At some point during construction, a Project becomes a House. Later, when the floor coverings and furniture and other creature comforts are in place, it becomes a Home. Yesterday, some of the glass for the living room/dining room arrived and although we have been camping here since September, we felt a very real emotional shift from Project to House.

Ramiro and I got right to work and installed the four panels that arrived Saturday morning. It was satisfying and rewarding to see reflections in the glass. In the next picture you can see the glass. You can also see that we chose a dark green for the trim color (also on my to do list last week). Eventually we will repaint all the window security bars and the front gate the same color:


While we waited last week for the glass to arrive, Ramiro and I made the hand railing for the stairs to the loft and roof deck. I want to install lights on the underside of the railing, so I decided to use 1.5″ x 1.5″ square tubing for the railing. Here we are cutting and welding:


And here is the completed railing waiting until I can find some hand rail brackets (or make them…):


After we install the window glass (so that rain won’t rust the stairs), I want to clean the steps with muriatic acid and finish them with boiled linseed oil to give a nice homey industrial feel to the metal. You can also see that Ramiro burned up a lot of welding rods — he ran continuous beads at the inside corner of all the steps. The steps sound much more solid now.

Using my DIY homemade sheet metal bending brake, Ramiro and I fabricated the remaining pantry shelving in the kitchen. Plus, we made three, five-foot wide door frames for the pantry. One door is in the picture below, we still need to pop rivet the diamond plate aluminum sheets to the back side of the door frames once the paint is good and dry:


I still need to buy wheels for the three sliding doors. The doors will hang from the two tracks that run under the beams.

Additionally, we installed the ceiling panels in three of the five sections between the beams in the kitchen. We had to quit because my arms just wouldn’t raise over my head any more!

We chose to install a ceiling under the shipping container roof because the roofs in these containers had a lot of welded-on patches and were not very attractive. The suspended ceiling also gave me a good wiring and plumbing chase for the upstairs wires and pipes. Here is a photo between two beams:


The ceiling panels are 16-foot-long zinc roofing panels. We had to cut about 7-inches off the end of the panels. You can see a line of screws that screw up into the shipping container where the two containers meet.

At the outside edges of the shipping containers, we screwed a 1.5″ x 3″ steel C channel (carriola), on edge, to the corner of the container. The zinc panels simply sit on the lip of the carriola. Like this:P1010027-001

For another little task, I wanted to install a digital door lock on the front door. Standard door handle/lock sets are made for 1+3/8″ to 1+3/4″ thick doors. But I used 2″ thick steel tubing to make the door, one-quarter-of-an-inch thicker than the lockset would accommodate. I installed the lockset, but it wouldn’t lock or unlock. I determined that the little tab of metal that goes into the lock/unlock turn-thingy on the inside handle wasn’t long enough. So Ramiro and I welded a 1/4″ extension onto the tab.

Actually, in order to clamp and electrically ground the metal for welding, we welded on a piece much larger, and after welding I ground it to size with the bench grinder. The little extension is on the right side of the photo:


The little piece of extend metal on the right will now fit into the door handle lock thingy.

With the door lock installed and working, we will be all locked up once we install the rest of the glass.

Armando and Francisco worked four days last week, continuing on with the back yard path project. They still have at least another week to go, but here it is to date:



Note the hand of bananas that is developing.


Jabo at a gallop. Note that Ramiro has finished welding the top tubing onto the fence. He ground his welds smooth and applied two coats of paint to the welds.

So that was our week, more glass next week. Installing the glass is easy, just apply sealant to the angle iron and press the glass in place. But then we still have to make another set of angle iron for the inside of the glass and pop rivet it into place, quite time consuming. But that’s how you make a shipping container house. The hard way!

Thanks for stopping by. That’s all for now.

6 thoughts on “GLASS!

  1. Fred,

    Hi! Looks a though things are making good progress…

    I have a question for you… Up to this point in the process, do you feel it was worth the effort and cost to use containers to build your house or would you have been better off starting from scratch?

    By the way, the glass looks great!

    Saludos from Chile

    • Hi John,

      I think that being a creative type person, I had to do the shipping container “thing”. I’m really excited as to how it is turning out. The house is filled with light and seems very comfortable. So I think that yes, I would do it again if it were the first time. I’ve learned a lot and it has been a wonderfuly exciting (and tiring) experience, one of the best in my life. I don’t think that it has been particularly easy and I think that I could have spent more money going a conventional way. What I have learned about shipping container houses, though, is that if you want fast, strictly avoid building additional spaces between containers. These extra spaces, although vital to my design, have extended the project exponentially. Another thing for a faster structure is to avoid building windows and doors from scratch, although again, vital for the design I have made. I can truly say that I built this thing with my own two hands (plus the men that have worked for us under my direction). And that means something to my artistic bent.

      Thanks for the comment as always. Regards to you in the True Deep South. Fred

  2. Jabo seems so pleased with the home you’ve built for him….You can tell he’s very proud of his new place.
    The glass installed just makes it even more awesome.

  3. Oh my goodness, if it were not a house before, it IS now. soon to be a home. It is good to watch the progress. welcome house. LOVE. Lynn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.