Tag Archives: ISBU Home

Would you, could you, with some spark?

18 Jul

Make a “box”  your family’s  ARK?

Okay, I’m not Dr Seuss.

That’s okay, because ham isn’t kosher anyway, especially if it’s green.

Speaking of green, it’s green here in Montana as far as the eye can see. Haying starts an hour before sunrise and ends about 10pm. The rainstorms haven’t helped much as you don’t want it to rain when you’re cutting your hay. You want to cut it, rake it into rows  and then get it as dry as you can before you bale it. Ugh. Rain and I aren’t speaking right now.

Horse Hay - Good Eating!

The rain comes down in buckets and then… it heats up to 95 degrees. I’m starting to feel like I’m back in Mississippi some days.

But I digress…

Many people exploring Corten Castles for the first time are under the misconception that when using Shipping Containers (commonly called ISBUs – Intermodal Steel Building Units) you end up with a house full of long skinny rooms. It never occurs to them that you can place containers side by side and then cut out the inner walls to form wider rooms.

Even explained, some people have a tough time wrapping their heads around this.

Essentially, you end up with a “double width” space that looks like this;

cubular-26-of-66This is a “Cubular” home, built by a company out of New Zealand. Regulars of the blog know that when we see something cool, we share it with you regardless as to whether or not OUR names are on it. We’re good at what we do, but then… so are some other guys. We’re glad Cubular is located in New Zealand,  or we’d have some competition.  They build  some REALLY nice stuff. 🙂

cubular-32-of-66While we generally offset our boxes to create even larger spaces, this gives you an idea what can be accomplished with “direct mating”.

cubular-33-of-66You’re not living in a small, closed in space.  The created spaces are bright, airy and elegant.

cubular-35-of-66Even without adding an exterior veneer to this ISBU Home, it’s quite stylish and easy to look at. It’s not at all like the “apocalyptic graffiti covered boxes” you see in the movies, is it?

This is just the “starting point”. I know it’s hard to imagine, but with some creativity, ISBU homes  get even better than this. (And for the  record…  we think this one is pretty darned good.)

You can’t buy a “Cubular Home” for export to the US, but you could build your own. We’re helping many families do just that.

Project Larry

7 Feb

We thought that we’d try something different…

We’re reading posts from “the allegedly learned” who claim that you can’t build an ISBU Home for under $150 a square foot.

It’s… “entertaining”, especially when it comes from people who have never actually built an ISBU home.  

Rather than just cry “Bull-Puckey“, we’re going to let you tag along as we build ISBU homes in “budget areas” that others claim “unbuildable”.

You see, we want YOU to understand that those making these “It’s impossible” claims are just full of crap.

We’re building a trio of ISBU home right now, for three brothers living in Coastal Washington State.  We refer to them around here as “Larry, Moe and Curly.”

Career bachelor. Larry works 12 hour days, plays the guitar and sleeps when he can. Sometimes he eats. It’s usually “fast food”. We know the type.

Each one wants a small ISBU home built from 40′ High Cube boxes.

The idea is that the similarly sized homes will sit near enough to each other to be tied together by a common deck facing a small “man-made lake”.

The first home (Larry’s house) is pretty straight-forward, (2) 40′ ISBUs placed side by side with the inner walls removed.

Like most families, Larry brought us some floorplan ideas that he thought that we could “twist”. It didn’t take much.

Washington - Thirty One
His ISBU home will be pretty “run of the mill”. It’s going to provide basic comforts with just a tad of flair.

The only thing that we’ve really done different is that we’ve designed a “bump out” that showcases an oversized “Moorish” carved door (that pretty much defined the space). It’s your basic Arctic Entry with a pocket door into the Great room (not depicted).

We’re talking about an ISBU home of a little over 700 square feet.

1 bedroom with a full sized bath, pocket kitchen, Great Room living and dining with a modern woodstove for heat.

We’re still debating overhead cabinets so they aren’t depicted but I’m confident that they’ll run all the way up to the ceiling.

The dining table pulls out of the cabinet. It can be extended using leaves to seat up to five.

Structural Insulated Panel/ Standing Seam Metal Roofing –  SIP/SSMR – Roof,  Spray Foam – closed cell SPF – on the exterior of the walls and subfloor. Insulation in interior walls for “acoustical suppression”. Hardiplanked over.

Sonotube piling foundation. Entry deck with floating staircase.

An 8′ deep deck will run the length of the container on the South side, allowing occupants to walk right out into the outdoors from every room.

Window placement dictated by site.

Septic with a macerator…

Well water.

Photovoltaic Power and a battery bank.

Solar Domestic Hot Water

Back-up diesel generator.

Built using mostly recycled materials by three brothers in the building trade, we’re looking at a “typical” family build with a little “tradesman experience” bump.

The budget for structure??


Unless something really stupid happens, we’ll have money left over to help pay for panels, septic and playtoys…

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin