Tag Archives: Modular Homes

Ronin’s Pick of the Month!

17 Dec

For the past several weeks, I’ve been corresponding with some architects and even (gasp!) engineers. I know… Architects are like lawyers, and all they ever want is your money, and then… the rest of your money, right?

Well, I grew up around architects. One of my rich relatives ran a rather large firm, that built “buildings of note.” And, frankly, most of them were “prima donnas.” Those guys were highbrow bloodsuckers… um… er… bluebloods, with their noses so far up in the air, you couldn’t make out one single sentence for all the nasally sounds they emitted. And, when I was young, they made it clear that I was supposed to be one of them, “once I grew up.”

They kept telling me that, over and over again, even after I cleared the hurdle of puberty and discovered fast motorcycles and the women they attracted (that I wasn’t fast enough to actually “catch…” But that’s another “tale of woe…” for another time)! LOL!

So, instead I chose an attempt at education, Motorcycle Racing on Friday nights, and sneaking a cold beer here and there, over hanging out “ohh-ing and awe-ing” surrounded by stacks of drawings that looked more like hieroglyphics than actual street scenes.

You see, like many other professions, architects have their own language, filled with terms that defy explanation or interpretation to the common man. In fact, it’s like listening to doctors talk about a troubling case, sometimes, as you try to figure out what all those three syllable words have to do with building a house out of wood and nails.

So, I completely understand when people email me, and tell me about the architect they just “interviewed” with, that said things they couldn’t comprehend, much less make a decision about. Many of the comments I receive are aimed at the fact that I really try to explain how things work, at a level that allows people to actually understand what I’m talking about. In crayon, if I have to…

Okay, maybe not “many comments.” One. Sorta. Okay, I admitted it. Satisfied?

Anyway, talking to architects can be like going on vacation, and getting off a bus in a strange land after too many cold beverages. I mean, “Where’s the bathroom? I gotta pee, dammit!” just doesn’t translate, sometimes!

paul-stankeyWell, Paul Stankey must be the exception to the rule.

This architect is one of those “grass roots” kinda guys who (aside from being a visionary) talks to you like you’re actually a human being. And, he actually builds what he talks about, instead of just rendering opinions about “If I was gonna do it, I’d do it like this…”

Can you really build a cool cabin, out of shipping containers?

photo-12Paul can. And he did it in the middle of “Ice Hell.” For almost nothing.

And, what do you do with all those pallets behind your warehouse?


You build another warehouse… or… a shop… In “Ice Hell…”

Who is this “madman?”

Here’s a little bit about him (that I lifted from his corporate bio);

“Paul Stankey is an Intern Architect living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has extensive hands-on experience in design-build stemming from work in Minneapolis and Bozeman, Montana as a designer, craftsman, and teacher. Paul was a founding employee of Ridgeline Builders in Bozeman, later worked with the Montana Arts Council, and more recently as an Intern Architect in the office of YunkerAsmus Architecture in Minneapolis. At YunkerAsmus he collaborated on the Windsong Farms Golf Club which received a 2005 AIA Minnesota Honor Award. He has also worked with Alchemy Architects in St. Paul developing the weeHouse and other residential work. While at Alchemy he had several projects published in Dwell, Metropolitan Home, Wallpaper, and Ink. He is currently working with m.a ARCHITECTURE in Minneapolis and is a Co-Founder of HIVE Modular, a modern modular home supplier and designer.

Paul has a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Master of Architecture from Montana State University with a focus in concrete technology. While there he worked with Architect/Professor, William Massie helping develop his integration of CNC machining with architecture. He is continually exploring the inherent aesthetics of natural and manufactured materials and objects. Paul’s construction of his families’ cabin is an exploration of ready-made products, recycled materials and shipping containers within a very tight budget.”

What it doesn’t tell you is that he’s embarking on a mission to build modular homes, all over America, and even Canada.  (If I know him, he’ll probably trade one for beer… LOL!) And a look at his website will demonstrate that the designs are good looking, innovative, efficient, and affordable.

How does he accomplish all this stuff? And can he really speak “english?”

Here’s some advise, from the Master, himself;

Breaking stuff into phases is generally a nice way to tackle an otherwise insurmountable amount of work.  Having a clear focus and clear set of goals and schedules is the best way to make progress, keep enthusiasm up, and stay sane.

Have you ever decided that it’s time for a new car, and then looked at cars out of your league, first? And have you ever noticed that the cars you end up looking at, the ones you can actually afford, all look like crap, in comparison to that first one? Well, houses are like that, too…

Except Paul’s.

So, if you live anywhere near “Ice Hell,” or you’re looking for a modular home, you should start here.  Everything else you look at, will look like crap, in comparison. How do I know? I looked.

You can find him here:

Paul Stankey
hive modular

And try to stay warm, Paul. I saw that it was sub-zero in your neck of the woods, again, today…

Stay Tuned…

The Renaissance Ronin