Full Disclosure

Hi Guys.

Life. Life gets crazy, life gives you two energetic kids and takes away your time. I’m not good at delegating time for myself and my hobby, hence the lack of blog posts. Life is good however and has given my family many blessings.

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All that aside, I wanted to apologize for the unanswered emails. Most of you guys want to know how to start building and how much to expect to pay. Those are really tough questions which require a lengthy response. So I am sorry for not getting back to you.

Since so many people ask the very same questions, I decided to lay it all out for you. I am going to reveal our spending spreadsheet, our financing methods and some tips to get started. I am no expert by any means, this is just our experience with building from shipping containers.

Alright here we go!

First, having our blueprints approved took about 6 months. My husband drew them up himself, so there was a learning curve. But it also took that long because our county, Tulsa County, had never approved a home built from shipping containers. Now that we have built and various businesses around town have built using containers, this step should be much easier.

When we turned everything in for approval we had to have an engineer sign off on our plans for structural integrity, plus we had to provide additional references for the permit office to review. Hopefully this process is a little bit easier now too.

Second, is financing. This seems to be the issue with most residential buildings. There are few comparables, so value is hard to assess. We had our home appraised last year, and they told us they were unable to give us a number. So this is a big issue for those who want to build a home from shipping containers but need to take out a home loan.

Tyler and I were able to build on Tyler’s parents property, so land was free. (Did I mention we were blessed.) Utilities, however had to be ran to the build site. This was our first expense. Depending on where you plan to build, this cost may or may not be included in your budget. This is a large cost, so it is something to consider when you pick out where you want to build.

Tyler’s parents decided they wanted to help us out, and graciously lent us the money to build our home, which we did not have to start paying back until we moved in. This is the only reason we were able to complete it. They did not pay for the whole cost of the house, so for the left over expenses we had to get creative with our financing. We took out an equity loan against a 1968 Camaro we had at the time. We took out a Lowes credit card, with great financing options, to help purchase countertops, appliances and so on. ¬†And we paid with cash. At the time Tyler and I were both working full time, and had no little ones to drain our bank accounts. Most of our spare time and money went towards our house. Goodbye social life. So if you plan on building almost completely yourselves like us, be prepared for the time consumption.

Okay, here is our expense spreadsheet.

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Now, I am no expert at Excel. So the chart is not pretty, but I just kept track of everything we spent money on.

A few things which may need clarifying.

We paid a family friend to help with construction while Tyler and I were at work, that is what the $37,112.63 to Matt is. Paint is $0 because we were able to get all the paint for free. We were also able to get all our interior doors for free, due to a mistake on Lowes end.

So as you can see by this chart, it is really hard to just give a number when asked how much it costs to build a house out of shipping containers. There are a lot of variables to consider.

I hope this answered a few of your questions, if not you can email me any additional ones, and I will see if I can help!

Happy building!

 

Bonus. Here are some photos of the house as it sits today. We have had our first freeze here in Oklahoma, so our plants are starting to go dormant. (So don’t mind the wilting flower beds)

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If We’re at the House Rockin…

Rock.

That’s right. The rock is finished.. it hasn’t taken that much time, just, oh maybe, a ¬†year or two. But we should admit something.. we paid someone to finish.

But shh..don’t tell anyone.

This post naturally flows right into the next part of our house tour. The living room. Since it has had an unfinished fireplace for sometime, and it now sports a nice rock façade.

Just follow me from the kitchen right on into our cozy little living room space.

View 1: coming from the kitchen

(if you notice a cut out in the fireplace, that is where our t.v. will eventually go, so it can be tucked away when not in use.)

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View 2: from the office

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If you haven’t noticed the rock yet.. check it out.
Here is the living room just about a month ago before the rock was finished…

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and now with the rock..

I think its much improved. Now if only it was Christmas so we could hang some stockings up on that mantle.

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Here are a few other shots of the living room..

This is our coffee table, that I¬†“made”, and I say “made” because I didn’t cut the wood or anything, but I debarked it, sanded it, sealed it, and put legs on it.

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Oh another deer.

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Behind the living room, sort of nestled in under the stairs, is this little nook.. but excuse the under side of the landing, it still needs to be painted, and the small toy mouse I just noticed on the floor.

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Here’s a close up of this score Tyler bought for our 3rd anniversary.

Well done sir.

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Here is one other little “nook” I guess

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And here is one last picture to show the living room in relation to the other rooms you have toured..

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And a little sneak peek at the outside, since it seems like forever since I have posted a picture of the exterior.. it stills needs some power washing however..

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In other news.. Our home was featured in a story by ABC World News, for literally a second, so don’t blink you may miss it. But here’s the clip.

http://abcnews.go.com/WNN/video/steel-house-home-24875347

The Kitchen Tour

And so the tour continues, right on into our kitchen

If you have been following the blog for awhile, you may remember when we brought home our kitchen cabinets in a gigantic U-Haul, (click here), or when we had a kitchen building party, (click here)

Well now come and look at the finished product..

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The high gloss white cabinets you see are from Ikea, and so are most of the appliances. The barstools are from a school supply website, and are actually laboratory stools, they were much more affordable then other barstool options, and fit in perfect with our house.

This picture is a little dark, but I wanted to show where it was in relation to the dining room.
_DSC5278It’s hard to believe that this is the same view from just a little over a year ago. A year and 15 days to be exact.
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We wrapped the island with walnut plywood and then used Howards Restor-A-Finish to give it is color, and then sealed it. I love two-toned kitchens, with the dark wood and white cabinets, but we couldn’t quite afford walnut cabinets, so this was our solution. It only cost us about $300, but it gave the kitchen a high class look.
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Still to do in this room:

-maybe add a raw edge walnut floating shelf beside the sink

-paint trim

but besides that.. its all finished..

So there you have it.. our kitchen.. Next up, the not so finished living room.

House Tour Continued….

Today’s tour is going to move right along into the mudroom, and then out into our dining room.

But before I begin, I still need to show you the other side of the entryway.

Don’t get too excited, its just our front door and a key holder.
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You can also see the light that Tyler’s Grandpa gave to us. Remember when he surprised us with it here?

And one more shot of the entry- The lighting is bad, but here is what it looks like looking in.

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Moving further into our first container.. behind door number 402.. is the Mudroom

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The mudroom has a ways to go before its complete, but here is a glimpse into where I spend the majority of life, as it would seem.

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The wooden cabinet surround around the washer/dryer was handcrafted by Tyler and Kent this past week,

and remember that sink cabinet (click here)? I spent countless hours sandblasting that sucker. It obviously stills needs its drawers and doors, but we will get to that eventually.

This cabinet is from Ikea, and is wonderful, it is very affordable with lots of storage (which is important when your other cabinets are not installed, or are lacking drawers and doors)

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Here is a close up of that surround Tyler and Kent made.. It not only looks good, but it is functional, it keeps all those loose socks and underwear from falling behind/beside the washer and dryer, and gives me a flat surface for folding laundry.

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 Still to do in the mudroom:

-Finish painting the metal cabinets

-install the upper metal cabinetry and clothes rail

-Touch up paint

-Finish painting window/door trim

-Make some curtains, out of this vintage material:

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Moving right along into our dining room, its just a step away from the entry.

This is the view you see when you are in the entryway.

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The table, chairs and china cabinet were a craigslist find, in need of some TLC. The top of the table at one time had been painted with some kind of thick paint, as well as the top of the china cabinet base.  After lots of paint remover, and scraping I gave up and let a professional finish the staining and sealing.

I tackled the chairs myself, with a little orange glow and some Howard Restore-A-Finish, the wood was looking pretty good. I just needed to reupholster the seat cushions. I chose a black vinyl, for looks, but also for easy clean up for when we have future kiddos. The captain chairs already had a good fabric on the them, I’m hoping original, so I left them be.

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The dining room furniture is Broyhill Brasilia, with a date of 1961 on the bottom of the table. I just love the contrast of the dark wood with our light walls. It was a match made in heaven I believe.

Our china cabinet is always filled with vintage goodies, changing with the seasons. Right now it is sporting some nice colorful Pyrex and some fun salt and pepper shakers.

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On the other side of the room, looking back towards the entryway, you will find a nice coffee bar, a retro wall hanging, and a plant that my family says is at least 30 years old, here’s to hoping I can keep it goin’

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I wanted to show the view from the table, but the lighting makes it difficult to get a good picture, but here is my best shot..

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One last thing I want to showcase, is our George Nelson Bubble Lamp. Isn’t she a Beaut?

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Still to do in the Dining Room:

-Touch up ceiling paint

-Paint door/wall trim

Next stop on the Tour: Our Kitchen.

Mini Tour

And so the mini house tour begins.. and I mean mini.

The first room of the house is our entryway.

 Here is the view right when you open our front door.

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The door you see, is to our mudroom, its an old office door my mother-in-law picked up in the past. It still needs a little love,¬†but it looks fine in the meantime.¬†The artwork on the left are¬†Charley Harper calendar prints, I just cut them out and put them in some Ikea frames. (you just can’t beat cheap art)

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I added this planter in the entryway to add some character, but also because I seem to have an obsession with plants, in particular succulents and cacti, they are literally everywhere.

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¬†well I see there’s a deer hiding in¬†there.

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Still to do in this room:

Touch up paint

Paint wall/window trim

Give some love to the old door

And as a bonus, here is a quick shot of our deck

Ill do a proper tour of it soon enough.

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Oh? What was that? You want to see some adorable animal photos? Well here you go..

remember miss Kitty? Here she is looking all grown up and stuff.

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and here’s Norm,¬†he just didn’t want¬†me taking pictures of the house, only him.

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okay, just one more. Here’s ol’ Gertie.¬† The goat with a million problems.

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As soon as I conquer how to take pictures of a house with lots of natural light, Ill get back with you with the rest of the tour. In the meantime, I may just give you a tour of the goat house to tide you over. Thanks as always for checking it out.