Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BA Projects (BAjects?)

Over the weekend, I did some solo work on the box:

I finished the bedroom wall by adding plank flooring as paneling. It took a lot of trim nails to put this up since the Locktite did not work as expected. These nails bend easily to the wood. I suggest finding another way. We will blow in some cellulose insulation behind the wall to finish it before we put up the last planks. 


I added OSB 2x4 size I got from Habitat for a dollar a piece and screwed it to the studs. There will be a window put on this wall at a later time. On the wall above the sink, I put up grey bamboo planks to go with the soon to be grey kitchen. It was $5 a box at Habitat. We will have to order some more from the flooring store to finish. I added some cellulose insulation to the ceiling of this area, which was very dirty and dusty. Next time we will use solid foam found at Habitat in sheets 4 and 2 inches thick. 

We used tin sheeting from Lowes for the bottom section of the kitchen and living room wall.  The top we are thinking of painting unless you send us some better suggestions. I was thinking of using used license plates, comic book pages with a sheet of plastic covering them or some coating to protect them? - BA

Say hello to my little friend...

Something wonderful happened over the weekend! Our home somehow doubled in size! OK, so it wasn't some magic trick (alchemy anyone?) or asexual reproduction - instead, we found a great deal on another container. Here it is:

We still weren't able to get it up on the blocks, even with a truck. Maybe the blocks were a bad idea. I guess we should have done some more research on how we'd get them on there before we had them poured. But, you live and learn...I guess it's still pretty cool to have our own mini-Stonehenge.

So here they are - Box 1 and Box 1's new BFF, Box 2!

That's all for now! BA did more work over the weekend, so I'll post again soon! We have soon cool new pics to show you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our anniversary

Our nine year wedding anniversary was last Saturday! What better way to celebrate than by working on our future home?

I wanted something bright for the bathroom floor. I love the way it turned out!

And I think it will go great with the shower curtain, although I've decided to paint the wall blue instead of yellow:

 Remember the door that I made from two used half-doors and a $10 folding door kit? I cleaned it up - haven't painted it yet, though:

BA installed the windows into the window frame, and it was so awesome to be able to leave the shutter open and wake up to the sun shining through the window. It was kinda complicated and involved, but it turned out great:

AND I learned how to tape and float - it's really not hard. I kinda liked it. Didn't take any pictures of that, though. 

I also thought ya'll might like to see the current drainage system. Here's the sink, all set up. The wood that you see against the wall above is the paneling that will eventually cover that wall.:

And here's a pretty bug that I found in the yard. He had wings. A dragonfly, maybe: 

That's all for now!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some "Befores" and "Afters"

Actually, I should call it "Befores" and "Durings" since we're still not done. But progress has been made, and in some spots, you can really see a difference! For instance:

This was the bed.

Now this is the bed.

This was the floor.

Now this is the floor.

This was the ceiling.

Now this is the ceiling.

This was the hallway.

Now this is the hallway.

This was the porch.

Now this is the porch.

This was the kitchen.

...and there's still no kitchen. But this space is becoming one!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eddies in the space-time continuum.

"Ah," nodded Arthur, "Is he. Is he." - from Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

Not really. We do have an Eddie in the family, and as far as I know, he is in Austin delivering the mail. But there are eddies in the design elements of BaHa Ranch.

The original idea for BaHa Ranch came from seeing construction site offices like the one on the left:

I saw some used ones for sale online and thought one might make a perfect cabin to put on our land. BA wasn't interested until he saw these pictures on a Google search (I've had them saved on my computer for so long that I don't remember exactly where they came from, but they can probably be found in more than one location with all the container home websites and articles that are popping up out there...the captions have the names of the design and/or company)...

The "Ecopod"

The "All-Terrain Cabin"

We looked at all kinds of container homes online, and the ones that seemed the most practical and accessible were  these two:

Our floor plan was modeled off this one - it looks like a perfect little living space.
Got the picture from Tiny House Blog. Click the link for more pictures of this container.

We love this idea for the end doors. Ours might not turn out just like this,
but we're going for a similar concept. This is a "Port-a-bach" from New Zealand.

And from there - the design of Box 1 - we plan to add four more boxes and a courtyard. The outer design has changed repeatedly due to the landscape. The interior floor plan is a fluid entity that will probably change regularly until the day we hammer in the last nail. The interior design changes with whatever we can find cheap, free, used, on sale, etc. 

For instance, the original living room/dining room/kitchen for Box 1 was going to look something like this:

And then we realized that we might begin to fill cooped up living in such a small space for a year. So we have now left one wall blank: that we can add one of the first design elements that we had liked and then discarded as being impracticle, but have now deemed to be practicle once again:

A fold-out porch! This way we can open up the whole wall using a winch, and the metal from the wall will either be a porch or a roof when folded out. Then, it can be raised back up at night or when the weather doesn't allow for indoor/outdoor living.

And to emulate the "Port-a-bach" pictured above, we've decided to do something along these lines: adding an enclosed or screened-in sunroom where the porch sits now. Then we'll have maybe a daybed or bench that folds down to perch between the metal doors when they are open, and somehow folds up out of the way when the doors are closed. This, too, will make our space feel larger.

The design of the future, 5-box house tends to change from time to time, too. For instance, the master suite has been redesigned many time, from the original: the current plan, which keeps more of the supporting side-walls of the metal containers in place:

Building this way is a brand new experience for us. The first home we owned together was a traditional, suburban home. We "built" it by picking out a postage stamp of land in a master-planned community, choosing from one of several pre-made floorplans, and then spending a couple of hours at a "design center" where the most strenuous thing we had to do was fill out a piece of paper with our preferences. About a month later, we had a house. And it was a lovely house, don't get me wrong. We loved it very much, but the recession made us rethink our long-term plans.

Our first home
I admit, I was bitter when we had to sell it. The picture below is a sculpture piece that I created less than a year later - my point at the time was to depict the soullessness of master-planned communities, the ugliness of rooftops placed so close together, and the environmental damage and stress that is done by crowding so many homes onto land that used to be fields and forests.

It ain't pretty. I put a lot of work into making it ugly, on purpose.
This sculpture was displayed at the TWU Art Walk in 2010.
I do still think that I had a good point, but my judgmental delivery was a bit heavy-handed, especially considering how much I did love our first home.

On a lighter note:

To go with the title and the quote at the top, here is a picture of a sofa in a field.
And yes, I know I'm a nerd, but if you get the reference, then maybe you are too ;)

BA's dad in our redneck living room

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The New "To-Do" List

Well, about that wind doesn't work yet. BA is still toying with it, but with summer coming up, we're going to need some air conditioning soon. So, we called Pedernales Electric Corp., and they sent out two great guys (Mike and Toker) to assess our build site for an electric pole. I know, we weren't planning to go on the grid, but sometimes you just have to compromise. There will come a time when BaHa Ranch runs strictly on wind and solar power, but that time is not now. If the powers that be had more sense, it would be cheaper to build a home that utilizes green energy. But as I said, the guys from the PEC were super-nice (Toker gave the doggie lots of love and referred to her as an "old hound dog," which I think made her very proud =) and the PEC seems like a good, honest company. 

So, here's some "To-Do"s:  

  • Get electricity. Because it's already hot. And this is Texas - it won't be cool again until December.
  • Blow in the insulation (we got dry cellulose insulation - you have to drywall completely first, then cut a little inconspicuous hole and blow the insulation in with a machine.)
  • Install the glass windows into their metal frame.
  • Hang curtains. Put down some throw rugs. Hang up a picture or two.

Free curtains, tablecloth, and throw from my mother-in-law, who is awesome =)
The little streak of electric blue in the top two pieces is what I want to bring out -
I might paint a whole room that color!

And I think the linens above will go great with orange.
  • Hang some insulating curtains over the metal end doors.
  • Install our big wooden door.
  • Finish the bathroom:

My mother-in-law's garage is the best store ever. This shower curtain
will go nicely with the blue and tan tiles in the bathroom.

Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the blue tiles have several shades
 of blue, along with grey and orangey streaks and some yellow/gold splatters.

This creamy tan-yellow color will cover an accent wall in the bathroom. 
I might also paint the bathroom door with it.

After that, we'll have to tile the shower and install the plumbing (which is going to have to include a larger rain-catchment system). You may notice that the bathroom has no sink - for now, BaHa Ranch will have only one sink, which is located around the corner in the kitchen. You might also wonder about the toilet. Where the heck is it??? It's in a box, waiting to be opened - it's a chemical toilet like the ones used on boats and in RVs. "Chemical" and "Green living" might not seem like two words that go together, but honestly, pooping in clean water doesn't make much sense either. And the chemical toilet is not permanent - we will eventually move to a toilet that hooks up to a septic tank and flushes with greywater (our first preference) or a composting (sounds smelly) or incinerating (sounds scary) toilet. 

And that's probably more than you ever wanted to know, right?