Tag Archives: Kitchen Remodeling

I want an ISBU Kitchen for my Farmhouse!

31 May

We’re absolutely buried in work right now. Everyone and their brother, sister, cousin, aunt and uncle is breaking ground, getting their sites ready for the Spring/Summer ISBU build season! We have more projects running than Doan’s has little green pills! (Or were they blue? It’s been so long since I’ve seen them that I forget!)


As a result, we’re stretched pretty thin (literally scattered across the country),  so instead of starting a “primer series on pilings and foundations for ISBU structures” that we’d planned for this timeframe, we’re gonna reach into the mail bag and see what kind of mischief we can get in.

Hang on… here we go!

Dear Ronin,

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea of using containers to build our home. We live in rural Wyoming, where weather rests heavy upon the home you live in. Our farm is a heavily wooded site and we’d like to incorporate logs into our ISBU build.  You know, earthy, organic, natural… just like you reinforced in our consulting sessions with your team.  We thought that maybe we were “overreaching” when we started out on this path, but you showed us how to use “the old” blended with “the new” to make our dreams become reality.

As we start thinking about WHAT we’ll build specifically, we’re working room to room. We both cook, so the kitchen is going to be a focal point. We don’t want “gourmet” or a “chef’s kitchen”… we just want to be able to cook together in comfort.

Where we’re stumped is in the “kitchen” department and all the various materials blending in together. ISBUs, logs, stainless steel, granite tiles. It all gets so confusing!  We know that you don’t like to insulate inside the ISBUs (we know that you prefer to do it on the outside) but we’d like some kind of veneer or covering on the interior walls. There will be places in the house that the corrugation will show, but in the kitchen and family room, we’d kinda like to keep it clean and traditional.

Most of the ISBU homes you see on the Interweb are pretty sterile. They’re bland, boring, minimal. We don’t want to live in a museum or an art gallery, we want to live in a warm, cozy, embracing environment.

We’d like finished walls and a finished ceiling (preferably with light cans installed in it). I know that you love “High Cube” Containers because of the extended ceiling heights, but we’d like recessed lighting.

We imagine a corner kitchen with an Island or a Breakfast Bar and we’re  going to build it out of materials that we pull out of another log home. We’re going to refinish the cabinets in a light color so that they’re not “overwhelming or dark”. We’re thinking about a “honey oak” color.  I know how you love to recycle and repurpose, so that’s our goal for this new house.

We’d like hardwood floors. We thought about polished concrete, but it just doesn’t do it for us.

Have you ever done this before? Mixed Steel and Wood to construct a very “cabinish” kind of farmhouse? I’d love to see some photos of how you blended the two materials together to make a Cabin or Farmhouse kitchen.


Wanting Wonderful Winters In Wyoming


Dear “4W”,

One of the really nice things about using ISBUs to build homes is that they’re just metal boxes. Think of them as modular blocks that stack together to form “space” that can literally look like anything you want. The limit really is your imagination.

MANY ISBU homebuilders end up with finished structures that are hard-pressed to identify as ISBU Metal Monsters. It’s for this reason we have so much fun with them. they can become anything we want, in any color of the proverbial rainbow.  They take on any shape we need, they’re “tonka tough” and are not difficult to construct (once you get the basics under your belt).

We’ve helped families build ISBU homes that defied their origins. Even up close, you just couldn’t TELL that they started out as “glorified cargo boxes” that lived lives plowing the high seas full of Chinese Electronics headed to Walmart.

But I digress…

You asked it we’d ever combined ISBUs, Logs, Granite and Stainless Steel. You “doubled up” by asking if we’d ever done it with recycled and repurposed materials.

This was built last year. The ranchhouse was constructed out of ISBU wings joined together by a log structure in the center. It was (and in my personal opinion) and IS the best of both worlds.  I’m doing something similar with my own ISBU Home.

I asked the homeowners to send me a few photos.  They were happy to oblige. They’re blissfully happy in their new home. They told me that the “honeymoon” still isn’t over yet…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, here’s a mouthful;

ISBU Kitchen - 514-1w

Recycled cabinets. Check.

Recycled Granite Tiles. Check.

ISBU Kitchen - 514-2w

Finished walls. Check.

Log Beams. Check.

ISBU Kitchen - 514-3w

Cozy, comfortable cabin style kitchen big enough for two adults to cook in. Check.

Recessed Lighting in ceiling. Check.

Nice Hardwood floors. Check.

All of it safely tucked inside strong, sustainable, durable, low maintenance ISBUs. CHECK!

Seen enough?

Next time, ask us something hard. 🙂

The point is that unless you SAW the house go up, you’d never know that it was wearing steel  lingerie. All you see is the dress.  And that dress can be anything you can imagine. The key is good design and then good execution. Get those right and you’ll have a winner.

Now, all this talk about kitchens is making me hungry. I’m outta here.

Till next time, be safe, be well and be kind.


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