Thursday, December 31, 2009

Big Day: Container Placement !

12/30/09 Today is a big day. It was difficult to get everything coordinated exactly. There was some waiting by the rigger due to a delay in one of the container deliveries. Ashley Baucom and his son from Union Crane Service did a great job with the rigging and placement. As you can see from the pictures, there are some big trees close to the foundation. While we broke a few limbs, Ashley did a GREAT job of swinging the containers through the trees and onto the foundation. Although today was the first time we had seen the containers, they fit perfectly on the foundation Johnny and his crew had built. Johnny then welded the containers to the metal foundation plates.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Foundation Weld Plates

12/29/09 This series shows a completed foundation wall with anchor bolts protruding from the bond beam. Clint is cutting off the anchor bolts and burning holes in the steel plates to accept the anchor bolt stubs. Johnny is welding the steel plates to the anchor bolt stubs. Tomorrow we plan to set the containers in place and weld them to the foundation.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


As I ride around South Carolina, and other states, too, I see benches, swings, and little “garden spots” that people have created in their yards. Most appear neglected and unused. I can only speculate as to why someone would take the time and trouble to create such a spot, only to ignore it. Maybe it is because we wish for a place and time to sit and contemplate some view, our yard, a flowerbed or garden. In a burst of energy, we create the place to sit, but fail to ever create the time to sit.

I think the same thing may be true of porches. You now see many houses with porches, but how often do you see a porch with one or more people sitting on it? I remember my grandparents’ porch in Cowpens, South Carolina. Whenever we visited, we would always end up on the porch. The porch faced a busy highway. It never failed that after we sat for a while, someone would stop to visit. Often we would end up with as many visitors as family members.

I remember my Grandmother’s porch in McBee, South Carolina. Her front porch was only a formal decoration on the front of the house, but her back porch was where she and I sat and rocked and discussed things of great and serious import. I suspect that many of us remember porches in association with a different time and place, and somehow believe that building a porch will recreate that old feeling.

Is it for the same reason we bring back souvenirs from vacation? Is it for the same reason we are inspired by the architecture or landscaping from a vacation destination? All of these considerations come to my mind as I am creating this space to live in. Do we build our spaces to support and affirm the lifestyle we have chosen, or do we build our spaces in a wish to be somewhere else?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Foundation Walls Almost Complete

The foundation is almost complete. Concrete must be poured into each cavity containing the rebar uprights and vermiculite insulation in all remaining cavities. All that is left to complete the foundation is to bend down the uprights, tie them to the bond beam rebar, and pour the bond beam.
Rain continues to delay the work. Trying to coordinate work around the weather, other work, and inspectors is no small task.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pouring The Foundation

November 23. 2009 The rain has held us up. After Johnny and his crew dug the foundation, it poured rain. They had to dig it out again to install the rebar. Everytime they scheduled to come back, it rained. Today they finally poured the foundation. Concrete block should be delivered to the site tomorrow. The foundation seems massive for the house we are putting on it. Chris, the architect, explains that the curved roof would create uplift in a high wind and the foundation is to hold the house down, as well as up.
The upright rebars will come through the block and then concrete poured in the cavity. A bond beam will be poured on top of the wall with rebar in the bond beam. Steel connectors will be attached to the rebar in the bond beam and the containers welded to the connectors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Front and Side Elevations

This image shows the front of the house which has the large screen porch. The side view shows how the three containers are positioned side-by-side. The roof for the porch was purchased to be used in another project which was abandoned. The roof panels are corrugated steel designed for a bolt-together, all-metal building.

Ingenium Engineering is doing the foundation and structural design work.

We are working conjunction with the Chesterfield County, South Carolina Building Inspection Department.

Floor Plan

This is the floorplan Chris created using three, high-cube 45' shipping containers. Two sit side-by-side and one is offset 8'. We are using a grade beam type foundation with concrete blocks.
The kitchen, dining room and den span all three containers. The bunk room, laundry room and guest toilet are within the width of one container. The bathroom is within the width of one container. The bedroom and hall span two containers. The walls of the containers are cut out to form the rooms.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Started - A Slow Process

An old mobile home had to be removed from the lot. It was then several months before we began to clear the lot and prepare the foundation.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How It Started

After using used shipping containers for a number of purposes in a manufacturing operation, I became aware that others had converted shipping containers to homes. I was interested in creating a low-cost, attractive home that would be tornado and hurricane proof. An internet search showed that such living units had been created all over the world. I began to inquire if I could get this type of living space approved in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. I hired an architect (Chris Cook of CBL) and we approached the building authorities who responded positively. I was off on a new adventure.