Monthly Archives: August 2010

Foundation Plans

The foundation is one of the few things that I needed to get professional help in designing.  I wanted to make sure it was done correctly and safely, especially when the internal walls were going to be completely removed.  After looking high and low for an engineer that could help me with shipping container construction, I found George Runkle at Runkle Consulting, Inc.  He has a lot of experience in this area, and has even developed his own computer programs to analyze the structural integrity of shipping containers when they are modified. Continue reading

Buying the Containers

One of the first decisions to be made when buying shipping containers is whether to get used or new.  I personally chose to go with new containers for a whole host of reasons.  The only advantages I could see to used containers were cost and availability.  New containers are in such better condition throughout that it makes working with them that much easier. Continue reading

My Favorite Tool

Google SketchUp

Google SketchUp

My constant companion throughout this whole process has been my favorite new tool – Google SketchUp.  In fact, I’m not really sure I would have gone through with this project if it had not been for SketchUp.  SketchUp is unquestionably the best 3D design tool I have ever used.  It has allowed me to test new ideas, refine them, and throw them away if necessary – without wasting any building materials.  Continue reading

The Initial Design

Cabin exterior in Google SketchUp

Cabin exterior in Google SketchUp

I started designing the cabin sometime during the Winter of 2008/2009.  There were a lot of different configurations I was considering – one or two story, three or four containers, and whether or not to cut new openings into the containers.  Most of my initial work was with paper and pencil to quickly try out different layouts.  If something showed promise, I would move to SketchUp to see how it worked there.  Continue reading


Looking southeast over the farm field

Looking southeast over the farm field with the old hunting shack

It’s about time I got around to talking about my new cabin – I’ve only been planning and working on it for over a year now.  I’ve had a beautiful 40 acres of farmland and woods in Northern Wisconsin closing in on 20 years now, and have never really done much with it.  I’ve used it mostly for hunting over the years, but I have always wanted to use it for more than that.  What’s kept me from that is not having a decent place to stay, especially for my wife. Continue reading