Tag Archives: Off Grid Housing

Building with Containers doesn’t mean building SMALL.

13 Mar

One of the myths of ISBU (Shipping Container) construction is that you end up with a structure filled with narrow, tiny rooms.

Further, I find it ironic that most of the critics of ISBU Housing have never built an ISBU Home… never been inside one and in most cases… have never even stepped foot into a container.

You hear them repeat (like it’s some kind of mantra);

“Shipping Container homes are expensive, small, claustrophobic and hot.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

(Hey, I wanted to say; “Only if you’re stupid.” But… I restrained myself… sort of.) 😉

C3 ISBU Residence

Read more about it, HERE.

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But I want a BIG little Corten Cabin…

28 Feb

On the flip side of our ISBU building madness, we’re talking about a terrific little Corten Cabin Concept that could fit right in whether you’re building  a beach house,  a mountain house, a vacation getaway or an off-grid retreat resort.

Now, this ISBU home will sleep 6+ and keep everyone safe and happy for decades!

This started it’s life out as a user submitted “Park Home” RV design! That original idea (from Canoe Bay Resort) was pretty darn sweet, but with a little Corten Creativity, it can jump right up to the next level!

Remember, ideas for that “perfect getaway” or off-grid home can come from EVERYWHERE!

16x40 2 bdrm cabin - webYou can read about it, HERE.

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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