8 Is Enough – An Efficient Family Build Story

I’ve shown you how you can build 4 small homes into one 48′ Shipping Container…

I’ve demonstrated how they can be assembled to form a small home for a family:

But, what if I showed you how to assemble (3) 48′ High Cube ISBUs to form a home big enough for a pair of adults, and 6 children?

Crazy huh? Not even! Keep reading.

This is the story of a young pair of “Corten Crazies” in Chicago…

… who decided that they’d had enough of gangs, lies, and politicians. They wanted to live in a land where their kids could grow up like kids, and not in a land filled with narcotics, and predators, and problems.

And did I mention that they had kids?

According to them: “We have more kids than brains…” They had a LOT of kids. 6 of them!

In fact, the family joke is that “if you look at Mom cross-eyed… she’ll pop out another kid.” So…

… she finally decided that unlike that old American sit-com… “Eight was definitely ENOUGH”

SOOOO… after she threatened to give her husband a vasectomy (with a screwdriver and a hammer)… he raced off “to take care of his business.“

It seems Dad left the doctor’s office with a limp and a band-aid, and some new resolve… at least he told ME it was resolve.

After meeting his wife, I’m betting it was FEAR that she didn’t still have “that screwdriver and hammer” handy…

And then, for some strange reason, they called me.

It seems that a family friend (somebody I’d served with in some Banana Republic or other) told them;

“He’s the guy to call, because he’s smart, he’s tough, he knows how to build strong shelters.”

Now, there’s about a million jokes there that I’m not gonna touch, and a few stereotypes that have long needed to be shattered, but suffice to say, I met with them anyway.

And almost immediately, I wanted to figure out who the guy was who referred me, and then drive over to his house and read him the riot act.

We talked about EVERYTHING… Gawd, it went on for hours… “How much house,” “how much land” you’d need to realistically take care of your family. At the end of the “Pre-Design” conversation, they had a rough idea “how much dirt” to buy.

They called a Realtor who specialized in land transactions, and they started looking for a place to call home.

By the time the Realtor found them a hunk of land, they’d sold their house, and traded in their luxury cars (a Lexus and an MBZ) for an SUV and a Pick-Up Truck. And they bought the “big” stuff… A Chevy Suburban and a Dodge Ram 4 door. They were ready.

They bit the bullet and wrote the big check, and in return, they ended up with 150 acres of prime farmland, with two good wells, and a few old barns.

They called me up again, and told me where they were moving to. I started looking at maps and surveys.

They leased an RV, loaded it up with “trail mix and Skittles” and then pointed it west, just like the pioneer families of old.

And when they got where they were heading (according to the GPS)… they parked that RV in the barn. Next to that RV, they pitched two tents. One labeled “Boys”, and one labeled “Girls.” Why in the barn? Well, two roofs are better than one…

I kept after them to give me a number, so I could figure out a realistic budget. By the time they’d paid for the land, paid up a year’s lease on the cars and RV, and gotten some fences put in, so they could start doing the “Green Acres” thing…

They had $85,000.00 left to build with, in cash.

I traveled out there to talk to them about DESIGN. While the kids were tormenting each other with;

“I’m not touching you… I’m not touching youuuuuu…”

I realized that I could identify with this family, and these parents. I’d grown up in the same kind of family.

That settled it. It was decided that no matter what, each child would have their own room. That way, the parents could secure… um… lock… um… er… send them to their own rooms, thus breaking the tribe down into smaller (conquerable) groups, “should the natives become restless”.

We argued, cursed, talked, begged, pleaded, and then… cursed some more (usually at each other), but we finally hammered out a plan.

Actually, the DESIGN PHASE ended like this;

“ENOUGH ALREADY! You’re driving me CRAZY! THIS is the plan I’M building. Either say YES, or I’m just going to leave, and let your damned children kill you!”

6 BR, 1 Master BR, 1,150 square foot family container home

The Mom picked up her hammer and screwdriver, and brandished them like a scythe and a longsword. The Dad? Well, I suppose the emotion was just too much for him… He just looked at his wife… turned pale, and then cried…

I wanted to join him… remember, we only had a little bit over $85,000 in cash to build it.

And after it was finished… in 68 days, to be exact… we actually had money left over.

Note that I could have built it cheaper, if only someone “possessing something that resembled reason” had let me build the bathroom next to the kitchen, “but Noooooooo….“

She “wanted what she wanted…” and that was that. She did everything but “say it and count to three…”

And that floorplan you’re looking at up there is the result.

That was “several seasons” ago, and they’re still living on that acreage, in the middle of Montana, growing vegetables and raising sheep and goats… and kids. Lots of kids. They’ve added one, too.

(They adopted her from Russia, and she is the cutest little kid you ever saw… ‘cept, of course, my own son, Joshua.)

This is just further proof that these homes are not only possible, they’re durable and sustainable. If they weren’t, these guys would have pulled up roots and headed back to Lakeshore Drive, right?

I’m getting calls from Senators and Congressmen on a regular basis looking for “solutions.”

Why? Because even though I’m on record as not liking the way they do things, when it comes to ISBU’s;

“We’re the TEAM.”

I’m getting calls and emails from Industry leaders offering to collaborate or “partner up”… almost daily.

Why? Because when it comes to experience and “hands on time” with these boxes;

“We’re the TEAM.”

If you’re interested in building an ISBU home, or if you’re really consider a Shipping Container home, and you just need to talk to someone to help you chart the waters… We’re available.

“We’re the TEAM.”

What I possess is far more valuable than money.

I have 3 decades of intimate experience with ISBUs, Sustainability and even (gasp!) Survival, “in general and in specific.”

I’ve personally built “more than my score of ISBU structures“, and I’ve even established several “settlements,” in places both “domestic and foreign,” you know… hostile climes like (gasp!) Montana! 😉

Remember: You can have all the money in the world, but if you can’t harness it with the right exposure to knowledge, it’s going to be worthless – especially as the economy falters, and the dollar falls.

Am I a “Motivational Speaker?” Nope. “Tony Robbins” I’m not. But I understand how to motivate people.

Am I a “Guru, a Imam, a Priest or perhaps a Rabbi?” Nope. I’m just “a spiritual peep.”

I’m just a guy who “has paid his dues many times over,” a guy “who has been there”, and I’m definitely a guy who wants to keep you from having to “go there alone.”

And now, I’m “YOUR GUY.”

I’ve put together a team of guys who can tackle any project quickly, effectively, and on budget. And more importantly, you know where my allegiances lie and you know that I won’t pick your pocket.

If you have an ISBU project, or even the beginnings of an ISBU project…

Contact us. You won’t spent most of your time looking at concepts that can’t be built, or projects inflated by “unnecessary sophistication” for the sake of “budget busting.” And more importantly, we’ll actually save you our fees.  Just for starters, you won’t spend most of your building budget “talking”, or educating a design team and their contractors “on your own dime.”

Alexander Klein: Principal, Container Home Consultants, Inc.

6 comments for “8 Is Enough – An Efficient Family Build Story

  1. Marlea Hanson
    April 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I’m shopping buildable small acreage now, and really really really want you on my team. I have a service to the construction industry, and besides wanting to get involved in the Green building movement, I need my own roof over my own head! (Incidently, I spent several years long-haul trucking, and as I’m from the Great Northwest, I enjoy the sound of rain drumming on a tin roof.)
    I know you have the gray hairs and the moxie to help me “git ‘er done.”

    Please write me back.

  2. admin
    April 16, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Marlea…

    thanks for the note. We would be happy to consult on your project.

    Alex can chime in here as his time permits… he’s juggling family, projects, and his other educational properties at the moment.

    When you are ready and getting close to your property purchase… just let us know, and we can move your project forward.


  3. Alphonse Gibbs
    April 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you for the entertaining read! Alright playtime is over and back to school work.

  4. cna training
    April 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  5. Lindy Miao
    May 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    This really is excellent. I needed photos to include in my school venture as well as the illustrations or photos you’ve got posted are great. Thanks for them mate! I guess teacher will love my project as a result of these images and of course the information I supplied.

  6. October 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    LOVE your style of writing! Technical gibberish makes my eyes glaze over. Our farm currently has two shipping containers: a certified kitchen and a w-i cooler/freezer. Building a house with these units really intrigues me. I’ve purchased your e-book and can’t wait to read it. Thanks for a great website!

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