Wednesday, March 6

What a difference a week (or 2) makes!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  We have so many ideas and so much inspiration that we cannot decide!  In the span of a few weeks, we have explored (i.e. have gotten attached to, and then let go of) a number of housing plans!  Where will we be living by the summer?!  

Initially, we were going to name this blog: Contained Life because we were going to live in one of these:

Yep.  A shipping container!  There are a zillion of them that arrive in North America from Asia each year.  And since the west is importing more than it is are exporting, these steel shipping containers are piling up on this side of the waters.  Converting such a container into a home is a form of recycling (up-cycling!) and hence more earth-friendly compared to building brand new.  These boxes are extremely durable and portable (which is important for us, as we are going to rent land for now with the plan of eventually buying land and moving our teeny tiny home onto our own land).  We dreamed of a container home with a wooden exterior and interior.

After some research which included talking to shipping container companies and our homebuilding friends, and then assessing the cost and logistics of moving such a 40' container, we decided to explore other options.  So we went back to our books to get more inspiration:

(If you are not familiar with Lloyd Kahn's books, you should definitely check them out.) 

So that led us to explore tiny houses both on wheels and not on wheels (but built with the intent of being moved).  

I never thought I would say this, but I went to a home show!  (Ok.  I got in for free, so why not?)  I must say that the home show was the opposite of inspiring!  Most of the booths (and there were hundreds!) catered to people who want BIGGER and MORE.  Not at all what we are looking for.  After a dizzying 2 hours (!) I did connect with one interesting company that made pre-fabricated homes.  

Before I became a savvy home builder :)! I thought pre-fab = mobile home = trailer park (think Trailer Park Boys).  But it turns out that it is a completely efficient way to build (i.e. indoors).  They build the homes in their shop (making sure that everything fits perfectly together) and then take it apart and deliver it to you to assemble IKEA-style (with colour-coded diagrams and everything).  When I told them about our project, they were very interested in sitting down with us to explore ideas.  So we did.  Getting a pre-fab company to built a frame is not the cheapest option and they use new material, so that is definitely another drawback.  We haven't ruled this option out yet, but we would like to find out more about building a frame ourselves (vs. paying a company).  

We had a few suggestions from friends to buy an RV.  There are definite advantages: inexpensive, ready-to-move-in, appliances included, plumbing and electrical done, mobility.  We explored it, but EEKS!  We just can't imagine owning and living in one.  It's just not our style!

But in our unsuccessful search for an RV, we found this Green Cedar Bus:

sleeping loft
wood stove (a must-have for tBOY)
skylight + greenhouse = genius!
We are excited about possibly living in a converted school bus!  So much so that we drove 2 hours to check one out this past weekend:
tBOY learning to drive a school bus
This one has a flat nose (which means the engine takes up space inside the bus).  The seats have been removed and there is plumbing and electrical work done.  There is even a wood stove in it already (only a couple years old).  Someone has been living in it for a few years, but the inside remains rustic and we would gut everything if we were to buy this one.  It runs on propane, so we have some reservations about having a big propane tank right under our home.  We were not completely convinced.

Today, I drove another 2 hours to check out a school bus being sold by a school.  The bus retired in January of this year, so its inspection requirements are still up to date and good till the end of the year.  

The bus is in really good shape.  It is not a flat nosed one - which means more room and better-looking!  It has a rebuilt engine, new transmission, new flooring, new front tires etc.  Not that this matters that much to us since we only need the bus to make it to our rented land, and then to the land we will eventually buy.  We are not planning on driving this gas-guzzler much.  The seats are still in it.  We were trying to think of what to do with them.  Perhaps we will make vintage couches for our friends as Christmas gifts! 

So what do you think?  Is this IT?  A school bus frame for our home (and a bonus 24 Christmas gifts - hee hee)?  

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