallel to each other, about 16 feet apart. Guess what? You’ve just built a 1,920 square foot four bedroom/ 2 bath  house, for pennies on the dollar. The gap between them can be filled in with conventional floor joists, and the ceiling, built out of SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panels) will give you enough warmth to get you through the coldest of winters.

And here’s the fun part. You can go from a basically vacant lot, to that almost 2,000 square foot house, in a week. (Wanna freak out the neighbors? Wait until they go on vacation to build. When they leave, it’ll be a vacant lot, and when they return… It’ll be a 2,000 square foot Corten Monument, complete with a landscaped front yard!)

Sure, you can  spend about 3 months getting the “pre-fabbed” parts assembled, but once you’ve got them the way you want them, that crane will make short work of them. And because your “pre-fabbed” assemblies are built out of units 8′ wide, they can be easily trucked to your site on a flatbed trailer. I’ve delivered my “doctored boxes” to the jobsite using a big Dodge pickup (a 1 ton diesel duelie) and a flatbed, several times.

So, you can do the “fitting out” part anywhere you like. No tractor trailer required, no muss, no fuss. And best of all, no massive, heart stopping shipping and delivery bills!

That center “bowling alley” you’ve “floorjoisted” into existence will house your living room, kitchen and dining room. Remember that 40′ can go a long way.  Most people would kill for a 20′ x 16′ Living/Family Room.  Put your kitchen in the center, and your dining room right behind it, and you end up with some pretty decent spaces, with all your plumbing in one “corridor” right through the middle of the house.

Or, here’s my favorite configuration; Move your kitchen all the way to the rear of the great room, in a big “L-Shape” with an island. Now, you have a Living Room/Dining Room combination that flows like the Nile, and a bright and airy kitchen to work in, too! Plus, you’re right there by the back doors, and that terrific deck looking out at the neighbor’s brats taunting your dog! 🙂

Another benefit to using shipping containers as components is that you’re already “weathered in.” No matter how wet or windy it gets outside, you’re inside, safe and warm as you build.

Granted, this is just a very brief overview of a small ISBU house project, but I can tell you from experience that you can build it yourself, using basic hand-tools, on weekends, and summer vacations. How do I know this? Because I’ve done it myself (with some help, of course), more than once.

The home that my family is presently planning to build follows this same “concept plan.” Now whether it gets built in Mississippi, or someplace else, it’s a house constructed out of pre-fabbed “ISBU wings,” connected by a small “aircraft hangar” to form a larger version of what I’ve just described. It’s similar to some of the container homes that you’ve seen on the Internet, with a few “Jew-Fu”  tricks thrown in, just to make the Planning and Zoning guys crazy… 🙂

And no… we’re not gonna leave much of the containers exposed to the elements. Our insulation is going on the OUTSIDE of the house, and then it will be covered by wood siding. We’re gonna leave a spot or two visible, so that people will be able to see it’s “origins,” but it’ll be tasteful, and more an “art statement” than an “in your face” jab.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll start laying it out for you, so you can see just how simple this construction process can be, if you use good design and good components.

Stay tuned.

FYI: For some reason beyond my understanding, I’m having trouble with WordPress.  It’s not letting me attach images to my posts, without crashing my computer. So, as soon as I figure out what ‘s wrong, and get the problem remedied I’ll attach drawings, photos and diagrams to this series of posts, so that you can actually “see” how it goes together to form a house.  I’ll post a “fixed” statement as soon as possible.

Make a new plan, Stan!

3 Jun

Okay, so it’s that time of year again!

I’m sitting at my desk, toiling and sweating over a new set of plans for our “Shipping Container House,” and my wife asks me what I want for “Fathers Day…” So, after about 35 seconds of thought (and a pretty cool “daydream” that I can’t repeat here because it’s “a family show,” albeit “dysfunctional” after all… 🙂 )  I just rattled off the same old list that I’ve been recycling in my brain, seemingly forever… since I didn’t get them last year!

I want these things, in no particular order;

Now, most Dad’s would ask for “world peace” (like that’s EVER gonna happen) a healthy kid (if this kid doesn’t stop eating soon, Mississippi will collapse in on the empty cavity that he creates), a bright sunny day spent with my family (have you MET my family? I’d rather spend the day with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s family in a sandstorm), and a happy home (that doesn’t resemble a penitentiary or an insane asylum).

I can see it now;

Special News Flash! Mississippi, experiencing a cavernous emptying that reminds us of the chaotic mass migration out of the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina, fell in on itself today, only to be reclaimed by the Gulf Of Mexico. The roar of the tidal flow back into the swampland that is… um… was Mississippi was only rivaled by the ear-shattering belch that emanated from somewhere close to the hole’s epicenter, located near Biloxi.”

And I bet they’ll blame ME for that, too! 🙂

But… back to reality… I haven’t got a home. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that, right? 🙂

You have been paying attention, right?

HELLO? Anybody there? Did I lose you already? 🙂

Okay, that’s it. No more pretty pictures for you to ogle over, until you start reading the words! 🙂

Here’s what I want for Father’s Day;

I want chores. Lot’s of chores. You know, stuff like “will you just wash the [expletive deleted] windows? We haven’t seen the driveway since December!”

I want a yard filled with crabgrass, weeds, and the neighbor’s dogs poop.

I wanna replace broken windows that the rotten kids down the street broke, because they think that being Jewish means I’m some kind of “cult member.”

FYI: Despite rumblings on the Internet, I am NOT a cult member. I’m just “charming and charismatic.” 🙂

I want a pool filter plugged to the top with debris, old socks, and girls bathing suits. (Don’t ask!) 🙂

I want to unplug toilets because my son has learned the phrases; “Bye-bye!” and “All Gone!” And… he’s learned how to use them in the same sentence!:)

I want to mourn my cell phone and my wristwatch, that my son has just “buried at sea,” with a tiny-voiced little chorus of “London bridge is going down, with daddy’s cell phone…” WHOOSH!

I want to toil away in 90 degree heat, risking heat stroke and death, to hang off a ladder unclogging gutters.

I want to “mow the minefield,” being careful to avoid the munitions and obstacles. You know, like my son’s “Hot Wheels,” the neighbor’s dogs contribution to my yard’s fertilization, and the Claymores that we so carefully placed, to slow down the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Amway/Mary Kay Salesmen that beat a path to your door…

And before you start, I have nothing against Jehovah’s Witnesses. Anybody who takes time out of their weekend to deliver newsletters and pamphlets about Jimi Hendrix is okay in my book…

That IS what “The Watchtower” is all about, right? 🙂

But Amway and Mary Kay salesmen… um…er… persons… Now, there oughta be a special place in hell for those nuts! Whenever they show up here, I ask them if they have any special “designer” creams for bedsores and hemorrhoids, that’s edible.

Why? Because we all know that “healing starts from within.” I learned that watching a recent Obama speech.

And… “I’d prefer Berry flavored, thank you very much…” 🙂

I want to work tirelessly on a weekend (or perhaps even several, if I survive it), to use power tools that no idiot should have ever placed within my reach, to build my son a treehouse, so that he can climb up there and scream “Death from ABOVE!!!” while he hurls empty snack containers and empty fruit juice cartons at us.

I’m thinking that you get the gist of this post. I want a HOME. A real live, built outta steel house that will keep us warm/cool and dry, and keep the nuts from getting in and messing up the furniture.

I want a place that my son can play in as he grows up in this country, that will allow him to be healthy and safe and provide for his needs. I want a place where my wife can recover from her illness and look forward to each new day, instead of feeling the stress I radiate while “I fight City Hall,” trying to get us to a safe place.

Hell, right about now, I’d settle for “40 acres and a mule.” At least it’d be a start in the right direction.

I gotta make a new plan.

Stay tuned.

So you want to build a house…

1 Jun

As you know, my family is building our own house out of shipping containers (ISBU’s), if the idiots in Jackson  will just get the hell out of the way.  But, you probably already know that, right?

It’s a long hard fight, because we’re not building a “traditional house out of straw, or sticks, or even bricks…”

And it seems that the “Big Bad Wolf” (aka: the local authorities and the knuckleheads at the State Capital) are trying to “huff and puff and blow our house down” faster than we can get it built up.

Will that finally stop us? No. We’ll just get a bigger can of “Wolf Repellent” and administer doses liberally, until we accomplish our goals. Now “Wolf repellent” comes in several different varieties, but so far, the one that seems to be the most effective is the “strutting all the facts out in public and then using them as a hammer” brand. Liberal sprinklings of “veiled threats to use the media and your voting record” seem to help as well, as supplements. So, the fight continues.

The sad thing is that the path we’ve chosen (albeit different from most) still puts a family in an affordable, durable house, that is sustainable and efficient. And for the life of me, I can’t get the powers that be, to recognize that fact.

It’s frustrating to the point of “tears and medication” at times, but if we’re going to help other families like ours get back into homes, we have to prove it can be done, in spite of what sometimes seems like overwhelming odds. So, we get up each morning, say our prayers, and look to the new day, to see what develops.

And, that brings me to the topic today.

Once you’ve determined that you’re going to build your own home, how do you actually do it?

Now, I’m not talking about putting “stick (A) into slot (B)” and then repeating that until you have a house. I’m talking about how you actually afford to have people in your employ, to assist you in building your dream home.

As the economy crumbles, and as more and more people end up on the unemployment line, I’m curious as to whether some of the assistance money programmed into the “stimulus package” can actually help you build that house.

Sure, most of the money is aimed at Big Business. But, some of it will manage to trickle down to us “little guys” at the bottom of the feed chain. And it might even do it in the form of Tax Incentives and Tax Credits, if we do it right.

This stream of thought started when I picked up a copy of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009. It expands tax credits for hiring new workers. You know, guys and gals from groups like the disabled, people on public assistance, and even (gasp!) veterans.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s a pretty narrow stream, huh? But despite what you’ve heard, Jews can swim… We can even walk on water… Well, some of us can. 🙂

Okay, okay… Here’s the gist of my rant today; Those tax credits are only for businesses, right? Well, what if, while acting as your own General Contractor, you actually established a business that employed your help? There’s a really thin line painted here, that looks like it might enable “the common man” to basically start a company that just supplied “independent contractor” labor to be supervised by licensed tradesmen, and in doing so, be entitled to this tax credit.

Now, you want your guys and gals to be independent contractors, for several reasons. First, independent contractors aren’t subject to payroll taxes. Second, you don’t have to include (or even establish for that matter) fringe benefit programs like health insurance or retirement plans.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Here’s the guts of it;

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) will actually benefit “labor employers” that hire people from 9 targeted “groups,” with a tax credit equal to 40% of qualified first-year wages. This includes different amounts for qualified vets or teen summer hires. The only real hitch seems to be that they must work at least 120 hours for the wages to qualify.

I’m curious as to whether or not you can find a way to make this work for  you, as a homebuilder.  I’m going to investigate this further, and see if I can find a way to put some of those “Stimulus Dollars” in your pocket.

And I’m going to take a hard look at other ways to become eligible for those Stimulus dollars, as we build our Corten Castle. After all, if Wall Street and the car companies can benefit from federal handouts, I’m pretty sure that as a taxpayer, I should be entitled too. It’s my kids (and yours) who will be paying off this monumental debt.

Stay tuned.

Jackson and “Jacked Up.”

28 May

Okay, so I took a few days off…

It’s been “pretty difficult” around here lately (in fact, on a one to ten, it’s been an “eight”). The “Mommy” is slowly recovering (“Mommy” recently had a stroke), and Joshua, astutely sensing a momentary change in the balance of power, has taken the opportunity to wage a full frontal assault, and try to make the “Daddy” crazy…um… er… crazier. This is a pretty simple task lately, as Daddy has had his hands full… Oy Vey, have I had my hands full…

Beyond that, due to difficulties beyond my control my appearance at a “meeting of the mind” (singular) in Jackson, was accomplished “by notarized document/statement, read aloud by some unfortunate lackey who will have to bear the scars of having my words rattle around in their brain until the cows come home.”

I say “mind,” because after participating in several of these “Jacksonian jousts,” I’m convinced that there is only one sane person in “Jackson Authority,” and they just pass the brain around, at random.

I’m told that my statement was either well received, or thrown in a well (I’m not sure which), as the phone line that connected us was garbled.

It was just basically the same old “Ronin Rant.”

Get off your dead asses, and do your jobs! Families need homes. YOU need constituents.  The STATE needs to generate tax dollars HONESTLY! Families without homes don’t pay property taxes, and they sure don’t vote in your favor, come election day! We’ll remember that you didn’t give a damn, and then… we won’t either. I promise. Capish?”

For those of you keeping track, this was just another gyration, as the politicians in Jackson strive to drag this whole set of events out as long as possible, so that the people they are answering to either (a) drop dead from exhaustion, or (b) become so senile that they forget why they’re so pissed off.

The issue is whether or not to actually “release” the grant parcels to the families that qualified for them, MONTHS ago. I suspect that the truth of the matter is that they’re still trying to figure out how to make more money off the “re-urbanization” program. This program isn’t costing Mississippi a dime, folks. Not one penny! You see, the Fed has compensated Mississippi for the “land” that is being parceled out, but like most politicians, when the miscreants in Jackson smell money, they do just about everything they can to figure out how they can get their grubby little paws on more of it.

I’d remind them that “there isn’t anything honorable or even remotely responsible in standing between families that need homes, and the property that will make it possible.”

It’s ridiculous really. They complain that their tax bases are dying slowly on the vine and that people are leaving Mississippi for “greener pastures.” Then, they actually demonstrate WHY people are leaving, yet they fail to recognize it. Talk about “being detached and living in a fantasy.”

Attention, self-serving politicians; We will not forget, or go away. (In fact, some of us CAN’T, or we would have… as we’re really sick and tired of your greediness and irresponsibility.) Do your jobs, serve your constituents “honorably and responsibly,” or come next election, I promise you that you’ll be looking for work. (Good luck with that, by the way… as you idiots also killed off most of the jobs!) People like me are going to hold you accountable for your lack of action, and we’ll be more than happy to remind voters what miserable bastards you were, when we actually needed you to do your jobs, for once. I’m taking careful notes, and keeping a list of names. And, I have no problem being one of those who help fan the winds of change.

For example: The Internet is a powerful stick, and I’ll make sure that I beat you on the head with it, for all to see. Think about it for a minute, huh? I’m an “ex-military father/husband, with a dying wife and a baby child, who lost our (completely paid for) home to a greedy insurance company (who bought and paid for) a bunch of greedy politicians who just didn’t give a crap about anything but THEIR own power-mongering, “foreign-soil” junkets (and I’m not talking about ALABAMA), and excessive lifestyles.”

You really don’t want that, do you? Let me assure you… You REALLY don’t want that. I can spell “RECALL.” And, I know what it means, too.

That said, let’s talk about something more pleasant, huh?

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a home built, using containers as the primary structure. Unless you’re living under a rock, you already know that.

And as my own build is hopelessly mired in “red tape,” I’m currently involved in helping other families build their ISBU homes Some surprising developments have given me hope that soon, despite the procrastination of Jackson’s “finest,” we’ll be building our own “Corten Castle” soon. It may NOT be in Mississippi, but it’s going to get built.

We’ll talk more about that later.

Anyway, I’ve been asked a series of questions lately, that I found so intriguing, I’m going to post them here, and see if I can get a few of you to comment. And, to be accurate, lately the most interesting inquiries aren’t so much “questions,” as “ponderings,” about the combination of structures, essentially combining different types of alternative construction together, to form “habitats.” I’m frankly enjoying this, because it means that some of you guys and gals are truly thinking out of the box, while trying to use one.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

Lately, I’ve been quietly working on a new ISBU project in New Mexico. The family involved isn’t building “in crisis,” or anything like that. They’re actually dedicating their own funds to this build, “simply to prove it can be done.” The home will be a vacation retreat, but it’s large enough that they could live there full time, if they choose to, later on. If I had to categorize it, I’d call it a “bug-out” build. It’s a place to run to, if things get stupid, or you just need to get out of town. I can completely relate to this mindset.

They’re using (3) 40′ HQ ISBUs to build a 24’x40′ box. It’s multi-level, with one ISBU level on what is essentially an elevated and insulated slab, that will hold all the mechanical and service elements of the home. The kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and mechanical room for the A/C and Hot water Heater is in the boxes. Also included in this level are the garage (2 car) and a small workshop. This entire level will be “earth-bermed,” in a manner that will make it similar to the “earthships” popular in the area. A greenhouse will occupy most of the south facing exterior.

Try as I might, the people building just aren’t interested in solar anything, including hot water, geothermal A/C or photovoltaics. Whaaa?

Okay, so there’s ONE solar panel, and it’s mounted on a pump system on a water tank.

Wait, it gets better! You know WHY they aren’t interested in using a bucket full of those “green” elements? It’s because they have their own “fast running” creek/stream/river, that never dries up or freezes over, and the guy building the home is an electrical engineer who has developed a hydroelectric turbine that will fit into a pipe. Big deal, right? Wrong. HUGE damned deal!!!

It’s only a 12” pipe!

And, this little beauty of a turbine will produce enough power to run just about anything he wants to plug in, forever. And to prove it, he’s gonna make it the SOLE source of power, for his home.

(The singular solar panel is used to power a pump that will help him move water to another parcel for irrigation of a “survival” garden. It was pre-existing.)

His “power-pipe system” runs out of the river, and then back into it.

A singular power source from water pressure. Talk about “guts!” If I tried to do that, I’d wake up dead in the morning, with my wife laughing over my carcass! 🙂

So, As I learn more about this little gem of a powerplant, I’ll fill you in, too! Suffice to say, I want one! I can picture this placed between cisterns filled by a well (which is operated by solar power). I have a few really big pieces of culvert pipe that are just begging to be used in a “power by water” experiment. If you filled a rather large primary tank, and then used an outlet pipe to fill a secondary one (and placed one of these little powerplants in that outlet pipe between them…) you’d get hydroelectric power from the water pressure that flowed thru it…

I’m not sure it’d work, because you’d have to keep that first tank filled to get enough pressure (in a constant flow), but I can see it in my head. However, my wife reminds me that “I see a lot of things in my head, most of them unrepeatable, unprintable, or felonious.” 🙂

Okay, I admit it. I get all caught up in this “grant property polka” currently going on in Jackson, and I want to go “postal.” Deal with it. 🙂

Here’s where his build is REALLY different. He’s gonna build his bedrooms and common areas into a dome built ON TOP of the containers. The dome will be 24′ feet in diameter and about 20′ high. It will be built entirely of SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panels) and glass. A winding “freeform” staircase will allow access from level to level, with an ”open overlap loft” plan that will allow you to stand on the main level and look up, to see the top of the dome.

This isn’t such a bad idea. He gets a stable base to build on, lots of room for his “hard stuff” (plumbing, electromechanical requirements, etc…) and really bright and airy creative spaces for his comfort zones.

What other ways can you think of to combine different type of alternative homes together, to form a “super” alternative home?

The Renaissance RoninDo You Enjoy Our Articles and Features? Are you interested in helping a family that is helping others get back on THEIR feet? We could sure use the help, honest! Please Consider Making a Small, Secure Donation! Use our Paypal button!

Thank You.

23 May

memorial_day_rrMemorial Day, which was originally called “Decoration Day,” is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

But where did it come from?

Although dozens of cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, my favorite attribution is the evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication;

“To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead”

(Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920)

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in General Order No. 11. It was first observed on May 30th, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

But it saddens me that when you ask people what they’re going to do on Memorial Day lately, it seems like it’s just turned into another opportunity for “Beer and BBQ,” or an automobile “Blow-out” at the local car lot.

The traditional observance of Memorial day has decayed over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and even the traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, and even neglected.

Thankfully, where I live (in this part of the South), this is not the case. At the Biloxi National Cemetery, it reminds me of growing up in Orange County, CA (a farming community when I was young), it almost looks like hundreds of fieldworkers picking produce, as legions of citizens place flags and flowers on the graves that cover the vast repository of our fallen. But this attending to graves, albeit touching, isn’t quite accurate either.

You see, most people don’t remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. And, some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

Memorial Day is specifically placed, a day to honor those paid the ultimate price and gave all, in the service of our country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address:

“Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

“To all that have fallen…
Mothers, Fathers, Sister and Brothers…
We grieve as you are sorely missed.
Until we are all reunited,
May you rest peacefully in G_d’s arms.”

The Renaissance RoninG_d bless you all! Amen.

Another Container Home hits the street!

11 May

Recently, I was contacted by “The Divine Miss M’s” designer (you remember HER, right?)… 🙂

Michael Mardis (of Workshop308.com) asked me to post pictures of ISBU houses I’ve participated in building, because he wanted to know “what I thought an ISBU house should look like…”

Now, I suspect that he’s pissed that I “took issue” with one of his clients, or he might have thought that I had problems with his design of her house. Who knows? Maybe he’s just curious…

Nothing I ever said would lead you to believe that I was “slighting” him, but hey, I’m game.

(The emphasis  here [color, et all] is mine, added to make reading the blog easier.) Like that could actually happen! 🙂

Here’s what I told him;

Are you under the impression that I have issues with the design of the house?

The issues I have (and always had), is the negativity perceived by authorities who were influenced by the actions of the owner, due to the “rampant publicity and theatrics.”

And there is NO set way for an ISBU home to “look.” The beauty of an  ISBU house is that it can look like “anything.” It’s a box, for cryin’ out loud!

Side it, brick it, veneer it, stucco it, or leave it “industrial,” it’s just a steel starting point to house a family.

Gable roof, shed roof, Cape Cod,  Salt Box, or Clerestory, you name  it… You can wrap a Corten box any way you want.

Now, my personal house is hopelessly mired in Mississippi Politics, and we’re fighting it out at the legislature level again… but…

I’ve posted photos (and drawings) of old projects, and I have three more solidly in development now.  Stay tuned, and you can watch,  just like everybody else. 🙂

And as to “what I think a container house should look like”; I’ll point  out that all three of “mine” (in the role of “consultant,” as I’m helping the owners”) currently under development are different (animals of a different color).

One is a clerestory roofed (SIPs) hardieplank “single story with loft” assemblage of boxes.

One is a three story multiple “stack” design (24×40 on each floor) and  it gets glass and stucco. It’ll look “Spanish Modern.”

The third is a 2 story contemporary (24×40 – main, 16×40 – second) that get’s brick and siding.

(Note to readers: There is a fourth, that uses 53′ monster boxes, but we’re still all caught up in the multiple wants/needs…  “OMG, what do we do now? mode…  So, we won’t count that one… yet.) 🙂

Again, I have no issues with design (“M’s” House), it’s owner impact I’m concerned with. Agree or disagree, if people come away from a project carrying a grudge, it makes it harder for the next guy.

All I want is to see families in homes. Period. Anyone that chooses to side against me, is going to have their hands full. In part, that’s why I’m speaking to politicians in Jackson so often.

In fact, I’m headed back to Jackson the week of the 18th (yep, once more… they moved the meeting date) to go “bare knuckles” with the “backwater bozos” again.  It’s about releasing the land that was acquired by grant, to allow the build to begin, for those of you following along.

And, he asked me to check out another container build in Kansas City, MO, being completed by the Glassberg family.

So, I did. And here’s the result of THAT query;

Michael,

Thanks for your input. And, I checked out the Kansas City build:

I don’t expect you to read all this, I’m sure you’re too busy, but here goes;

About the Glassberg Container House in Kansas City, MO;

glassberg-container-house

Overall, I’m siding with most of the comments. There are valid points  being made.

As to the house, by itself,  here’s the deal;

Although the Glassberg house is a “designer house,” (more on that later) it’s a “stack and pack,” and that’s not bad. I actually like the more “industrial” look of ISBU’s, but it’s hard to shoehorn that look into an existing neighborhood, sometimes.

glassberg3

FYI to my readers: As the result of a “salvage gift,” I’m currently playing with the idea of using 10′ sections of salvaged highway drainage culvert as “pillars” to “float” ISBUs on top of, up out of the flood plain. They’re big enough inside to allow the installation of spiral staircases from grade, and (accessed) at grade they can also be used as “storage vaults.” It’s possible that we’ll tie them together with masonry or concrete walls, to form an enclosed garage/shop.

The Glassberg’s state a price of $115 a foot to build ($300k budget for 2,600 sq ft), and that’s not bad for a custom “designer” home, but I’ll point out that you can build a container house (or even a conventional stick house) with much less money. This $300k build is well beyond the reach of the majority of families looking at ISBUs for construction projects.

glassberg2

2,600 square feet. Hmmm… Not exactly a “zero-carbon footprint” but I’m the last person to harp on somebody else’s need for space. I just say build as responsibly and as sustainably as you can.

Designing the containers as modules, so that you could disassemble the house and move it again is a concept I preach to potential ISBU builders. I have one in NC right now, where the ability to move it again later is a confirmed part of the integral design.

glassberg5Like many of the comments… It grieves me to see that she actually went to China three different times to supervise the construction of her  “designer” containers, when there are plenty of them sitting right here, waiting for new owners.

I suspect that she spent enough airfare to buy several containers (and possibly an extra one or two), if she’d bought ISBUs here. The average business class fare to China ran about $1,800 bucks in her travel timeframe (if I’m understanding the article correctly)… times three…  divided by 40’s…

glassberg4

I’m wondering where ELSE the actual differences in their construction lies (aside from height), compared to “standard” ISBUs… They may be built to “stronger spec’s” for example. I’m sure they had their reasons, but from our  more “grass roots” perspective here on “RR,” we can’t duplicate it.

I’ve got a few (3) 53′ boxes sitting here that are almost 9’2″ (110 inches) tall on the inside.

(2) of these are headed to an Indian family on a reservation near here for a “clerestory” SIP roof build. We’ll frame in a “spacer” between the containers, out of scrap steel from an aircraft hanger demo.”

Almost 1,700 sq ft, plus huge 16’x24′ “sleeping lofts” on both ends…

(2) 8’x16′ (approx) upstairs decks off lofts, separated by an 8’x21′ (approx) greenhouse. Clerestory windows over. We’ll see over 2,400 sq ft of living space.

Oh yeah, the house sits on a masonry main floor box (32’x32′  approx. of garages and shop) cantilevered off each end), to get it up out of the flood plain.

(BTW: As to “carbon footprint,” it’s a multi-generation family of 10, plus relatives 4 months a year.)

And this build will come in just under $75 a foot (not counting sleeping lofts, or glazing for the greenhouse). We have a $125,000 budget.

And there are thousands of 53′ boxes here in the States, sitting idle. They ARE available, if you dig thru channels to find them.

(I prefer the 40 HQ’s… these behemoths were a “gift.”)

Although I love the idea of  the G;assberg’s 12′ ceilings, they’re not really ISBUs any longer. It’s like saying that the Verbus Systems boxes that Travelodge built that hotel out of are ISBU’s.  Although they are containers, they’re 12′ wide. Hardly shippable, stackable, or even usable in conventional shipping. They’re only good for one thing. Building. I don’t count them or their use, as real “Container Projects” except in “theory.”


glassberg6

They (Travelodge) could’ve just as easily designed rooms using (2) 8’rs… They had their reasons, Verbus used that build as part of “proof of concept” and gave them a huge discount…

The Glassberg “green roof” is something I incorporate every time I can. If for no other reason, most of these builds seem to be near or off grid, and it gets the garden up and away from the critters. It’s also a great place for a greenhouse.

It doesn’t add a ton of insulation value, as dirt isn’t that great for r-value, unless you have several feet of it used as “isolation.”

I love how they left the influence of the tree. “Nature play,” and whimsy rule, when it comes to these homes. They can be quite charming.

glassberg7

The press impression that the Glassberg house is “one of the few container houses in the United States” just drives home my point about “media ignorance.” There are hundreds, if not a thousand. At one point (back in the late 1990’s), I had a listing of over 400.

glassberg8

I (sure) can’t fault their (the Glassberg’s) philosophy about the impact that ISBUs could have. I’ve long been an advocate for FEMA use of ISBUs to build emergency shelter. They could build them in factories, just like travel trailers. The “tech” is already there. And, when not needed as “Disaster Shelter,” they’d stack back up for storage, just like they do now at shipping ports. Plus, they’d be secure, and last forever…

The Glassberg’s house will use eco-friendly technologies, including sugar beet foam insulation, geothermal heating and cooling, bamboo flooring, tankless water heaters and LED lighting.

First… LED lighting is great, but it’s still way too expensive for most people to embrace. I’m waiting for that day too, because it will be a huge boon to people living “off-grid.” I’m envious. Truly!

Bamboo flooring? Probably after market, too. But, did you know that standard containers can be found with bamboo flooring already in them? Bamboo is good, though. I can’t complain about the use of that.

Sugar beet foam insulation? Makes a “green” statement, I suppose, but too expensive, not commonly available yet, and out of most individual’s price ranges.  I wonder how “dense” it gets, and how insects and critters like it? I’m seeing a lot of conflicting reports from manufacturers. I’d use rigid PolyIso or spray foam (closed cell).

While not “green” in the traditional sense, it’s an affordable, reliable and durable alternative, that gives “green” (energy savings) benefits over batts of fiberglass.

Geothermal heating and cooling is something I already incorporate into my designs. It just makes sense.

Tankless water heaters? Nope! It’s too hard on PV arrays! I opt for high-efficiency solar hot water systems. I also “warm” my slabs to get radiant heat that way. But, remember, most of my builds are “near or off grid.”

I didn’t see anything about water retention, or grey water usage, or… ah… never mind.

“A Kansas City Art Institute student is designing rain-barrel benches.”

I wonder if that’s “rain Barrels that become benches,” or “benches that act as rain barrels?” Hmmm… Give’s me an idea!

glassberg9Anyway,

For what it’s worth (probly’ about .25 cents) that’s my take on this project. I envy the Glassberg’s and their new “designer” abode, and I hope that it serves them (and the terrific community that embraced them) well, for decades to come!   I’m sure that we’ll see it on Cable TV DIY and Home & Gardens type networks! It’s a good looking beast.  🙂

There you have it. Another “Ronin Says” look at an ongoing “Project of Merit!”

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance RoninPhoto Credits for Glassberg house: ALLISON LONG! I think that she’s a staff photographer for KansasCity.com. If not, I’ll be more than happy to issue a “correction.”

Do You Enjoy Our Articles and Features? Are you interested in helping a family that is helping others get back on THEIR feet? We could sure use the help, honest! Please Consider Making a Small, Secure Donation! Use our Paypal button!

Pipe Dreams

1 May

Once upon a time…

As you no doubt know by now, my family is building a new home out of shipping containers, and other cast-off stuff. (I suppose the first clue was that blue box up there in the banner, huh?) 🙂

It’s a tale told with turmoil, torment, treachery, and even some triumphs, and we’re not through yet!  Along the way, we’ve picked up a few stragglers, and even managed to help some folks start building their homes, and get their feet planted firmly on the ground again. THAT is what this blog is all about. We want to help all of you, every single one! Why? Because we’re givers!

Actually, it’s probably because misery loves company, and it’s kinda lonely sometimes!  I mean, really… If we’re laughing at you, we’re not crying at “us!” 🙂

And trust me when I tell you that sometimes we’re not laughing “with” you, we are indeed laughing “at” you. You know who you are! 🙂

I received an email from a contractor that saw a little blurb I did, about building a “Roman Crane” out of a 20′ shipping container, a flatbed trailer, a couple of scrap hydraulic cylinders, and some scrap steel beams that we’d gotten from an aircraft hangar demolition.

Well, I dug out the original drawings, and even the detail photographs, and sent them off to him with a hearty “Good Luck… You’re gonna need it.”

Now, this contractor expressed his gratitude, and he swore up and down that he’d make it right by me, somehow. But, I just took it as “lip service” because we all know that contractors can’t be trusted! 🙂

I know this for a fact ‘cuz I used to be one! 🙂

Oh just stop it… I’m kidding. I like contractors just fine… But you have to marinate them a really long time… LOL!

Anyway, last week, I get a call from this guy;

“Remember me? Well, we followed your plans, to the “T!” And, it actually worked great! It worked so good that we got another contract, and we’ve inherited a service yard to work from, out by the Space Center!

Say, I’ve got 17 sections of concrete sewer pipe here, left over from a DOT highway build, I think. They’ve been here for a few years now. And, I bet you could use them for something, if you put your mind to it. After all, you’re a really smart guy!

Ya want ’em? You can store them here until you need them, and we’ll even help you load them. I mean, it’s not like we don’t have a crane now!”

Now, the wheels immediately started spinning.

I recalled that I’d seen them used before in novel ways. In fact, I’ve even showed them to you once before. I was kinda caught in a “Deja Vu” moment there, on the phone… Wait… here’s another one, now!

I give you… The Das Park Hotel

dasparkhotel633701949918032231_big
Here’s some hotel rooms built from giant concrete sewage pipe segments!

Although this is a one-of-the-kind hotel, it has been designed from the outset to use worldwide standard concrete drainage or sewage pipe sections – so you could well see more of them in the future.

dasparkhotel633701954794657151_big
The idea of Andreas Strauss in 2004, the first rooms were provided in Linz. Now in nearby Ottensheim, rooms are accessed by a digital keypad, whose code is provided by the self service website upon booking acceptance.

dasparkhotel633740187444905382_big
The beauty of these pipes is that their concrete utilitarian look needs little alteration to make them habitable – a coat of varnish is all that is necessary.

The tubes have also have received wall paintings by the Austrian artist Thomas Latzel Ochoa to make them seem a little more user friendly.

dasparkhotel633740187841160454_big
Each tube weighs more than you can possibly imagine! In fact, they tip the scales at over  20,000 pounds…  So although some might be tempted to rock or vandalize them, they are incredibly robust and need little maintenance, provided you can keep those pesky miscreants with spray cans away from them.  But… that’s what dogs are for, I suppose.

More advanced lock and electronic keypad systems had to be fitted in 2007,  (to keep unauthorized users out) but the original concept is working very well.

Like cave hotels, Das Park Hotel is fairly cool in the summer, and perhaps still warm in winter, although at the moment the hotel is only open from May to October.

Rooms: Three double-room pipes

dasparkhotel633701950793668439_big
Once inside the pipes, the facilities are pretty basic, but they do have everything you’ll need to get a good nights sleep –  a double bed,  a lamp, a power strip so you can plug in that alarm clock,  a couple of blankets and even light cotton sleeping bags are provided.

But, if you’re one of those guys who has  to pee in the wee hours, you’re gonna have to hike for it. The toilet and (cold) showers are a couple of minutes walk away, with details provided on booking. Ignore the guy hiding in the bushes with the big knife and the hockey mask, he’s just waiting for his turn in the pipe!

The price is right, and we’re not talking about Drew Carey or Bob Barker here! Rooms are based on a donation basis only. There is no set pricing. Nada! Zip! Bupkiss!

Located in a lovely spot next to the Danube in Ottensheim municipal camping area the tubes have had a several seasons of use but are still clean and functional.

Hello? Concrete! After all, you can just hose them out, or even sandblast them from year to year, to get them ready for the next season!

The travel blurb says: “While there are many restaurants in the town square 15 minutes walk away, we particularly recommend the El Danubio campsite bar and it’s host Sergio, who will prepare excellent rib and fried potato dinners a minutes walk from your room. Details of places for breakfast, drinks and bathroom facilities are provided in the joining instructions.”

“Joining Instructions?” Ah… to stay in the pipe, you give  “a donation,” but to eat or pee, you have to join a “special club.” I see…” Hmmmm… 🙂

dasparkhotel633701976403646127_big

The campsite has beach volleyball courts, a kiddie paddling pool and nearby spots for swimming in the Danube.

Who could ask for more?

Well, from what I can see, the only things that they’re missing are a small Photovoltaic panel to power that lamp and the alarm clock, and maybe a nice little solar hot water heater system, to allow a little bathroom to get tucked in there! You know, like the ones they put into boats! They’re more like little closets, but they do the job! If you did that… (FEMA? Are you paying attention?) these could build dandy little emergency camps!  No formaldehyde here, folks!

You could put your relatives in there, and then slam that door shut! Hey it’s not like they’ve starve… You could drop food in, thru that skylight hole in the top!

Okay, maybe not. But it’s a fun thought…

But  you could put them in an RV park, or wilderness park even… The pipes, not the relatives… It gives one pause to think… I wonder if there is any “Stimulus Package money for projects like this? I mean, it’s green, and it’s housing, and it’s recycled… 🙂

Dear President Obama,

Like Martin Luther King… “I have a dream.”

Okay, it’s not as noble as Martin Luther’s but it’s a dream, none the less! Okay, it’s a “Pipe Dream!” Gimme a break, huh? What did you expect? I’m just a regular “Bubba!” I don’t “habla” Political Doublespeak… I don’t “sprechen Senatorial smack!” I don’t even comprehend “Congressional Stupidity.”

I was just thinkin’ since you’re givin all that money away (apparently to anybody with an empty wheelbarrow), that I could sure use some of it to build a place for my “in-laws” to stay when they decide to punish… um…er… visit me.

Now I promise I’ll “build green,” and even recycle. No trees will be harmed, and no fat cats will get one penny of this project “bailout.”  The only boost that they’ll get out of me…  is my bootprint on their behind.

Thank you for considering my request!

Respectfully… for now…

Ronin

PS. Hillary? Are you kidding? What were you thinking?

CC: Lawyers – so they can start preparing my defense…

BCC: Psychiatrist

I’ve got all kinds of ideas. This could get really interesting! And the bonus is that it’s gonna drive the Planning and Zoning guy absolutely nuts! LOL!

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance RoninDo You Enjoy Our Articles and Features? Are you interested in helping a family that is helping others get back on THEIR feet? We could sure use the help, honest! Please Consider Making a Small, Secure Donation! Use our Paypal button!

I Gotta Get Me One Of These “Bug-Out Boxes!!”

27 Apr

Say hello to;

The All Terrain Cabin (ATC)

A bunch of Canadians, tired of being shown up by us “innovative Container types” decided that they’d “one-up” us by slapping together a cabin, and putting it on the road, for everybody to see…

atc1Little did they know  that they were playing right into our hands! You see, it’s exposure that we’re after! We want people to see us (but not “exposed,” because that’s against the law)!! 🙂

atc2

So, probably fueled by that horrid Canadian Beer, they bent over their drafting boards, and came up with this beauty of a cabin! Now, I’m guessing that they came up with it “lickety-split,” because everybody knows that Canadian beer isn’t all that good, and it goes right through you like “a bullet through butter!” 😉

atc3

Seriously, a few “bright bulbs” in Canada decided to show us how it’s done, and I must say that they did a fine job!  They’ve brought together good design, some great technology, and even some imagination and wrapped it in a “Corten Cocoon.” And now, it’s on the road, for everybody to see and experience!

atc4

In spite of being taxed by that terrible Molson stuff (how in the world do you drink that swill? Blaaaaech!) they designed a small cabin, using a standard ISBU shipping container as the basis, and then they brought the “Canadian Flair” to it. Now Canadian Flair isn’t a WWE wrestler, it’s a combination of all great things Canadian, squeezed into a very small package. Hmmm… That reminds me of a tiny little lass from Toronto I used to date, back when I still had hair on my head. I wonder what she’s up to? I’d call her, except for that pesky restraining order… 🙂

atc5

The result is a a really efficient cabin, full of style and smarts! The cabin, although quite small, is perfect for a for a family of four (and even your dog) to live or vacation in, “off the grid” in what can only be described as ” Corten comfort and contemporary style.”  Remember, it’s a shipping container. Delivery is as easy as you could imagine it might be! Just roll that lil beauty onto a train, truck, ship, airplane or helicopter (if it’s on steroids), and off it’ll go, to the destination of your choice. And, in travel mode, it’s all folded up and indistinguishable from any ordinary shipping container. So, you could move it every year! Talk about a “time-share” that keeps on giving!  This year; “The Rockies!” Next Year; “Tahiti!”  Yeah, Baby!

atc6

Once it arrives “home,”  it unfolds rapidly to 480 glorious square feet  of completely self-contained, sophisticated living space with all the comforts of your home in the city!

atc7

If you want to live softly, smartly, and stylishly on this rock of ours, this may just be the way! But, it’s just an evil April Fools Joke, I’m afraid. You can’t have one. Why? Because there’s only one ATC in the whole world and there are only so many places it will visit. They have no intention of building them for us to live in! Oh the horror! Why? Oh Why? 😦

atc8

See? I told you you had to watch out for those darned Canadians, they’re SNEAKY and they’ll break your heart!! I expected something like this out of Paul Stankey, but to have it perpetrated  by our neighbors to the north? That’s just wrong! 🙂

Stay Tuned!

The Renaissance RoninRenaissance Ronin is a blog dedicated to helping you help yourself. We’re going to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about building a home out of recycled materials. A home that will save you money, provide you with comfort and security, and provide for your needs, for decades to come. If you appreciate what we’re doing here, hit the Paypal button up there on the right, and lend us a hand!  We really need your help!